Young Alum of the Month – June 2015

Justin Roy Edwards

Title and Company:
Urban Agriculture Specialist, Black Hawk County Extension and Outreach

Boone, Iowa

Major and Graduation Date:
’12 forestry

Major Job/Position Responsibilities:
As the Urban Agriculture Specialist for Black Hawk County I have a unique opportunity that allows me to work with the public to provide research based programs and education to community members of all ages. Through many of my responsibilities I am able to enhance healthy living, minds, and attitudes through the use of agriculture in urban areas.

I have three main responsibilities as the Urban Agriculture Specialist. I manage the Dick Young Greenhouse at George Washington Carver Academy in Waterloo, Iowa, and work to provide teachers and students materials so they can learn using hands-on lessons in the greenhouse while incorporating the STEM curriculum. The second responsibility that I have is coordinating the Master Gardener Program where over 100 Master Gardeners receive continued education and take part in community volunteer service projects. My last responsibility is to coordinate Cedar Valley Grows which is an initiative to help establish sustainable school and community gardens. We currently have four successful gardens and working on a fifth which I have been collaborating with local connections to create a five-acre community garden in Waterloo called Maples Legacy Garden.

What you like most about your job/position:
I truly enjoy the creative aspect of my position, delivering programs, finding solutions and working with a variety of people in the community.

Advice you would give to current students:
Get involved! I believe students should be involved in three to five activities on top of their full class load. There are over 800 clubs at Iowa State University to get involved with so it is easy for students to find things they are passionate about.

Favorite ISU Class:
My favorite class during my time at Iowa State was the Forestry 454 Capstone Project. I was able to work alongside three friends and a professor on his piece of land with the end result of making land management recommendations after surveying his property. I also really enjoyed Interpretation of Natural Resources with former Wildlife Extension Specialist, Rebecca Christoffel. She made class enjoyable but was always flexible when working around students’ schedules who actively participated in student organizations on campus.