Environmental Humanities Projects
For two decades, Zappia has directed, created, and participated in multiple projects related to foodsystems, urban farming, environmental sustainability, and food justice. Between 2008-10 he served as the Executive Director of the Garden School Foundation (GSF), a 501(c)(3) developing garden-based curricula for low-income students in Los Angeles. His position afforded several opportunities to develop strategic planning in consultation with the board of directors, write grants, build new programs, undertake fundraising initiatives, manage the organizational budget, oversee staff and volunteers, and examine the power of food to shape communities in Los Angeles through neighborhood assessments on garden-based programs. Between 2013-16, he also served on the Board of Directors for GSF, heading up the strategic planning committee.
Zappia's participation in GSF grew, in part, out of his interest in urban food systems and experiences with the University of California’s Master Gardener (MG) Program. As a vehicle of the UC Cooperative Extension, the MG program provides environmental education primarily for low-income and at-risk communities. Since 2007, he has served as a MG on numerous urban farming projects across Los Angeles County, including at elementary and high schools, homeless shelters, community centers like the Boys & Girls Club, and local colleges. He has championed these projects as a member of the urban farming and academic partnerships working groups on the Los Angeles Food Policy Council (LAFPC). LAFPC is a collaborative network working to make the city’s food system more healthy, affordable, and sustainable through innovative policies.
As the new Director for the IS at CSUN, Zappia is involved in numerous campus-wide, regional, and national sustainability projects, including overseeing climate change and CO2 reduction initiatives. At Whittier College, Zappia co-directed (2011-2019) the Sustainable Urban Farm Lab (SUrF), where he taught and coordinated programming related to permaculture, environmental history and studies, and the humanities. SUrF is a 1/8-acre micro farm with a small orchard managed by faculty and students.
Zappia also created and oversaw (2016-2019) the "Seed-to-Seed" program at Santa Monica's First United Methodist Preschool. The program teaches garden-based curricula to 150 preschool children.
Zappia coordinating Seed-to-Seed Program at Santa Monica First United Methodist Preschool.