Research Funding

New plantings in the Institute for Food's hoop house

Much of the funding for the Institute for Food stems from several grants. The sources of these grants include the United States Department of Agriculture, Provost Interdisciplinary Innovation Fund, the Gross-Hutton Family Foundation, and the Ohio Humanities Council (among others).

United States Department of Agriculture Grant

The Institute for Food is a recipient of the United States Department of Agriculture's Non-Land Grant Colleges of Agriculture Capacity Building grant. The grant seeks to support the achievement of 3 core institute objectives:

  • education
  • research
  • outreach

With the support of the grant, the institute is establishing courses in agriculture, sustainability, and other food-related topics. Students can also participate in a hands-on internship program. In addition to the classes being offered at Miami University, the grant also funds research that will allow engineering faculty and students to develop a solar-powered drip irrigation system for the farm. Students will have the opportunity to design, construct, and optimize a sustainable irrigation system to further improve the farm's production.

Finally, the USDA grant supports the Institute's outreach programs within Butler County. Beth Miller, a Professor of Nutrition, will implement a community-based research program that will assess the impact of the locally grown produce on low-income families in the Talawanda school district by introducing home-based gardening programs and nutrition education. In addition, the farm is partnering with the Oxford Community Choice Pantry-Summer Harvest School Program, which provides school-age children with food during summer months when free or reduced-price school meals are not available.

Ohio Humanities Grant

A grant from Ohio Humanities supported a symposium entitled "Agricultural Legacies/Rural Opportunities" in the April 2017. The symposium resulted in the development of, a collaborative digital humanities project that maps the historic Austin-Magie Farm, home to the Institute for Food. This layered digital map is a micro environmental history that expands out through multiple levels to examine the intricate connections between rural areas and metropolitan regions, ecosystems and economic systems, the local and the global.

Provost Interdisciplinary Innovation Fund

The Institute for Food is a recipient of Miami University's Provost Interdisciplinary Innovation Fund. The 3-year grant enables the institute to develop interdisciplinary curricula, conduct research, and provide hands-on farming experiences to students. The Provost Interdisciplinary Innovation Fund enabled the initial startup of the institute, giving its faculty the resources necessary to compete for further funding.

Gross-Hutton Family Foundation

A generous gift from the Gross-Hutton Family Foundation, founded by Miami University alumna Sandra Gross and her husband Dr. John Hutton, aids the development of the Institute for Food Farm. Gross and Hutton own Sleepy Bee Cafe, a Cincinnati restaurant group dedicated to using locally sourced ingredients.

Clark and Cathy Foy Gift

Miami alums Clark and Cathy Foy provided a multiyear gift to support the development of the Institute for Food farm. Through their generous gift, the Institute for Food purchased a refrigerated delivery truck, which supports our CSA.

Jeff Eckel Gift

Funding for a solar array  to power our farm water system was provided by a gift from Jeff Eckel, president and chief executive officer of Hannon Armstrong, a capital and services provider that focuses on sustainable infrastructure markets with the goal of reducing climate changing greenhouse gas emissions. This is the first installment of a multiyear gift, which in addition to supporting the solar power project on the Institute for Food Farm will also be used to establish an endowment to support experiential learning opportunities for our students interested in social impact and environmental sustainability.
[See the November 2018 Miami press release New solar array powers change at Institute for Food farm.]