bacpack with caterpillar on the farm

Institute Involves Students from Across the University

Raise your hand if you have an “atypical” combination of majors and minors!  Miami encourages students to explore a variety of topics and create their own unique combinations of interests, and the Institute for Food is no different. The students and volunteers who work with the Institute for Food and on the Miami University farm are not just Biology majors with an odd love for botany like Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter.

Take a look at the breakdown:

  • Nutrition majors and sustainability co-majors are working to promote the Institute for Food’s mission of environmentally friendly agriculture and non-industrialized food production.
  • Students of Geology, Microbiology, and Environmental Earth Science are gaining vital, practical experience by growing and harvesting fresh produce from the rich topsoil of the Miami University Farm, just minutes north of the Oxford campus.
  • Engineering and Architecture students built a produce wash station and storage container to increase efficiency during harvest. They are currently working towards building a greenhouse for winter crops and a more advanced irrigation system for the farm.
  • Students in the Farmer School of Business are helping to facilitate community partnerships, allocate resources, and expand the distribution of produce to local buyers.
  • English students are constructing the Institute for Food’s website and blog to help recruit new and diverse students for this worthy cause.

Those are just a few reasons why every student should be involved in the Institute for Food. Not convinced yet? In an interview on the farm, Emily Gillispie, an Environmental Earth Sciences major, told us, “It’s hard to convince people how important it is until they get out here and they get their hands dirty–until they really learn what all this is about. So, I would encourage someone just to try it.”

Emily is not the only student we talked to on the farm that day. Here’s what a few other students have to say about their experiences and being a part of the Institute for Food:

  • “Sustainability in business has so much potential. The industry can make such a difference. Just the conversation that there is a different way…There’s so much to learn outside the traditional environment.”

~Kayla Lawson, Supply Chain & Operations Management major, Latin American Studies minor

  • “I’ve been a part of something that was new to the school, and started building something from the ground up. It really will show the experience here–the issues we’re confronting, the changes we’re making in the community; it all will show.”

~Selena Morris, Geology major, Sustainability Co-major

  • “When I have spoken about the Institute for Food, it has resonated with a lot of people. And I think that since it’s a topic that is pressing and that is interesting…it allows me to be a unique individual within a business context, and bring a different perspective.”

~Maggie Winstel, Psychology major, Sustainability Co-major, Marketing minor

No matter what your major is or where you come from, students agree that the experiential learning of working on a farm and facilitating community projects brings something unique to your college experience that you never would have expected: 

“We see everything being done by machines and how easy monoculture is, and so to be out here and directly see something and put garlic in the ground, you know, it’s really different. It reminds us kind of where food comes from.”  

~Claire Burch, Zoology and Environmental Science 

Think about the last meal you ate. Where was the food from? What do you know about it? We’d be willing to venture that we could all expand our food horizons.

Emily Ritchie and Cassidy Guthrie