Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 68.96
Liaison Cody Powell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Miami University
IN-25: Innovation B

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Susan Meikle
University News writer and editor
University Communications
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Name or title of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Miami University Institute for Food and Historical Farm

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome that outlines how credit criteria are met and any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation:

The Institute for Food is a Provost Interdisciplinary Innovation Initiative to engage the Miami University community around issues of food, health, and sustainable agriculture. Miami's Institute for Food and Farm provide programs that go above and beyond a typical university experiential farm. The Institute offers a national model for interdisciplinary food-centered liberal arts education, emphasizing integrative approaches to sustainable agriculture and resilient food systems. Its mission is to foster healthy food, healthy eating, healthy communities, and a healthy planet.

Research and curriculum focus on "Educating from the ground up": geography, history, food systems, social justice, food insecurity, Myaamia culture are just a few of the topics students and researchers address in relation to the historic Austin-Magie Farm.

At the Institute for Food Farm (located on the historic Austin-Magie Farm and Mill District right outside of Oxford), Miami students work alongside university faculty and Oxford community members to cultivate the land, plant seeds, and harvest crops — selling and donating our fresh local produce to students and community members alike.

Architecture students built the vegetable washing station that marks the end of the farm's driveway entrance.

The Institute for Food Farm seeks to provide a model for others to follow: a model of sustainable food production, community engagement, and experiential learning.

Rural-Urban Divide:
The rural-urban divide reflected strongly in recent political events, has been a long time in the making. The Austin-Magie farm reflects the trajectory of this divide. In little more than a hundred years, the United States went from a country with a majority of its population engaged in direct food production to less than two percent farmers. The rural-urban divide is a global phenomenon that requires urgent attention. It is likely going to be one of a handful of essential sociocultural divides of the 21st century. Our universities are the perfect place to start, as is the Institute for Food Farm.

Myaamia (Miami) Heritage:
The Austin-Magie farm sits on the southeastern edges of Myaamionki—the heritage homelands of the Myaamia ‘Miami’ people. The land now known as the Austin-Magie farm has been sustaining communities for as long as we can remember. The farm, like Myaamia Mihši- nipwaantikaani ‘Miami University,’ was built on land watered by the Ahsenisiipi siipiiwi ‘Great Miami River.’

Against this historical context, the modern Myaamia community’s planting of their seeds is a form of sovereignty; of reclaiming the power of Myaamia food in Myaamionki ‘the Miami homeland.’ Myaamia miincipi recently returned to the Austin-Magie farm itself. In 2016, tribal member and Miami University senior Riley Theobald completed her senior independent field study by growing a Myaamia miincipi crop. In addition to learning more about the growing cycle and cultivation of miincipi in Oxford, the crop allowed the Myaamia community to build its seed bank.

To address a need to reduce food insecurity and provide access to locally produce food for lower income citizens of Oxford, the Institute for Food received funding for an Outreach Program that was started in the summer of 2017. The program is fighting food insecurity through a housing-based garden project at the Parkview Arms housing complex that provides garden and nutrition education, skills, and resources to build the self-sufficiency of low-income children and families. In the Spring of 2017, the garden was built at the housing complex and a CSA program was designed for families in both the Garden Program at PVA and the Summer Harvest Program at the OCCP. The goal of the CSA outreach was to supplement families with produce items that were not grown in the PVA garden or not received through the Summer Harvest Program. The program also provided experiential learning for Miami students in Nutrition and Food Studies due to the fact that the nutrition team harvested the shares to be delivered to the families. Children living in the PVA housing complex participated in a 10 week (13 sessions) PVA Garden Program where they learned to plant, water, weed, compost, and harvest produce.

Which of the following impact areas does the innovation most closely relate to? (select up to three):
Public Engagement

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise or a press release or publication featuring the innovation :

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.