Linkage and Leverage Grants

Our vision is for The Ohio State University to be the worldwide leader in developing conceptual models and practical examples of climate-resilient, secure and equitable agricultural and food systems. Improved health and functioning of agroecosystems, socio-cultural institutions and human health are our barometers; sustainability, resilience, adaptation and equity at all scales are our watchwords. Food security for all despite local constraints and global volatility is the overriding aim. Both strategic new faculty hiring and investments in our current strengths, including this grant program, will address the challenge of transformational change in food security.

The Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation Linkage and Leverage Grants program seeks to Link (forge transdisciplinary connections among OSU faculty, staff, students and external partners) and Leverage (bring new talents, expertise, and resources to our initiatives as a result of our collaborative work) to address compelling food security challenges by building on our strengths in climate, environment, technology and agroecosystems; local to global engagements; new food economies; and campus food cultures and education.

2020-21 grant deadlines are as follows:

  • Fall Deadline: October 30, 2020
  • Winter Deadline: January 15, 2021
  • Spring Deadline: April 9, 2021

2020-2021 Linkage and Leverage Grant Awards

To effectively respond to food system disruptions, state agencies need to weave food into emergency management. OSU in partnership with Ohio Emergency Management, will inventory and map state policies and programs related to the food system to increase food security in disasters and disruptions.

Shoshanah Inwood, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Principle Investigator)
Zoë Plakias, OSU, AEDE, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Co-Principle Investigator)
Jill Clark, OSU, Glenn College (Co-Principle Investigator)
Nicole Wright, OSU, Sea Grant/SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Josh Vittie, Ohio Emergency Management Agency
Brad Schwartz, Ohio Emergency Management Agency

Non-profit business incubators play a key role in helping small-scale food producers access new markets and bolster value-creation thereby supporting profitability and access to supply chains across our food systems.

Wuyang Hu, OSU, AEDE, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Co-Principle Investigator)
Elizabeth Schuster, Sustainable Economies Consulting, LLC (Co-Principle Investigator)
Lyda Garcia, OSU, Animal Sciences, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Steve Lyon, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Amyaz Moledina, College of Wooster
Richard Moore, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Elena Plaksenkova, OSU, Fisher College of Business

2019-2020 Linkage and Leverage Grant Awards

Organizations often stagnate due to tunnel-vision about their own project scope and the goals they
want to achieve. As we diversify landscapes to transform food availability, we can create new and
non-traditional overlaps in projects by expanding perspectives to help organizations break free
from such stagnation. We will convene a workshop to formalize this concept with the
organizational question: How can we leverage non-traditional partnerships to achieve goals
around improving quality of life for our communities?

Steve Lyon, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Co-Principle Investigator)
Elizabeth Schuster, Sustainable Economies Consulting (Co-Principle Investigator)
Brian Gwin, OSU OARDC
Melinda Hill, OSU, OSU Extension, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Trevor Hunt, Wayne County Planning Department
Shoshanah Inwood, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Lindsay Shoup, Ohio Farm Bureau

Interdisciplinary research workgroup to develop a suite of ambitious research project proposals exploring the underlying mechanisms and ecosystem service outcomes associated with diversified agricultural landscapes. A facilitated workshop retreat will be held in early 2020 with a core group of invited scientists and advisors from OSU and other universities. At this retreat, and in the ensuing months, we will collaboratively develop focused research questions and associated research designs for a series of medium‐ and long‐term agroecological studies and experiments.

Doug Jackson-Smith, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ( Co Principle Investigator)
Steve Culman, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ( Co Principle Investigator)
Alison Bennett, OSU, EEOB, College of Arts and Sciences
Forbes Lipschitz, OSU, Knowlton School, College of Engineering
Andy Michel, OSU, Enotomology, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Marilia Chiavegato, OSU, HCS/Animal Sciences, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Steve Lyon, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Christine Sprunger, SENR, OSU, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Alex Lindsey, OSU, HCS, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Sami Khanal, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

This research group will study historical agrarian spaces to describe how agricultural practices and the forms they engendered have shaped our current landscapes. The intention is to link genealogies of landscape form across time and space, investigating how agrarian landinterdisciplinary research workgroup to develop a suite of ambitious research project proposals exploring the underlying mechanisms and ecosystem service outcomes associated with diversified agricultural landscapes. A facilitated workshop retreat will be held in early 2020 with a core group of invited scientists and advisors from OSU and other universities. At this retreat, and in the ensuing months, we will collaboratively develop focused research questions and associated research designs for a series of medium‐ and long‐term agroecological studies and experiments.scapes came into existence, what social configurations enabled those forms, and how certain landscape types persisted and transformed over time. Through a study of diverse historical agricultural practices and their linked landscapes, we will assemble historical knowledge that shapes our understanding of contemporary, everyday patterns of land use.

John Davis, OSU, Landscape Architecture, College of Engineering (Principle Investigator)
Justin Parscher, OSU, Landscape Architecture, College of Engineering
Kerry Ard, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Shoshanah Inwood, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Nick Kawa, OSU, Anthropology, College of Arts & Sciences
Forbes Lipschitz, OSU, Landscape Architecture, College of Engineering
Kelsey Ryan-Simkins, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
Joel Wainwright, OSU, Geography, College of Arts & Sciences

By combining soil science with social scientific inquiry, this project will identify which biological soil health indicators farmers deem to be most useful in their decisionmaking regarding conservation management practices and climate adaptation.

Christine Sprunger, OSU, SENR, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Principle Investigator)
Nick Kawa, OSU, Anthropology, College of Engineering
Julie Doll, MSU, Kellogg Biological Station and Dept. of Plant Soil and Microbial Sciences
Prabhjot Singh, OSU Environmental Science Graduate Program

2018-2019 Linkage and Leverage Grant Awards

Conventional agriculture represents the largest type of anthropogenic land use in the world.
It contributes to and is uniquely impacted by climate change. While landscape architects
have been at the forefront in developing adaptation strategies in urban environments,
designers have been largely absent from this process in the agricultural landscape. As
climate change promises to reshape agricultural landscapes in the coming century, this
project draws together an interdisciplinary team to identify meaningful opportunities for
landscape architectural engagement in rural landscapes. Building upon existing
climate-smart strategies, the team will develop new field standards that move beyond
mitigation by prioritizing ecology alongside economy. The team will develop these
strategies through farmer engagement and a multi-regional analysis of existing
climate-resilience practices. This will culminate in a 3-day participatory design workshop
in Ohio.

Forbes Lipschitz, OSU, Knowlton School (Principle Investigator)
Billy Fleming, University of Pennsylvania
Shoshanah Inwood, OSU, School of Environment and Natural Resources
Sarah Thomas Karle, University of Lincoln-Nebraska
Brett Milligan, University of California, Davis
Zoe Plakias, OSU, Dept. of Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
Christine Sprunger, School of Environment and Natural Resources
Peter Summerlin, Mississippi State University

Funded through the Connect and Collaborate grant program

Our initiative will continue to increase access to fresh food and wellness resources in order to improve the health of the OSU community. Starting in 2016, Best Food Forward (BFF) began distributing low cost produce to OSU and the surrounding community. In the summer of 2018, BFF partnered with the OSU Health Plan, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4501, Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT), and the Office of Human Resources (OHR) to pilot a robust subsidized food distribution and Health Coaching program among OSU union members entitled “Bushel and a Peck.” Results from the 12 week pilot demonstrate a positive impact on indicators of well-being and a significant interest from union members in participating in, and most importantly, continuing the program. This resulted in a 6 week extension of the 12 week pilot. Our project will expand healthy food distribution and wellness programming throughout campus and the local community to impact 500 community members over one year. The grant will support expansion in several ways. First, it will allow expansion to a third and fourth location as well as increase the number of participants at current locations. Second, it will subsidize food for underserved participants while we build new locations that will support a need based, tiered pricing system to make the program sustainable. Third, funding will be used to train health coaches among student volunteers to provide sustainable wellness coaching at BFF's main weekly food distribution site at Scott House. OSU Health Plan Team - Rob Cooper, Stefanie Morrow, Tricia Smith, Caitlyn McKay, Tasneem Motiwala and Denise Taylor Best Food Forward - Alex Bielecki and Molly Ridge Office of Human Resources - Melissa Walters InFACT Discovery Theme - Dana Hilfinger Communications Workers of America Local 4501 - Kevin Kee, Christal Harris, Mericle Long, Jason Lacey DNO Inc. - Dennis Yoder

Funded through the Connect and Collaborate grant program

“Growing a Farm to School Community in Wayne County” is a unique collaboration between the nonprofit A Whole Community, Inc., Northwestern Local Schools, Wooster City Schools, the College of Wooster, The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, Ohio Agriculture Research and Development Center, and Wayne County Extension. Using a multi-faceted approach that will increase local produce on school menus and create a flourishing Farm to School culture in the school and community, this project will: (1) Expand the supply chain partnerships to offer a diverse array of local produce for schools to purchase; (2) Implement an Individualized Farm to School Plan for each school to identify barriers and create solutions, including providing food service staff with training, menus, recipes, and kitchen supplies; (3) Amplify and build off OSU Wayne County SNAP-Ed existing and ongoing programming; (4) Implement Farm to School Ambassador Clubs, led by school staff and college interns, that are student driven and parent supported, as they host experiential nutrition education activities, and; (5) Promote rural human capital and workforce development.

Shoshanah Inwood, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Karen Potter, A Whole Community, Inc.
Joy Rumble, OSU-ATI
Ryan Haden, OSU-ATI
Matt Mariola, College of Wooster
Darcy Becker - SNAP-Ed, OSU Extension
Melinda Hill - OSU Extension
Jeffrey Layton, Northwestern Local Schools
Michael Tefs, Wooster City Schools

Funded through the Connect and Collaborate grant program

Large portions of residents in the Linden community remain mired in spaces of reduced opportunities and
inequity despite the fact that some have managed to thrive. Through this project, we propose an OSU-community
partnership to address this fundamental issue by creating a local economic system that will build wealth in the
Linden community through a worker-owned cooperative focused on food processing. This project, which we hope
to be the first of a number of worker-owned businesses, aims to leverage the local and sustainable food
purchasing initiative of Ohio State University in order to create living-wage jobs and generate wealth for people
with criminal backgrounds and other disadvantaged residents. Furthermore, this project, which is a collaboration
between OSU's Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) and Building Responsibility, Equality
and Dignity (B.R.E.A.D.) a nonprofit coalition of 40 diverse religious congregations in Franklin County, addresses
both a practical and a research problem. The practical problem is to determine how to improve community health
and wealth in the Linden neighborhood of Columbus. Scientifically, this project pursues a conceptual (or research)
problem – that is, we want to better understand the role of higher education anchor institutions, such as The Ohio
State University, in local food systems planning and community development. Thus, this project represents steps
towards the building of a just city.

Kareem Usher, OSU College of Engineering/Knowlton School/City and Regional Planning
Glennon Sweeney, OSU Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
Angela Latham, OSU InFACT Discovery Theme
Thelma Velez, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Kelsey Ryan-Simkins, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Jane Karetny, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources & Knowlton School/City and Regional Planning
Cathy Levine, Robert Sievert-Wagner and Norman Wernet - B.R.E.A.D.
Rev. Charles W. Tatum - The Concerned Linden Clergy Group
Peg Williams - South Linden Area Commission
Sundi Corner - Linden Direct
Lois Ferguson - Sisters of Empowerment
Marilyn Mehaffie - St. Stephen's Community House
Brian Estabrook - Franklin County Economic Development
Charles Nabrit - Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden
Nick Bankston - Department of Neighborhoods

Despite decades of research, programming, and policy aimed at ensuring that U.S. citizens have sufficient access to food, food insecurity remains a pervasive issue. Ohio carries a disproportionate amount of this burden and is one of eleven states in which food insecurity rates exceed the U.S. average. Addressing food insecurity can be done in conjunction with efforts to improve local market opportunities for small produce farmers. Country Fresh Stops and The Donation Station are two such models. Country Fresh Stops are pop-up markets and retail outlets that work with one of our community partners, Rural Action, to source fresh produce from local farmers and offer it for sale on a consistent basis throughout the growing season. The Donation Station is a program of another partner, Community Food Initiatives, to provide emergency access to seasonal, regionally-grown produce to local families in need. Neither program has been evaluated to determine the merit of hypothesized outcomes and impacts. As organizations and municipalities across the U.S. seek to bolster their local food system and divert local resources to this end, it is essential that such decisions be based on strong evidence, including analyses that directly compare multiple potential approaches. A comparative exploration of the two described programs will allow for initial exploration into the relative sustainability and benefit of a market-based (e.g. Country Fresh Stops) versus food assistance-based (e.g. The Donation Station) approach to a healthy and equitable food supply.

Jennifer Garner, OSU, College of Medicine & John Glenn College of Public Affairs (Principle Investigator)
Vince Castillo, OSU, Fisher College of Business
Andrew Hanks, OSU, College of Education and Human Ecology
Zoe Plakias, OSU, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences
Carrie Carson, ACEnet
Susie Huser, Community Food Initiatives
Joe Barbaree, Rural Action
Leslie Schaller, ACEnet
MaryAnn Martinez, Community Food Initiatives
Tom Redfern, Rural Action

2017-2018 Linkage and Leverage Grant Awards

Since the early origins of agriculture, farmers throughout the world have used human excrement as a fertilizer, often known euphemistically as “night soil." With the adoption of the hydraulic sanitation system in industrial Europe, however, a “culture of flushing” developed in which human excreta became channeled into subterranean networks and fed into waterways rather than reincorporated into terrestrial agro-ecosystems as had been customary for millennia.

This project draws together an interdisciplinary team of Ohio State faculty and public sector professionals to shed light on the processes by which human “waste” is transformed into an agricultural resource while also seeking to identify obstacles to the expansion of its use. Specifically, it asks: how do sanitation infrastructures, legal regulations, and socio-cultural taboos shape biosolid production and use; and, how can visualization tools and demonstration gardens make legible the complex and largely hidden process of waste transformation?

This research is especially important given the demand for agricultural innovation in a time of diminishing planetary resources (including those for agricultural fertilization), growing concerns over the environmental impacts of agriculture (such as nutrient run-off), and increasing pressures on agricultural lands from urbanization. This project also offers a vital opportunity to explore how our most intimate forms of waste can contribute to a more resilient agro-ecological system in central Ohio.

Nick Kawa, Ohio State Anthropology (Co-Principal Investigator)
Forbes Lipschitz, Ohio State Knowlton School of Architecture (Co-Principle Investigator)
Nick Basta, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
Jill Clark, Ohio State John Glenn College of Public Affairs
Heather Curtis, City of Columbus
Jonathan Ferbrache, Fairfield County Soil and Water Conservation
Shoshanah Inwood, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
Halina Steiner, Ohio State Knowlton School of Architecture

Zinc deficiency is a constraint to health worldwide, and particularly in South Asia – over half of pregnant women and children in India and Nepal are thought to be zinc deficient. South Asian crops suffer from similar zinc deficiency rates. Yet, while we know that poor soil zinc availability (common in India and Nepal) reduces the zinc content of local crops and places human populations at risk, no study has ever evaluated the systematic relationship between zinc deficiency in soils, crops and humans in this region. We propose to do so, beginning with the aggregation and analysis of secondary data enabled by this seed grant, and leveraging results to pursue further data collection and more definitive research in the years ahead.

This grant will fund work with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, (CIMMYT) in Katmandu, Nepal during the summer of 2018, leveraging access to new, high-resolution soil nutrient maps based on 11,670 soil samples taken in Nepal, and millions in India. By aggregating other datasets from CIMMYT and elsewhere, and spatially joining these data to the soil maps, we will examine the spatial relationships between soil zinc availability (via maps), crop yields (measured via multiple surveys), crop zinc deficiency hotspots (pinpointed by a mobile-based farmer extension app), and child birth weight, stunting, and anemia levels (measured in survey data). These results, which are valuable, publishable, and policy-relevant in and of themselves, will additionally be leveraged to raise funds for further, joint research with CIMMYT and other partners.

Leah Bevis, Ohio State Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics (Principal Investigator)
Steve Culman, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
David Guerena, International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center
Kichan Kim, Ohio State Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics

More than 70% of Tanzania's population relies on subsistence agriculture: smallholder farms of 0.5-3 ha. Low production of food and cash crops leads to severe malnutrition, low education attendance, and other livelihood challenges. Access to the expert knowledge and inputs necessary to improve practices and productivity is limited by a poorly funded agricultural extension service, poor transportation infrastructure, and a lack of financing options for smallholder farmers. Information and Communications Technology (ICT) applications can bridge many of these gaps, however the current state of ICT access and usage in rural Tanzania is immature.

Ohio State's Global Water Institute is implementing a Sustainable Village Water Systems Program to address many issues facing rural Tanzanians, beginning with two pilot villages in the Singida region in November 2017. We will assess the mechanisms by which ICT can be used effectively by these Singida communities, including: 1) ICT capabilities, potential, and current access and use; 2) development of a tool for smallholder farmers; 3) potential adoption of ICT for other activities to improve future program design; and 4) field testing the prototype tool for refinement.

This project will help smallholder farmers improve agricultural productivity and livelihoods, increasing the understanding by which ICT can potentially aid in disrupting cycles of extreme rural poverty. In addition to community benefit, this technology has the potential to directly support the work of rural extension officers in reaching their constituents.

Mary Rodriguez, Ohio State Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (Principal Investigator)
Aloys Mvuma, University of Dodoma, Tanzania
Bahati Hakimu, BM Farm Africa Limited
Rebecca Gianotti, Global Water Institute
Ramarao Venkatesh, Ohio State Horticulture and Crop Science

Photo credit: Calista Lyon

This project addresses food insecurity—a critical problem in Columbus, throughout Ohio, and across the country. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.” The USDA ranks Ohio third in the nation for food-insecure families; one in six Ohioans and one in four Ohio children face food insecurity every day. In Franklin County, an estimated 17.4% of the population is food-insecure. And at Ohio State, at least 15% of students are identified as being food-insecure.

Created by award-winning Los Angeles-based artist and choreographer Ann Carlson, The Symphonic Body is a public work of art, a performance made entirely of human gestures. It is a movement-based orchestral work; instead of instruments, participants perform gestural “portraits” based on their own everyday motions. Custom made by the artist in collaboration with each participant, these portraits come together in a public performance—a visually stunning tapestry of motion and reflection illustrating the potential within and the interdependence of a community. Carlson has created versions of The Symphonic Body at UCLA and Stanford, featuring participants from across each of those university campuses.

Carlson will develop this iteration of The Symphonic Body during a 12-week, onsite artist residency at the Wexner Center for the Arts—this time, engaging participants from across the Ohio State campus and the Columbus community. The Symphonic Body/Food aims to raise public awareness of food insecurity through community engagement, asking: how can an art project have an impact on an issue as vast and complex as food insecurity? How can such a project educate the central Ohio public about this societal problem? How can it inspire positive change, in both participants and audiences?

A mini-documentary about the making of The Symphonic Body/Food will be shot and edited over the course of this project. It will help to answer the aforementioned two questions and enable us to disseminate this very replicable project to a large potential viewership on the Ohio State campus, in the Columbus community, and beyond, via the networks of the Wexner Center, The Ohio State University, and partner organizations. The documentary will extend the life of the project by continuing to educate the public about food insecurity and inspiring them to take action.

Lane Czaplinski, Wexner Center for the Arts (Principal Investigator)
Ann Carlson, Artist and Choreographer
Noreen Warnock, Community Outreach, Local Matters
Corey Keyser, Best Food Forward
Jen Mankin, Weinland Park Community Civic Association

Since its inception in 1972, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which serves pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and children ages 1-4, functions to improve maternal health and reduce infant mortality. Scholarly research documents that participation in the WIC program reduces food insecurity and provides nutritional benefits to low-income enrollees.

Despite the benefits of the program, many eligible people and participants do not take full advantage of the available benefits. Specifically, in a study of three states, Kentucky, Michigan, and Nevada, 82.1% of WIC recipients partially redeem their benefits. Of the remaining percentage, 12.6% redeem all of their benefits and 5.3% do not redeem any benefits at all. We emphasize that no study explores the particular benefits “left on the table” and documents which specific foods and corresponding WIC categories WIC recipients redeem the most.

Our goal for this research proposal is to utilize administrative data from the State of Ohio WIC Agency and identify factors associated with unredeemed benefits in the WIC program and which foods and related categories are redeemed most frequently. If low-income people who are at nutritional risk forfeit opportunities to receive assistance, we believe it is important to understand why, and identify potential ways public health officials can improve benefit use. This research program has the potential to make a step in the direction of identifying potential factors and potential solutions for helping women, infants, and children effectively utilize the benefits available to them.

Andrew Hanks, Ohio State Human Sciences (Principal Investigator)
Carolyn Gunther, Ohio State Human Sciences
Neal Hooker, Ohio State John Glenn School of Public Affairs
Gail Kaye, Ohio State College of Public Health

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a growing public health crisis due to its impacts on human health and the challenges in developing new antimicrobials that outpace the spread of resistance. The emergence of AMR in agricultural landscapes is influenced by management practices on livestock operations as well as interactions between livestock and wildlife. The organizational structure of livestock farms and landscape-scale patterns of farming and natural areas create distinctive social-ecological contexts which shape microbial services that can theoretically shape the emergence and distribution of AMR.

Ohio has a diverse portfolio of livestock production systems (ranging from large-scale specialized concentrated production facilities with sophisticated management systems to moderate- and small-sized diversified crop-livestock farms) presenting an opportunity to address the following research questions: i) What combinations of farm scales and rural land-use patterns are associated with the spread of resistant bacteria important to human and animal health?; ii) Can protecting the viability of small/mid-sized diversified livestock-crop farms play a role in reducing the risks of AMR?; and iii) How does farm antibiotic management interact with landscape-scale patterns to shape the emergence of resistant microbial communities?

This grant will provide baseline data and develop agent-based models that could generate initial answers to these questions, and serve as the basis for proposals to several federal research agencies. With a variety of animal operations using antimicrobials in different ways, this research addresses how the mix of farm types in different regions of Ohio will match levels of antibiotic resistance seen in agent-based computer model simulations in association with refugia, and how the spread of AMR may vary in landscapes with a combination of small extensive farms and large intensive farms, and may serve as a model for other regions of the USA. Because farm structure and land use patterns can influence a wide range of community social, economic, and environmental indicators of well-being, results from this pilot study will also inform efforts to structure public policies to reduce the risks of AMR while increasing rural community resilience.

Rebecca Garabed, Ohio State Vet Preventive Medicine (Principal Investigator)
Caroline Brock, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
Mark Flint, Ohio State Vet Preventive Medicine
Kelly George, Ohio State Animal Sciences
Douglas Jackson-Smith, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
Stephen Matthews, Ohio State School of Environment and Natural Resources
Sarah Mielke, Ohio State Vet Preventive Medicine
Jan Ramer, The Wilds
Tom Wittum, Ohio State Vet Preventive Medicine

Funded through the Connect and Collaborate grant program

Fresh produce is the leading cause of foodborne illnesses in the country and Ohio growers must meet federal food safety standards to ensure that their produce is safe. Understanding regulatory requirements, awareness of safe agricultural practices, and developing and following written food safety plans (FSP) are critical steps toward minimizing the risk of on farm produce contamination. OSU lags behind other land grant universities in providing fresh produce safety education and training programs. In addition, stakeholder awareness of fresh produce safety programming available at OSU is low compared to their awareness of programming in other states.

We have formed a team of Food Safety State Specialists, Extension educators, OSU students, community organizations, and industry partners to provide a diverse group of Ohio growers with the tools and resources needed to supply consumers with a safe product. To address these needs, we will provide: i) pre-harvest food safety knowledge and awareness training to new and underserved produce growers in the community; ii) farm food safety plan writing workshops and on-farm audit readiness programs; and iii) a roadmap for an OSU food safety training program for FSMA equivalence. In order to achieve our goal in improving fresh produce safety and sustaining the fresh produce industry, we will form a fresh produce safety education and training cooperative with participating food safety experts from Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Melanie Ivey, OSU Plant Pathology (Co-Principal Investigator)
Sanja Ilic, OSU Human Sciences, Human Nutrition (Co-Principal Investigator)
Ivory Harlow, OSU CFAES Center for Cooperatives
OSU Extension Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team: Beth Scheckelhoff, Jacqueline Kowalski, Eric Barrett, Suzanne Mills-Wasniak, Sabrina Schirtzinger, Brad Bergefurd, Mary Griffith, Jerry Iles, Abby Snyder
Renee Hunt, Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association

Program Partners:

The Ohio State University's Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT)
The Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC)-Outlying Branches
North Central Region Center for FSMA Training, Extension, and Technical Service (NCRFSE)
Wallace Center
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)

Funded through the Connect and Collaborate grant program

This initiative seeks to facilitate a collaborative feasibility analysis of food system interventions on vacant and abandoned land in Lima, OH. This marks the implementation phase of the first Ohio Land Exchange (OH/LEX) land use project, focused on taking advantage of available land in Lima to improve its food system.

The OH/LEX pilot process in Lima, funded in part by an Engagement Impact Grant awarded in 2015, has contributed to the development of a local group of stakeholders focused on enhancing the food system in Lima. In order to move from the opportunities currently identified by this emerging coalition to the implementation of land-based interventions in Lima, we propose that OSU Extension and Knowlton School faculty focus on two simultaneous tracks, intended to be mutually reinforcing.

Track 1 seeks to develop and build an architecturally designed model garden and outdoor community space for food and health-related entrepreneurial activities (food-related education in collaboration with the school district, vendor development in collaboration with the farmer's market, OSU Extension demonstrations around nutrition and wellness, etc.). Most of this space will be used temporarily, during the Summer of 2018, as a living laboratory. This means that users, visitors and supporting institutions will be surveyed in that period on a regular basis and data will be gathered to assess feasibility of permanent Food and Entrepreneurship Hub. Track 2 would focus on conducting a market analysis to assess the economic impact and retail market potential of a Permanent Food Hub in the City of Lima.

Mattijs van Maasakkers, OSU Knowlton School
Nancy Bowen Ellzey, OSU Extension
Jacob Boswell, OSU Knowlton School
Harvey Miller, OSU Center for Urban and Regional Analysis
Fabio Leite, OSU Lima
David Berger, Mayor, City of Lima
Susan Crotty, Director of Community Development, City of Lima
Phil Downing, City of Lima Land Bank
Kayla Monfort, Activate Allen County
Beth Keehn, Mercy Health
Rob Cotrell, LACNIP/Lima Sprouts
Shelly Miller, Allen County Public Health
Beth Seibert, Allen County SWCD
Carol Braden-Clarke, United Way of Allen County
Linda Hamilton, West Ohio Food Bank
Mary Williamson, Legacy Links

2016-2017 Linkage and Leverage Grants

Agricultural biodiversity is the lynchpin for a resilient food system. Diversity in agriculture can be improved by both increasing the diversity of crops as well as the genetic diversity within these crops. These goals are countered by consolidation in the seed industry and trends in patenting of varieties, an approach to intellectual property that restricts both farmer-saved seed and breeding. Community Food Initiatives has partnered with three Universities, seed banks, and agricultural groups to reverse the consolidation of seeds. This project engages and empowers seed savers and plant breeders to help address food security and sustainability through a series of regional workshops.

David Francis, OSU Hort. & Crop Science (Principal Investigator)
Mary Nally, Community Food Initiatives
Jess Chadwell, Community Food Initiatives
Sally Miller, OSU Plant Pathology
Kristin Mercer, OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Alfredo Huerta, Miami University
Peggy Shaffer, Miami University
Paul Patton, Ohio University
Art Trese, Ohio University
Amy Cohen, OSU College of Law
Doug Jackson-Smith, OSU Environment & Nat. Resources

This research investigates the relationships between food insecurity and housing costs, and whether home equity borrowing through reverse mortgages relieves food insecurity in older age. We connect seven OSU colleges to develop the foundation for a NIH proposal.

Cäzilia Loibl, OSU Human Resources, College of Ed. & Human Ecology (Principal Investigator)
Donald Haurin, OSU Economics, College of Arts & Sciences
Stephanie Moulton, OSU Public Affairs
Julia Brown, OSU Government Resource Center
Michelle Kaiser, OSU Social Work
Wendy Xu, OSU Public Health

We propose a feasibility study for a local food infrastructure intended to increase institutions' ability to purchase local foods and provide additional, stable revenue streams to small- and medium-sized farms in Licking County and Central Ohio.

William MacDonald, Ohio State Newark
Virginia Cope, Ohio State Newark (Principal Investigator)
Jazz Glastra, CMDEH
David Brillhart, COTC and Ohio State Newark
Matt Russo, COTC
Brian Raison, OSUE, Comm. Dev.
Nathaniel Swigger, Ohio State Newark

Food environments in low-income communities, with fewer supermarkets and more convenience stores, provide less access to healthy foods. Our work will assess the interplay of sociodemographics, food environment and the diets of low income Americans.

Christopher A. Taylor (Principal Investigator), OSU Health & Rehab. Sciences
Neal H. Hooker, OSU Public Affairs
Jill E. Clark, OSU Public Affairs
Colleen K. Spees, OSU Health & Rehab. Sciences
Ingrid Adams, OSU Medical Dietetics & CFAES
Kerry Ard, OSU Environment & Nat. Resources
Pat Bebo, OSU Human Ecology Ext. Admin.
Forbes Lipschitz, OSU Architecture
Keeley Pratt, OSU Human Sciences Admin.
Annie Specht, OSU Agr. Communication, Education & Leadership
Glennon Sweeney, OSU Study of Race & Ethnicity
Kareem Usher, OSU Knowlton School of Architecture
Andrew Wapner, OSU Center for Public Health Practice
Alana Moshfegh, USDA Food Surveys Research Group

This proposal addresses the critical need to revive The Ohio State University's student farm at Waterman. Underpinned by a belief in resilient, ecological, and community-minded food systems, this proposal outlines a four-pronged approach to initiate the farm and envision its future. We emphasize the need to organize a unified community around student food and farming activities; break ground at Waterman; crystalize a mission and vision for the farm in a group studies course; and create structures for interdisciplinary curricular and community involvement ensuring the farm's long-term sustainability.

Alyssa Gordon (Principal Investigator), OSU Student, Farm Management
Kristin Mercer (Co-Principal Investigator), OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Chris Ratcliff, OSU Dept. of Engineering
Meredith Krueger, Ohio Food Policy Network
Emilie Regnier, OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Elaine Grassbaugh, OSU Hort. & Crop Science

Linking two institutions of higher education, the resources of an established food hub network, two established non-profit farms, and a number of small scale producers practicing sustainable agriculture, this pilot project will develop and test a food hub model in a low-income area of Columbus.

Michelle Kaiser (Principal Investigator), OSU College of Social Work
Kathy Dickson, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Gregory Hitzhusen, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Patrick Kaufman, Methodist Theological School in Ohio/Franklinton Farms (formerly Franklinton Gardens)
Elaine Nogueira-Godsey, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Tadd Petersen, Methodist Theological School in Ohio/Seminary Hill Farm
Hannah Scott, OSU, CFAES
Kelsey Simkins, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Nick Stanich, Franklinton Farms (formerly Franklinton Gardens)
Kareem Usher, OSU Knowlton School of Architecture
Tim VanMeter, Methodist Theological School in Ohio
Yvonne Zimmerman, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

To better understand why unexploded ordnance often reduce the health of agroecosystems, we propose an environmental impact study that identifies the chemical contaminants in recently demined Cambodian rice paddies. Local soil amendments to remediate contaminated soil will be explored.

Erin Lin, (Principal Investigator), OSU Political Science
Nicholas Basta, OSU School of Environment and Natural Resources
Leah Bevis, OSU Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
Ted Patterson, Mine Action Development Analyst
Zlatko Vezilic, Norwegian People's Aid
Sron Samrithea, UNDP—Cambodia Mine Action Authority
Greg Crowther, Mine Action Group
Camille Wallen, HALO Trust Global M&E
Andrew Beath, World Bank

This project extends our research on the drivers of food insecurity and agroecological change in the Maya milpas of southern Belize. In addition to advancing our basic scientific research, the proposed project will allow us to begin participatory research activities in Maya communities, deepen institutional linkages at OSU, create new student learning opportunities, and leverage our progress to apply for external funding.

Joel Wainwright, (Principal Investigator), OSU Geography
Mara Fernanda Herce Sánchez, UNAM Ecology and Natural Resources
Lev Jardón Barbolla, UNAM Center for Interdisciplinary Research in the Sciences and Humanities
Shiguo Jiang, SUNY-Albany Geography
Nick Kawa, OSU Anthropology
Kristin Mercer, OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Henry Peller, OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Kareem Usher, OSU Knowlton School of Architecture

We will implement a process of community engagement and participation to develop the outlines of a food systems ‘intervention' to improve economic opportunity, educational outcomes, diet-related health, and food security in Mansfield, Ohio. Specifically, we will explore a cross section of food system strategies and opportunities ranging from investments in a local urban microfarm cooperative production, to enhanced rural-urban market connections, to potential organic waste stream systems, to the enhancement of small batch food processing as means to address the systemic crises associated with deindustrialization in small Midwestern cities.

Kip Curtis, (Principal Investigator), OSU Mansfield
Kathryn Nelson, OSU Mansfield
Kareem Usher, OSU Knowlton School of Architecture
Leah Bevis, OSU Agricultural, Environmental and Development Economics
Doug Jackson-Smith, OSU Environment & Nat. Resources
Fred Michel, OSU Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering
Matthew Kleinhenz, OSU Hort. & Crop Science
Deanna West-Torrence, North End Community Improvement Collaborative
Candace Harrell, North End Community Improvement Collaborative
Mona Kneuss, North End Community Improvement Collaborative
Cynthia Wood, OSU Mansfield

2015-2016 Linkage and Leverage Grants

Soil Moisture Active and Passive (SMAP) satellite measurements of Soil Moisture and Carbon properties will be validated using local in-situ test sites and lab measurements by the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center (C-MASC) of the SENR and Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. These validation tests of remotely sensed information will assess SMAP's data quality and also facilitate the use of SMAP data to understand properties which impact soil quality.

  • Joel Johnson, ElectroSciences Laboratory (Principal Investigator)
  • Rattan Lal, SENR (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Alexandra Bringer, ElectroSciences Laboratory
  • Jose Guzman, SENR

Reducing the amount of food waste (FW) that consumers generate and redirecting FW from landfills to
sustainable outlets are key goals that, if met, can transform the food system by bolstering food security and enhancing environmental sustainability. To achieve this we are creating and testing a smartphone app that conveniently and accurately measures household FW that can be used to evaluate various campus and community interventions. To guide its creation and the trial of new interventions, we will collect national data concerning consumer awareness of and engagement with FW and we will engage campus, local and national experts and stakeholders in evaluating current best consumer FW programs and in generating ideas for new education, communication and market interventions to reduce or redirect consumer FW.

  • Brian Roe, AEDE (Principal Investigator)
  • Angel Arroyo-Rodriguez, CRP & Ohio EPA
  • Emily Buck, ACEL
  • Aparna Dial, OEE
  • Mike Long, Resource 100 LTD
  • Corby Martin, Pennington Biomedical
  • Danyi Qi, AEDE
  • Annie Specht, ACEL

Our project addresses the compelling challenge of balancing food security with public interests in animal
welfare and carnivore conservation. Specifically, we investigate different social and ecological factors that contribute to an understanding of carnivore-livestock dynamics within eastern landscapes. Findings will help pave the way for more equitable and sustainable meat-production systems.

  • Alia Dietsch, SENR (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Jeremy Bruskotter, SENR (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Stan Gehrt, SENR (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Henry Zerby, Animal Sciences (Co-Principal Investigator)
  • Francis Fluharty, Animal Sciences
  • Tony Parker, Animal Sciences
  • Elizabeth Parker, Animal Sciences
  • Gabe Karns, SENR
  • Brent Sohngen, AEDE
  • Stephanie Shwiff, USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center
  • Stewart Breck, USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center
  • Julie K. Young, USDA-APHIS National Wildlife Research Center
  • Eric Gese, Utah State University
  • Roger A. High, State Sheep Extension Associate

TEST PLOTS is a new student journal presenting research gardens as a landscape typology. TEST PLOTS reviews research gardens created by multiple disciplines, uncovering their relationship with territorial

  • Andrew Barringer, MLA (Principal Investigator)
  • Sarah Cowles, L Arch
  • Ryan McKee, BSLA
  • Alex Pisha, MLA
  • Tameka Sims, MLA
  • Ryan Hillyer, BSLA
  • Joie Chan, MLA
  • Candace Black-Housh, MLA
  • Katie Pettee, BSLA
  • Mariel Fink, BSLA
  • Oscar Camacho-Cabrera, BSLA
  • Jeffery Lape, BSLA
  • Desiree Angelotta, BSLA
  • James Dumbauld, BSLA
  • Kristina Granlund, MLA

A systems approach provides a novel methodology to integrate across complex features of the food
environment. We apply this approach using data collected by the interdisciplinary Food Mapping Team in Columbus, Ohio to identify transformative policies for promoting optimal health.

  • Ayaz Hyder, Division of Environmental Health (Principal Investigator)
  • Michelle Kaiser, College of Social Work
  • Phyllis Pirie, College of Public Health
  • Colleen Spees, College of Medicine
  • Kareem Usher, Knowlton School of Architecture
  • Jake Carr, Dept. of Geography
  • Cheryl Graffagnino, Columbus Public Health

Ohio producers can be severely impacted by downy mildew on cucumber and powdery mildew on pumpkin and squash. Our multi-disciplinary team will explore how a UAV-based system equipped with multiple sensors can be used to scout crop fields and recognize specific diseases by their “signature” on leaf tissue. Implementation of an autonomous disease detection system can help producers protect against yield loss and ensure economic viability of the farm operation.

  • Wladimiro Villarroel, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
    (Principal Investigator)
  • Lisa Fiorentini, Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • John Fulton, Dept. of Food, Agriculture, and Biological Engineering
  • James Jasinski, OSUE
  • Sally Miller, Dept. of Plant Pathology

The Humanities Institute will partner with the Ohio Humanities Council to produce Ohio's Changing
Nature, a magazine-style illustrated reader in environmental humanities. Support from InFACT will help tell stories of agriculture change throughout the state over the past thirty years, from family farms to global markets. A backing website with additional material will foster public conversation about sustainable
futures for Ohio's natural environment and its farmers.

  • Rick Livingston, Humanities Institute Associate Director (Principal
  • Patricia Williamsen, Humanities Institute Executive Director
  • David Merkowitz, Humanities Institute Assistant Director
  • Michael Straughter, OH Outreach Coordinator
  • Claudia Plumley, Great Lakes Publishing

Utilizing space at YMCA-Northland in Columbus, Ohio and a school in Accra, Ghana, youth and adults will connect to establish gardens and engage in 4-H activities to enhance food security, promote climate resilient food systems, and positively develop youth through life and livelihood skills. This was inspired by a visit to Ohio State and the city of Columbus by Cardinal Peter Turkson, an internationally known
environmental and social activist who was instrumental in drafting Laudato si: On Care For Our Common Home.

  • Greg Hitzhusen, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Science (Co-Principle Investigator)
  • Robert Agunga, CFAES and Center for African Studies (Co-Principle Investigator)
  • Laura Joseph, Center for African Studies
  • Dustin Homan, CFAES, Ohio 4-H
  • Steven Blalock, Mershon Center for International Security Studies
  • Malik Moore, Northland-YMCA

This project will connect OSU leadership and expertise to facilitate a shared vision among food policy and program leaders in this state. This vision will be the foundation for a collaborative and accelerated transformation of our local food systems.

  • Jill Clark, John Glenn College of Public Affairs
  • Andy Wapner, College of Public Health and Center for Public Health
  • Nick Kawa, Anthropology
  • Casey Hoy, Agroecosystems Management Program
  • Michelle Kaiser, Social Work
  • Carol Smathers, OSUE Farm to School
  • Erin Lin, Political Science
  • Hannah Scott, OSU South Centers
  • Rachel Metzler, OSU student and Real Food Challenge
  • Laura Kington, Regional Field Organizer
  • Valerie Heiby, Ohio Finance Fund
  • Tevis Foreman, Produce Perks SW OH, Cincinnati Health Dept.
  • Ashley Davis, Ohio Department of Health
  • Michelle Moskowitz Brown, Local Matters
  • Leslie Schaller, ACEnet
  • Amalie Lipstreu, Ohio Ecological Food & Farm Association
  • Carol Goland, Ohio Ecological food & Farm Assoc.
  • Amy Bodiker Baskes, Franklin County Local Food Council
  • Beth Knorr, Countryside Conservancy & Summit Food Policy Coalition

Our Team has adapted HEAL MAPPS . A successful CBPR approach to assessing rural food environments to evaluate healthy food access in a variety of food environments (rural, suburban, urban). We have partnered with I AM MBK to map family-level barriers in their communities. A task force will be created who will work with researchers for five months to come up with a community plan to address the barriers identified in the mapping exercises. As we expand our reach, we will be able to define nuanced differences of how food insecurity is experienced for households exhibiting varying levels of food insecurity and living in differing contexts.

  • Dan Remley, OSU South Centers Extension (Principle Investigator)
  • Glennon Sweeney, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
  • Joshua Bates, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
  • Bernadette Hanlon, Knowlton School of Architecture, City and Regional Planning
  • Kareem Usher, Knowlton School of Architecture, City and Regional Planning
  • Irene Hatsu, Human Sciences Administration
  • Laquore Meadows, Franklin County Extension
  • Maurice Stevens, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity, Comparative Studies
  • Michelle Hand, College of Social Work
  • Michelle Kaiser, College of Social Work
  • Colleen Spees, Medical Dietetics
  • Jill Clark, John Glenn College of Public Affairs
  • Karima Samadi, OSU South Centers Extension, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
  • Kip Holley, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
  • Shelley Denison, Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity
  • Ingrid Adams, Medical Dietetics and Ohio State University Extension