The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES)'s current greenhouse capabilities—designed using technology that is now 50 years out of date—lack basic features common among modern greenhouses. In areas where CFAES faculty and students have taken the lead, college facilities have lagged behind and might serve as a barrier to recruiting, securing, and maintaining diverse talent and leveraging student engagement and inclusion.
“The focus is unique in this facility,” said Chieri Kubota, PhD, professor of controlled environment agriculture in the CFAES Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. “It also will be interdisciplinary research and innovation.”
A need to refresh the infrastructure
A priority for CFAES is transforming the college’s physical environment to better support and inspire work. Part of a $100 million investment in college infrastructure is taking place at the Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory. Waterman is uniquely positioned to serve as a hub for science and public engagement related to the food system, agriculture, and natural resources. This requires modern facilities. The Controlled Environment Food Production Research Complex is key to supporting the college’s goals for Waterman.
The complex will be a truly transformational resource for Ohio State, as well as for the global and local communities that CFAES serves. Its modern resources will better equip CFAES faculty, staff, and students to take on the grand challenges facing humanity and the world. A recent, transformative gift from the Nationwide Foundation—a partner of the college for over 50 years—includes $5 million to support new facilities and infrastructure at Waterman, some of which will be used to help construct this complex. A previous $2.8 million gift from Nationwide helped fund a feasibility study of the property.
“We are deeply fortunate to have partners like Nationwide, and the Nationwide Foundation committed to advancing and sustaining life across Ohio and beyond,” said Cathann A. Kress, vice president for agricultural administration and dean of CFAES.