Students take soil samples

Many students choose research topics that help local or nearby communities address real-world environmental challenges. These issues can be investigated during multi-semester community research projects, which allow you to spend one or more semesters working with community partners on projects related to local environmental issues. In these cases, students can complete semester course projects, or adapt the research into their master’s thesis or creative projects.

Muncie Food Hub

Students pack boxes of foodMuncie Food Hub seeks to nourish and strengthen our community through the robust exchange of fresh and affordable local food. The hub manifests that investment in East Central Indiana food production, through business development, education, and civic engagement.

The food hub objectives are:

  • expand markets for local growers and producers
  • increase community-wide availability of fresh and affordable local foods
  • provide the next generation of students with critical training in food systems skills
  • catalyze economic development and prosperity through the exchange of goods and ideas in East Central Indiana

The 2017 Muncie and Delaware County Food Security Assessment

People are considered food secure when they have adequate access at all times to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life. In Muncie and Delaware County, one of every four citizens struggles with food insecurity. How can we improve food access for everyone?

To answer this question, Muncie Food Hub Partnership began a food security assessment in 2016 with the goal of measuring, analyzing, and displaying food access within our county. Our assessment examines the six basic components identified by the USDA as key indicators of food security within a population.

To this end, we conducted focus groups, interviews, food store surveys, secondary data analysis, and GIS data mapping to better understand food access in our area.

For the full report, visit our project’s website.

Bringing Voices Together at the Annual Local Food Summit

Food Summit PresenterThe annual Local Food Summit brings together stakeholders to create community-driven food solutions toward a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable local food system.

Hosted by the Muncie Food Hub Partnership, Purdue Extension of Delaware County, Edible Muncie of Delaware County Inc., and the Office of Community Engagement at Ball State University, the Local

Food Summit has catalyzed conversations surrounding local food.

This past year, our objectives were:

  • Share current initiatives among food access organizations working to create a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable food system.
  • Identify barriers to food access and generate community based solutions.
  • Solicit input from stakeholder groups to inform development of the Muncie Food Hub.
  • Identify leadership and create development plan for a regional food council to shape local food policy and actions.
  • Strengthen the network of area community gardens through learning from the past and planning for the future.

Development and Implementation of a Mobile Produce Market

Muncie Food Hub Partnership hopes to expand sales outlets for farmers, nourish our neighbors, and help grow a healthy community with a resilient local food system

One of our efforts toward this goal is to bring fresh, affordable, local food for sale to gathering places in Muncie via a mobile market. The mobile market pilot project will serve as proof of concept for a sustainable business model providing local produce to area food deserts.

Our goals are:

  • Increase food security by providing affordable, locally grown fruits and vegetables to residents in Muncie and Delaware County.
  • Expand outlets for area farmers through sourcing local fresh fruits and vegetables and inventory excess purchasing strategies.
  • Provide nutrition education and increased food literacy to residents in Muncie and Delaware County.

The mobile market is expected to launch in Spring, 2018. Check out our website for more details!

Immersive Learning Project for Nebraska Neighborhood, Fort Wayne

Students review data

In Fall 2017 students in a Natural Resources and Environmental Management class were charged with coming up with ideas to propose for the development of a new park in Fort Wayne.

The park is only one acre in size and sits next to the historic Wayne Knitting Mill in the Nebraska neighborhood.

With the Nebraska Neighborhood Association President as our client, our students worked in groups to propose trails, seating areas, green space for activities, vegetative fences, and other aesthetic features.

An important feature of immersive learning is that students apply what they are learning in class to a real-world project. Students did research on the demographics of the neighborhood to justify their proposals. For example, the neighborhood does not have many small children—rather it has young adults early in their careers so the park design should reflect their interests for spending leisure time.

Read more about this project.

Natural Resources Club

The Natural Resources Club provides members with educational, vocational, and recreational resources. Their activities include volunteering, partnering with other clubs, hiking, and camping. Learn more.

Air and Waste Management Association

Air and Waste Management Association members volunteer for environmental education activities, such as the Ball State Science Day in April. Also they try to raise awareness about environmental issues among students by having meetings biweekly. They attend the annual meeting of the Indiana Air and Waste Management Association. Learn more.

Soils Judging Team

For the past few years, NREM has had a competitive soils judging team. They have competed against other schools, placing 3rd at an event in Wisconsin during the 2017-2018 Academic Year.