Cathann Kress

Cathann Kress
Vice President of Agricultural Administration and Dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

If there's one thing that excites Cathann Kress, dean of the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, it's the vast potential she sees in the college and its Waterman facility. Two recent developments that speak to this potential are the announcement of the new AgTech Innovation Hub and the college's collaboration with the Voyager StarLab.

“We're going to keep being astounded by what our careful stewardship of the Waterman facility will yield in the future and what it will mean for the food, agricultural and environmental systems in the community and for our university in terms of the issues we want to address in human health, climate change, and the economy,” Kress said.

Kress is passionate about the future of Waterman, and its goal of serving as a world-class facility for research, community engagement, and teaching. She knows that in today's world, only one percent of the population is responsible for producing almost all the food needed to sustain our communities.

“What that means is that there are fewer and fewer people who have a direct tie to a farm or any sort of food production or even sometimes natural resources,” she said. “In order to be informed consumers or make good policies, we need to understand our food system. It is critically important.”

Looking to the future, Kress has “big, audacious goals” for Waterman. She wants every Ohio State graduate to have an experience at the site so they can understand where their food comes from. She also wants the site to become a destination for children and families, specifically through the Waterman Education and Innovation Center.

“We use every inch of the facility, and it provides a lot of unique settings like the woodlot, the turf management area, the livestock, insects, and the gardens,” she said. “We want this to be a place where people can come and learn, ask questions, and understand where our food system is resilient and where we need to be considering improvements and innovations.”