What We Do

FHI Cultivates Relationships With Universities in Our Community 


University of South Florida

Dr. Banner's “Medicines of the Rainforest” course is a historical account of the use of plants in traditional medicinal practices. Students explore the cross-cultural adaptation of ethnobotany and its role in modern medical practices. Through volunteering at the Florida House Institute garden, students learn about the intricacies of sustainable organic gardening and service to the community. Educational materials are prepared on topics that include brochures on the use of plants by various cultures, biodiversity of garden insects and recipes for healthy cooking with plants.

Contact Dr. Banner

Download Medicines of the Rainforest Florida House Institute Garden Presentation


New College of Florida 


A relatively new body of research is beginning to shine light on an unseen but highly influential part of our world, uncovering thousands of new tiny species and complexities richer than we ever could have imagined. 

Although microbes play an integral role in human health and provide many other important ecosystem services, little is yet known about how microbial communities in our environment influence our day-to-day lives. Led by Dr. Erika Diaz-Almeyda of the New College of Florida, the Urban Microbiomes by Design project was developed in the summer of 2019 to study the biodiversity of the urban soil microbiome. By studying this poorly understood aspect of urban health, we can redesign city landscapes to increase human exposure to beneficial microbes and restore community health from the ground up. 

Project UMD employs a transdisciplinary approach, bringing together professionals and students from a wide range of backgrounds. Its work is focused on providing hands-on opportunities for student learning, giving students the opportunity to explore their own research questions and collaborate on meaningful work in a real-world context. 

Contact Dr. Erika Diaz-Almeyda


Cross College Alliance

Cross College Alliance comprises five institutions dedicated to higher education, placing summer interns in unique learning opportunities within our community. Developed in 2019, our first summer intern was a student from SCF working toward her doctorate. This summer, a junior from USF is the recipient of this student-centric paid internship.

Contact Cross College Alliance 


Please check back soon for an updated schedule of classes.