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January News from New York State Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture

The CoE, in partnership with the Cornell Food and Agriculture Technology Park (Tech Farm) are now accepting applications for Food Spark, a scholarship program for aspiring food and beverage entrepreneurs.
Scholarships are available for qualified candidates to participate in the eCornell Food Product Development Certificate Program. The interactive certificate is a 10-week virtual program designed by world-class Cornell experts that will guide participants through all the steps it takes to bring a new food or beverage product to market.
The Food Spark scholarship covers the entire program, valued at $3,699, excluding a $200 one-time registration fee for awardees.
Don’t miss out on this tremendous opportunity to help grow your food business. Applications are due Feb. 15.
Click here to apply online.

Mark your calendars: CoE Coffee, Coaching & Connections

Whether it’s a brand new startup, or a long established company, businesses all have to contend with one thing: Funding.

To kick off our new monthly “CoE Coffee, Coaching & Connections” series, we’re hosting a panel discussion and networking event bringing together some of Upstate New York’s leading venture capital experts.

Panelists for February’s event include:
Zach Shulman – Managing Partner at Cayuga Venture Fund and Director of Entrepreneurship at Cornell University
Jennifer Tegan – Managing Director, New York Ventures
Ed Bizari – Entrepreneur in Residence, Launch NY
Rob Poltrino – Chief Operating Officer, SDH Capital

The free seminar is Tuesday, Feb. 7, from 9 – 10:30 a.m. inside Jordan Hall at Cornell AgriTech (630 W. North St., Geneva.)

The seminar is free to attend and breakfast will be provided. This hybrid seminar is available to both in-person and virtual attendees.

What’s cooking in the Pilot Plant?

Leslie Woodward is the founder of Edenesque, producer of artisan plant-based milks. Based in Kingston, NY, Edenesque was a finalist in the 2022 Grow-NY competition and is primed to bring its premium milks to even more people in 2023.

She was recently working in the Cornell Food Venture Center (CFVC) Pilot Plant for further development of her milks, including pistachio milk (left) and almond milk (right.)

While some non-dairy milks contain as little as 2% nuts, Edenesque milks contain 30% nuts, resulting in a far creamier and richer product.

Edenesque is one of our newest CoE members and is also a member of our Coworking space, located at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva.

Welcome, Edenesque! We’re thrilled to have you here.

Buggin’ out with River Road Research

In mid-January, the CoE team visited River Road Research, a Buffalo-area company using black soldier fly larvae to turn food waste into a rich source of protein.

Black solder flies reach the larva stage within three weeks. The larvae are then frozen, dried and processed into a protein meal. That high-protein powder can then be used to make fish and animal feeds.

River Road Research is currently working with the CoE for help commercializing its products and expanding its operation.

We’re not squeamish when it comes to exploring innovative solutions to New York’s food and agriculture industries.

Career opportunities with our CoE members

CoE Coffee, Coaching & Connections: Women in Food Business

Our new CoE Coffee, Coaching & Connections series continues on March 7, from 9 – 10:30 a.m., with a panel of female entrepreneurs speaking about their successes and the unique challenges they’ve faced with starting and growing a business.

The seminar is free to attend and breakfast will be provided.


The Business | Enology | Viticulture NY conference will take place March 28-30at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown in Syracuse and online.

From big wine data to sustainability to sparkling wine, attendees will learn the latest research and practices shaping New York’s grape growing and winemaking future.

New York Certified Organic meetings

The New York Certified Organic (NYCO) dairy and field crops meetings will take place on Feb. 14 and March 14, respectively, at Jordan Hall at Cornell AgriTech.

What the CoE offers

The Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech works to increase the size and scope of the food and agriculture economy in New York by serving as a hub connecting businesses and entrepreneurs with the services they need to start and grow in New York.

Becoming a CoE member gives food and ag businesses and entrepreneurs the edge they need to succeed.

  • A few of the many services we offer access to:
  • Cornell food, beverage and agriculture research.
  • Business mentorship.
  • Incubators and accelerators.
  • Training and education.
  • Product development, testing and validation.
  • Business-to-business partnerships and supply chain asset resources.
  • Connections to processors, manufacturers, production facilities, co-packers, warehouses, distribution, retail and marketing services.
  • State, federal and local economic development resources.
  • Co-working, lab and manufacturing spaces.
  • Aerial drones, robots and other digital agriculture..

The best part? It’s free. Just contact us at and let us see how we can help.

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