Stony Brook University Advances Plans To Build Agriculture Consumer Science Center At Calverton Business Incubator
Construction of 8,500-square-foot facility to be let for public bid within the next month; will benefit regional wine and agricultural producers and local entrepreneurs
STONY BROOK, N.Y., October 26, 2010 – Stony Brook University has announced the next steps in its plans to establish an Agriculture Consumer Science Center (ACSC) at the Calverton Business Incubator. The ACSC will help regional wine and agricultural producers and local entrepreneurs to develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance their product lines through access to state-of-the-art shared processing areas and collaborations with researchers, scientists, and professionals at Stony Brook University, Brookhaven National Laboratory, and the NYS Small Business Development Center.
In March, Stony Brook announced that through the efforts of New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, the University will receive a $3.5 million grant from the
New York State Economic Development Assistance Program
(NYS EDAP) for the construction of the ACSC at the Calverton Business Incubator, which was established by SBU in 2005 with a focus on the development of aquaculture, agriculture and environmental technologies. Funding will be administered by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY).
“I am pleased to have secured the state funding needed to set this project in motion and believe that this investment will help boost our local economy,” said Senator Ken LaValle. “This is a unique opportunity for our agricultural community to develop new, marketable consumer items and enhance their product lines, while also creating new jobs and improving our region’s ability to remain competitive in the global marketplace.”
“We anticipate the construction of the Agriculture Consumer Science Center will be let for public bid within the next month,” Stony Brook President Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. said at a press conference on Oct. 26 to announce the next steps in advancing the Agriculture Consumer Science Center (ACSC).
It is estimated that the ACSC project budget will permit the construction of an additional 8,500 square feet of space to the already existing 15,680 square feet.
“I have no doubt that the creation of the Agricultural Consumer Science Center will prove to be a tremendous asset to Long Island’s East End agricultural businesses and entrepreneurs,” Dr. Stanley said. “It is a strategic initiative to building business opportunities in a challenged economy.”
The Center will house fully functional resources for agricultural producers and small scale food processors in both hot process and dry process functions. Dry storage, cold storage, and freezer storage units will be available on site, as well as a product development area with a viewing section for demonstration purposes. Producers will also be afforded laboratory space with ductless fume hoods and a microbiology lab for research and development. A loading dock will serve both the new addition and the existing building.
The ACSC will allow SBU to undertake several new initiatives.
* Shared Use Processing Areas – These areas will consist of a hot process area and dry process area. This fully equipped commercial kitchen space will allow local agricultural producers and small scale food processors to explore development and small scale production of retail product lines where concepts can be taken to proof of commercialization. This space will directly meet a focus of the Calverton Business Incubator to support agriculture technologies. By allowing the sharing of the space, entrepreneurs will now be able to afford to explore the development of a food product line and its marketing and distribution.
* Metabolic Kitchen – Establish a metabolic kitchen that will enable SBU researchers to design and implement studies that explore the relationship between nutrient composition of diets and disease prevention, progression or treatment; provide a unique opportunity for graduate nutrition students to work with growers on the development and marketing of new product made from locally grown agricultural products; and offer cooking and nutrition classes so as to enable the residents of Suffolk County to improve their health by empowering them to increase the quality of their dietary intake.
* CREAM – Center for Research and Education in Agricultural Materials – students of SBU Chemical and Molecular Engineering will conduct bioengineering research with local food producers; combining various science and engineering principles (heat and mass transfer, food microbiology, flavor profiling, scale-up) with product development skills (marketing, cost analysis). This Center will develop student skills whether their specialization is food engineering, materials science, or business.
* Patient Nutrition Support Groups – the product development kitchen which provides viewing panels for the activities being undertaken in the demonstration area will allow SBU Medical Center to offer support groups to targeted patient populations and their families; e.g. diabetes patients, cardiac care patients, and obesity patients to receive demonstrations from nutritionists of SBU Medical Center that will educate as to how to properly prepare meals based on dietary restrictions or needs.
* Additional incubator lab space – allows entrepreneurs the appropriate space supported by the resources of SBU to continue research and product commercialization.
The Calverton Incubator was conceived as an economic engine to enhance Eastern Long Island’s agricultural, aquaculture and environmental industries. As one of Stony Brook’s three business incubator’s, Calverton is helping create and sustain a new base of industry and jobs by promoting the growth of tenant companies and supporting regional businesses here on Eastern Long Island. The Calverton Business Incubator is owned and operated by Stony Brook University. The Calverton facility includes offices, conference rooms, and laboratories with both fresh and salt-water access, and houses the satellite office of the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook. The Incubator supports entrepreneurial companies by providing access to resources and strategies for a period of 3-5 years in an effort to foster the research and development of products and/or services for introduction into the marketplace.
The agricultural industry represents 5% of the Long Island economy, provides 6-8,000 jobs to the local economy, boasts an annual gross income of $250 million, and produces 500,000 cases of wine annually. In Suffolk County, 33,000 acres are currently utilized for agricultural production of which 15,000 acres have been preserved for farming through the commitment of public funds by the governments of the towns, Suffolk County and State of New York – evidencing the strong commitment to sustain agricultural production as an industry on Long Island. However, the ever-increasing cost of farming and regulatory constraints necessitates farmers to come up with strategies to remain economically viable. The development of value added products to their agricultural commodities is one such strategy. Unfortunately, the cost of the execution of the many food science details in the development of a value added product line and the processing of the products in a sanitary, licensed environment is prohibitive for any single agricultural entrepreneur.
Part of the State University of New York system, Stony Brook University encompasses 200 buildings on 1,450 acres. In the 50+ years since its founding, the University has grown tremendously, now with nearly 24,700 students and 2,200 faculty and is recognized as one of the nation’s important centers of learning and scholarship. It is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, and ranks among the top 100 national universities in America and among the top 50 public national universities in the country according to the 2010 U.S. News & World Report survey. Considered one of the “flagship” campuses in the SUNY system, Stony Brook University co-manages Brookhaven National Laboratory, joining an elite group of universities, including Berkeley, University of Chicago, Cornell, MIT, and Princeton that run federal research and development laboratories. SBU is a driving force of the Long Island economy, with an annual economic impact of $4.65 billion, generating nearly 60,000 jobs, and accounts for nearly 4% of all economic activity in Nassau and Suffolk counties, and roughly 7.5 percent of total jobs in Suffolk County.