204863 Community-based food business incubation centers are the next best thing since sliced bread!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Rita H. Hindin, PhD, MPH , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Massachusetts School of Public Health and Health Sciences, Shelburne Falls, MA
H. Louis Cooperhouse , Rutgers Food Innovation Center, Rutgers University, Bridgeton, NJ
Jay Weinstein , Culinary, Natural Gourmet Institute, New York, NY
A food business incubator is dedicated to bringing new, value-added, or processed food products to market. Such a facility usually offers a full range of technical assistance to accomplish the goal, from business planning, product development and marketing support, to a fully equipped production site. Rental by unit time averts huge start-up costs and allows for incremental growth. While not inherent in their mission, food business incubators also usually promote local sourcing of ingredients and green production methods. This presentation will provide an overview of the food business incubation trend nationally, highlighting incubators that are community-oriented. Focusing in on the 23,000 square foot Rutgers University Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, NJ (10-years-in-the-making, and now fully operational) and the Maria Isabel Food Processing and Culinary Jobs Training Centers (on the drawing-board, whose first facility is anticipated to be sited in Newark, NJ and to be about 5,000 square feet in size), the presentation will educate about the value of community-based food business incubators for promoting ecological stewardship, jobs development, community revitalization and, of course, healthier food options. Recent and current experience with building the network of support and collaboration necessary to successfully establish a new food business incubation center will be shared.

Learning Objectives:
Explain what a food business incubator is, the services it provides, and the impacts it can have for the community. Describe at least three ecological benefits and at least three other public health benefits of a community-based food business incubation center.

Keywords: Environment, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-founder of the initiative to establish the Maria Isabel Food Processing and Culinary Jobs Training Centers and have been studying and working on improving food systems, locally, nationally and internationally since the early '90s. My broad perspective on food systems and my advocacy on behalf of a linked academic-administrative food system initiative at my alma mater Princeton University catalyzed a major conference (in Nov 2006) on Food, Ethics and the Environment at that institution.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.