St. Joseph's College in Standish has launched an initiative to support Maine's sustainable agriculture community and the food and beverage industry.
St. Joseph's entrepreneur-in-residence, Peter Nielsen, says $4 million in public and private funds will be used to create the infrastructure for the Institute for Local Food Systems Innovation.
He says include a quarter-acre hydroponic farm and green house, a food manufacturing incubator with a commercial kitchen for scaling up home processing operations, a biomass boiler system, and a livestock farm.
"What we're really doing is creating a hub from which we can help all these players in the food industry in Maine who are working in the food system and the food industry," Nielsen says, "a place where they can come to partner with each other and with new technologies and with capital, and access to the educational workforce development that will happen in this kind of hub."
Included in the initiative will be competency-based courses and certificate programs in food production, processing, and distribution.
Nielsen says he expects the building project will be complete in about three-and-a-half years. He says some of the educational programs will be rolled out within 12 months.