The Center for Food Innovation
We are increasing food security, increasing nutrient value, reducing environmental impact and expanding economic prosperity by supporting a robust year-round regional food cluster.
Northeast Ohio’s Opportunity
BY INCREASING FOOD PRODUCTION
AND DELIVERING UP TO 20,000 JOBS
What We Do
CONVENE: Bring AgTech ecosystem (from Lorain County, Northeast Ohio and the State of Ohio) to map out opportunities, barriers and needs and produce a five-year action plan.
ATTRACT: Entice successful controlled environment (CEA) farms and tech companies to fill our vacant factories, shopping malls and land with 12-month agricultural enterprises.
GROW: Stimulate startup success by scaling cottage-industry food products and technology innovation into industrial-level enterprises and global corporations.
We are a catalyst to an innovative cluster of growers, technology, systems and distribution channels that transforms Northeast Ohio into a leader in food production and agricultural innovation.
To cultivate a collaborative, inclusive industry cluster of producers, consumers, educators, distributors, innovators and entrepreneurs to grow regional jobs and prosperity in Lorain County and Northeast Ohio.
The Economic Potential of Vertical Agriculture in Northeast Ohio
This report with research by the student-based Oberlin Research Group (ORG) provides insights into how the Netherlands’ Food Valley became the second largest agricultural exporter after the U.S., and how Lorain County could leverage this model for economic development and job growth. READ HERE
Why an Advanced Agriculture Industry Cluster in Northeast Ohio?
Existing Vertical Agriculture
Northeast Ohio has a burgeoning vertical agriculture community. The cluster model will support the growth of these entities by driving the focus and speed of innovation.
Sustainable and Green
Vertical agriculture uses 70-95% less water than soil farming, and ZERO pesticides, eliminating run-off into our lakes.
$3.2 Billion Industry Sector
The Food and Beverage Manufacturing sector grew 85% 2007-18; has 370+ food processing & manufacturing operations; and Ohio is a top Agribusiness states.
This is a Growth Industry
Vertical Agriculture is projected to reach $12.77 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 24.6% from 2019 to 2026.
Empty Factories and Malls
Empty factories and malls throughout Lorain County and Northeast Ohio present an exciting opportunity for rebirth with 12-month vertical agriculture.
Northeast Ohio Tech Synergy
AgTech lives at the intersection of agriculture and IT, AI, LED lighting, renewable energy and storage, robotics and sensors as well as advances in logistics, shipping, and warehousing.
Current Blog Posts
Who we are…
We are a group of people passionate about growing jobs, sustainability and community prosperity. We welcome you to join us. Contact Bara Watts – firstname.lastname@example.org
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Board Chair: Adele Flynn, District 3 Trustee, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Farmer
Board Vice Chair: Jack Ford, Sales Team Leader, AgriNomix LLC, Farmer
Treasurer: Janet Haar, Executive Director, Oberlin Business Partnership
Secretary: Kyle White, Area Leader, Ohio State University Agriculture Extension
Kevin Flanagan, President, General Plug & Manufacturing, Inc., Lorain County Community College, Board Member, Oberlin College, Board Member
Tony Gallo, President, Lorain County Chamber of Commerce
Tyler Gogolek, Owner, Tyler’s Farm
Vaughn Johnson, Deputy Director, Economic Development, Cuyahoga County
Dr. Darko Opoku, Chair of Africana Studies, Oberlin College
Terri Sandu, Director, Talent and Business Innovation, Lorain County Community College
Dave Sokol, Director, Oberlin Food Hub
Amy Szmania, Wellington Center Coordinator, Lorain County Community College