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Post Date:10/11/2016 2:17 PM


The University of Florida (UF) has made a groundbreaking commitment to help shape the future of Immokalee’s economic development by embarking on a national search for a food scientist to partner with Collier County’s culinary accelerator project.

The Food Science State Specialized Extension Agent, who will work for UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, will have a statewide role, but will be based in Immokalee. The agent will lead and participate in all aspects of a food-science initiative involving the development of the Florida Culinary Accelerator @ Immokalee, a state-of-the-art kitchen that will offer local chef entrepreneurs accessible and affordable commercial kitchen space, in addition to regulatory, marketing and business resources.

It’s extraordinary because part of the duties and responsibilities of this position….outline an expectation that this person will participate in all aspects of the Florida Culinary Accelerator,” said Commissioner Tim Nance. “This is a cooperative gesture from the University of Florida and it just expands the synergy we have with UF.”

The extension agent also will develop an educational program and partner with industry, government agencies and other groups to create and provide education and training programs about food product development, safety and quality. Applicants must have a master’s degree in food science or a related field from an accredited college or university, with experience or training in land-grant university extension programs or equivalent experience.

“This is a milestone in the development of the Immokalee initiative,” said Marshall Goodman, director of Collier County’s accelerators, noting that UF is currently ranked one of the top schools nationally and worldwide for agriculture science. “It is a clear statement of the importance the university is placing on this groundbreaking initiative. A position at this level by a research university of UF's caliber is an achievement.”

“UF/IFAS is looking forward to a productive partnership with Collier County as the Culinary Accelerator is developing,” said Calvin Arnold, center director of the UF/IFAS Southwest Florida Research and Education Center.

Groundbreaking for the Florida Culinary Accelerator @ Immokalee is expected in December, with an opening slated for summer 2017. The accelerator will be built in a renovated 5,274 -square-foot warehouse at Immokalee Regional Airport, where UF’s Southwest Florida Research & Education Center in Immokalee will provide the food testing lab.

The accelerator is designed for use by farmers and cooperatives, start-up food companies and home-kitchen chef entrepreneurs, but also will be available to mid-size food companies, retail and food service companies and commercial users. It will meet FDA and USDA regulatory standards and its 18-month program will provide agribusiness entrepreneurs and chefs with culinary classes, financial and marketing help, food certifications and other programs and services needed to give chef entrepreneurs a jump start in a competitive market.

To apply for the food scientist position, go here:

For more information, contact Jace Kentner at (239) 252-4040.


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