Collaboration with Wisconsin's robust specialty crop industry is important to the success of a new research effort by WIST. Accordingly, a steering committee has been formed that includes industry professionals from the grower, processor and marketing segments as well as economic development professionals. Committee members will provide insight on industry practices, data on production and processing operations, and recommendations on best avenues to explore.
Vegetables and their residual materials contain numerous chemicals such as vitamins, proteins, sugars and lipids, waxes and other aliphatic and aromatic compounds such as antioxidants. The specialty chemical sector manufactures a wide range of synthetic or semi synthetic molecules that have the same or similar effects as those chemicals that occur naturally in vegetables. The goal of the three-year project is to identify opportunities for commercialization of specific chemicals from processing residuals and to foster entrepreneurial activity to take advantage of the opportunities.
Committee members are: Matthew Badtke, Del Monte Foods; Brian Flood, Del Monte Foods; Nick George, Jr., Midwest Food Processors Association; Tamas Houlihan, Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association; Barbara LaMue, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation; Jeremie Pavelski, Heartland Farms; Richard Pavelski, Heartland Farms; Michelle Peariso, Pavelski Legacy Partners; Arjun Sanga, WiSys Technology Foundation; Bob Wise, WiSys Technology Foundation. Also on the steering committee are WIST staff Paul Fowler, Rebecca Vagts, Angie Hauer, Justin Hall and Ron Tschida.
The research project is funded by a grant of $499,965 from the U.S. Economic Development Agency. Matching funding from WIST and project partners, largely in-kind contributions of staff time and resources, brings the total expected project value to just over $1 million.
Here's more information about the research project.