Economic & Workforce Development Center: Impact Report 2017-19


Reimagine the Canals Task Force. Agriculture is a dominant force in the Roch- ester region, and the Erie canal plays a role in agricultural irrigation today. While farmers in Western NY already benefit from the irriga- tion allowed by this infrastructure – and have done so for decades – there remains untapped potential. Expanded irrigation has two primary benefits. First, it encourages an increase in the acreage of high-value crops. Second, it minimizes the risk in growing crops (especially high value crops) and makes annual revenue much less dependent on annual weather conditions. Increasing irrigation is a long-term investment with even greater benefit decades from now given the potential for increased climate variability and extended summer dry periods. Increased irrigation would provide an essential level of resiliency in an uncertain future. As of January 2020, Governor Cuomo has recommended approval of a $300 million investment in this project over the next 5 years. The MCC Agriculture and Life Sciences Institute is represented on the Board and played an active role in this important initiative.

Clearwater Organic Farms bringing state-of-the- art hydroponics greenhouse to Rochester, N.Y. A new 475,000 square-foot facility will produce fresh, locally grown, organic baby leaf greens year-round and create over 100 new full-time jobs. Since early discussions, the Economic and Workforce Development Center has been involved in bringing Clearwater Organic Farms to Rochester. The Economic and Workforce Development Center participated in the initial planning phases, and expects to be involved in the training phase. Startup NY: Alyeska Farms. Alyeska Farms, Inc. is a new agricultural company that will be growing vegetables indoors under precisely controlled environmental conditions using high density aeroponics technology. Alyeska Farms plans to pioneer the commercial production of the highest quality produce for distribution to WNY. Alyeska will deliver the fresh produce within hours of harvesting, as feasible. Empire State Development’s Finger Lakes Regional Office is working with MCC, and Alyeska Farms, on this effort.


From 2017 to 2019: more than 90 students learned about career pathways in agriculture and food processing; 24 students enrolled in the MCC Agriculture and Food Studies Certificate program; 45 students participated in greenhouse management training; and 35 students participated in food safety training.

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