Agricultural incubator foundation revisits its roots

If you’ve seen or heard about the Agricultural Incubator Foundation but were unsure exactly what it does, “you’re not alone,” according to David Little, AIF’s President of the Board. “I know many people have driven past here and wondered just what goes on behind those gates?” Addressing a small but diverse audience of teachers, researchers, growers, and a statehouse representative, he adds, “Hopefully, today we’ll give you a snapshot of that.”

The gates he’s referring to lead to a 140-acre property filled with traditional crops, garden plots, greenhouses, outbuildings, and a large pond and native wildflower garden.

“The term incubator can confuse people, making them think we’re hatching chicken or fish eggs,” says a member of the board, Julie Lause. But what is being incubated here is innovation, collaboration, and research, and although there are some fish being produced, it might not be for the reasons you’d expect.

At CIFT’s September Agribusiness Forum, Little described the AIF as a “non-profit, educational, and research-focused organization promoting the development of agriculture systems that are economically, ecologically, and socially sustainable.”

So how does this translate into the programs and projects that are going on behind those gates? For Moira van Staaden, Operating Manager of Radmantis, it translates into a local aquaculture research site for her organization. Radmantis is a tech company that utilizes AI to gather data on aquatic animal populations and automate fish sorting for use in conservation and improved seafood production.

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