AeroFarms, a leading indoor vertical farming company headquartered in Newark, New Jersey, was awarded a Seeding Solutions grant of $1 million from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit organization established under the 2014 Farm Bill. Scientists from Rutgers and Cornell universities will collaborate with AeroFarms in research using the tight controls of vertical farming to grow better-tasting leafy greens at the farm.
Beverly Tepper, professor in the Department of Food Science and director of the Center for Sensory Sciences & Innovation, and Jim Simon, distinguished professor in the Department of Plant Biology and director of the New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products Program will be involved in a range of research activities. Among the research to be conducted is identifying the growth factors to help balance optimum nutrition with high acceptability that will lead to leafy greens that appeal to different consumers. Studies will also determine the relationships between key bioactive compounds and sensory perceptions in an effort to tailor plant physiology to obtain a range of sensory characteristics that will appeal to different segments of children. Sensory studies will be conducted in Tepper’s laboratory and linked with data on phytochemical analyses conducted in Simon’s lab.