Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences has launched a partnership with Soli Organic Inc., a Virginia-based controlled-environment agriculture company that provides USDA-certified organic products to more than 20,000 retailers.
Rutgers and Soli Organic will work together to select and advance the next generation of commercial organic grown indoors over the next five years. According to an announcement, experts at Soli Organic and Rutgers will use state-of-the-art analytical instruments to analyze produce seed genetics and identify and further optimize flavor, aroma, nutrition and yield characteristics for indoor growing. .
The partners will also explore opportunities to bring to market new types of products that, although not possible for commercial organic outdoor cultivation, can provide ideal flavor, nutrition and yield characteristics and can be grown in biological way inside.
“Soli Organic is relentless in its pursuit of technologies and partnerships that support its vision to offer its retail partners and consumers nationwide a variety of differentiated, nutrient-rich fresh produce in a way that maximizes profitability. while minimizing environmental impact,” said Tessa Pocock, Chief Scientific Officer of Soli Organic, in a prepared statement.
“Our cost advantage is rooted in superior unit economics linked to growing science and operational know-how – our ‘growth’. The expertise and deep knowledge offered by … the Rutgers University team will help us to further improve this cost advantage over time,” she said.
James Simon, director of the Rutgers New Use Agriculture and Natural Plant Products program, said that of more than 400,000 plant species on the planet, humans consume less than 100.
“We haven’t even scratched the surface of the different flavors and textures of plants,” he said. “What will be key to a sustainable future is identifying plants that offer consumers the highest nutrient density combined with flavor, texture and ‘shelf appeal’ and the lowest possible environmental impact.”
Simon said their partnership is done with the intention of bringing Breeding Concept products to produce alleys over the next five years.