New York State’s food and beverage industry came together for Growth of the Urban
Foodscape — a manufacturing forum held on March 16 at Farmingdale State College. The
event was co-hosted by the Stony Brook Manufacturing and Technology Resource Consortium (MTRC), Farmingdale’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), New York State FuzeHub
and the Long Island Food Council. The forum connected startups, early-stage entrepreneurs,
and small and midsize food and beverage companies with potential business development
resource providers. It was a unique chance for companies to discover what their peers
and competitors do, network with industry professionals, explore development opportunities
and get advice from experts.
The half-day event hosted about 100 visitors. The forum’s exhibitors — potential business
development resource providers — presented their services and solutions to more than
50 food companies, 30 of which were taking part in the forum for the first time. The
event brought together participants from four Manufacturing Extension Partnership
regions across New York State, and company representatives came from Downstate NY,
including seven companies from New York City.
MTRC Project Manager Cynthia Colon (left) and MTRC Manufacturing Operations Engineer
In addition to digital marketing services, investment consulting, supply chain and
sustainability solutions, and other key resources presented during the event, the
forum provided a perfect ground for collaboration between the manufacturers and provided
resources for this type of collaboration. The event served as a starting point for
some beneficial joint co-packing projects that have potential for future development.
The organizers anticipate other success stories that will possibly grow out of this
“We tend to see food manufacturers running a race,” said Cynthia Colón, program manager
for SBU MTRC. “We hope that this event helps them stop in the midst of this race,
look around, feel that they are not alone, and see who can help them to continue running
forward.” Colón highlighted how important it was to make these events of significant
substance and value and to make sure they meet the key needs of the manufacturers.
Colón and Amy Erickson, manufacturing operations engineer with SBU MTRC, observed
that the companies were excited to get information about resources and assistance
available to them. Company representatives were seen leaving with the folders filled
with information about the assistance they could get in growing their food business
and in moving forward with their entrepreneurial journey.