University Courses In Food Science Locates At Port Of Everett

April 16, 2018


A unique partnership is developing between the Port of Everett and Washington State University that will bring more students to a new program in Everett. Here are the details as provided by the Port…

food science

More college students may be studying in Everett.

This week, Washington State University’s (WSU) School of Food Science (SFS) takes occupancy at the Port of Everett’s Waterfront Place in its newly leased office and classroom spaces – home for the School of Food Science’s Center for Advanced Food Technology.

The new three-year lease with WSU, approved by the Port Commission in February, supports a new Center of Excellence around food and seafood processing sponsored by a collaboration between two universities – Washington State University and the University of Idaho. The lease includes approximately 4,800 square feet of office space at the Port’s Marina Village complex (near Anthony’s Homeport) and additional classroom capacity at the Port’s Conference Center for weekly courses, symposiums and lectures. The deal provides five, one-year extension options in its current structure with opportunities for future expansion.

“The vision of supporting the growth of the food processing industry in this region a reality,” said Dr. Barbara Rasco, Director of the School of Food Science. “We are excited about this opportunity to collaborate with the Port of Everett in this innovative partnership and look forward to developing a more permanent facility at the Port to house our outreach, academic and research efforts as part of the land grant mission of WSU and the University of Idaho. These efforts will result in significant economic benefit to the people of Everett, Snohomish County, and the Pacific Northwest.”

The Port of Everett provides a strategic location for expansion of the School of Food Science program as its centrally located at the heart of Puget Sound’s agriculture and fisheries hub. Snohomish County’s agriculture industry represents $139 million dollars in economic activity with more than 50,000 acres in agriculture production and 1,438 farms. Further, food processing in Snohomish County is a $280 million industry responsible for 1,447 jobs.

Seafood and aquaculture are major sectors of the food production, processing and manufacturing in the Pacific Northwest (Alaska, Washington, and Idaho) where 62-percent of United States seafood is harvested or imported and processed. Washington state ranks first in the nation for aquaculture as reported by the State Department of Agriculture – the majority of which is in Western Washington – and Idaho ranks third.

Although the food/seafood sector are doing well, the sector lacks a stable workforce and is experiencing severe labor shortages despite relatively high wages. In response, companies are turning to process automation resulting in fewer jobs, but jobs requiring increased skills. One objective of this center is to provide education and research to assist with this modernization.

“This program is emblematic of the type of partnership key to the Port’s success in achieving its economic mission, and we hope this program is the first of many to come as we seek to leverage the presence of a world-class university in Everett to benefit the local economy,” said Terrie Battuello, the Port’s Chief of Business Development. “This Center of Excellence will prepare our community for family-wage employment while generating business startups in the agriculture and seafood industries; industries which are both significant to the Snohomish County area.”

The Center has four primary areas supporting food and seafood processing including, 1) development of applied innovative food processing and engineering technologies to enhance quality and safety, 2) educational opportunities for the next generation of industry professionals in seafood/food harvesting and processing, 3) development of new products through application of biotechnology for improved material utilization and reduction of waste, and 4) application of alternative energy technologies into processing facilities. Being closer to the large food/seafood manufacturing sector located in Western Washington will also enable SFS to establish and support increased graduate research and food science undergraduate education programs specifically those at the WSU STEM campus in Everett.

This prestigious university collaboration, SFS, is known for providing the highest quality education, research, and outreach in the applied disciplines of food and seafood processing. It ranks among the top tier of United States university food science programs, with programs ranging from running start to graduate degrees that support entrepreneurs, food producers and community enrichment programs.

Food science encompasses processing, technology, chemistry, engineering, microbiology, transportation/distribution, safety, as well as nutrition and was established to support food processing and food related manufacturing. The program incorporates all types of food processing from cheese making to food and seafood production, fermentation, curing and freezing.

The Program also creates a perfect land use synergy with the Port’s Marina, which traffic peaks when the schools are out of session balancing parking demand at this location.

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My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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