The university whipped out golden shovels for the Food & Beverage Innovation Centre's groundbreaking ceremony
It seems like every time you turn around, there's another construction site popping up on UBC’s Vancouver campus. No doubt current (and former) students would agree that it’s hard to picture the university grounds without any cranes or bulldozers. But hey, it's all about progress, right?
To that end, UBC held a groundbreaking ceremony last week to start building its new Food and Beverage Innovation Centre. At the reception, Dave Eto, president of local business consulting firm Qumai Consulting, spoke highly of the university’s dean of Land and Food Systems, Rickey Yada, and credited a significant portion of the $10 million project’s progress to his dedication.
“This all started with the arrival of Rickey as the dean of Land and Food Systems,” said Eto. “He quietly and doggedly persevered to discover the most improbable space—a little strip of land behind a parking lot—where he's going to put up an 8,500 sq ft facility.”
UBC Land & Food Systems. (Left to right) Anubhav Pratap-Singh, assistant professor of food processing at UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems; Rickey Yada, dean and professor at UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems; Srishty Maggo, student representative; Deborah Buszard, interim president and vice-chancellor at UBC; Dana-Lyn Mackenzie, senior manager of EDI & Indigeneity at UBC Faculty of Applied Science & Faculty of Land and Food Systems; David Kitts, associate dean and research professor, of food science at UBC Faculty of Land and Food Systems; Dave Eto, president of Qumai Consulting
According to Eto, a food-processing pilot plant like this would help businesses develop new and creative products right here in B.C. instead of spending time, effort and resources to visit external facilities. “And while the size and the scale of the centre may not be the same as some of these very large and heavily subsidized centres around Canada, you will have access to novel, pilot scale technologies, academic research backed with applicable science-based results and three innovation bays where you can develop your own intellectual property,” he added.
It's exciting to see the kind of innovations that the university’s Food and Nutrition building is already dishing out, and more so when you imagine future scaling possibilities. On the day of the groundbreaking, a tour of the demos ranged from wagyu-style plant-based beef (which, according to a research associate of the department, retains the fatty taste and texture of the "rich" meat), sustainable food packaging solutions, image-based food monitoring apps, and more.
Deborah Buszard, UBC’s interim president and vice-chancellor, spoke further on the impact that this kind of a facility could have on B.C.’s agri-food industry, noting that this Food and Beverage Innovation Centre is designed to improve access to modern technology, create new partnerships and to make the province more competitive in a rapidly changing global market.
“I am very proud of the work of Land and Food Systems,” she said. “It's recognized amongst the top world universities in the area of food science and technology, and it has attracted outstanding scientists to food science, nutrition and health. UBC is committed to strengthening the faculty as we go forward, and to continue to train the highly qualified graduate students who will help grow the industry in the future.”