The Grow-NY Region

The Grow-NY region is the nation’s best climate for startups to take root and turn into something big

A Call for Innovation: New York’s Agrifood System

New York state is poised to lead the country in agrifood innovation and the time is ripe for new agtech solutions and leading-edge food and beverage applications to take root and grow within the state’s booming food and ag economy. Grow-NY and the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech collaborated to research and publish, “A Call for Agrifood Innovation in New York State,” the state’s first-ever report on innovation opportunities in its agrifood ecosystem.

New York is fertile ground for big ideas.

Through its R&D, education, and business resources, the Grow-NY region is the nation’s best climate for startups to take root and turn into something big. The region offers an abundance of freshwater lakes, boundless farmland, inexhaustible groups of hardworking people, and cutting-edge research and development that is evolving the industry.

New York state is an unmistakable world leader for its progressive business models and long-history of business growth. State leaders recognize the growing impact of food and ag startups in the region and through Grow-NY are seizing the opportunity to further fuel the state’s startup ecosystem. The Grow-NY region presents the perfect growing conditions for startups who are aiming to grow big.

The counties in the Grow-NY region are:

  • Central NY (Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego counties)
  • Finger Lakes (Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, and Yates counties)
  • Southern Tier (and Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, and Tompkins counties)

The Grow-NY region is centrally located within 500 miles of a market of over 100 million consumers.

 Food & Ag Startup Resources

Entrepreneurship Resources

The Grow-NY Region: leaders from production through distribution


Cheribundi’s antioxidant-rich cherry juice is loyally consumed by elite athletes. Red Jacket Orchards grows over 500 acres of tree fruit and its signature cold pressed juices are featured on supermarket shelves across the United States. These farms and food processors rose to the top by relying on precision ag innovations and R&D partnerships with world-leading universities in the region.

With its abundance of natural resources and innovative growing and production methods, New York state ranks among the top five states for production in a wide array of agriculture categories including:


cottage cheese
sour cream


snap peas
maple syrup


dairy cows
milk production
total Italian cheese



corn silage
total cheese


tart cherries
green peas

(according to 2017 rankings from the New York Farm Bureau)

In addition, New York state was ranked second in food processing for 2018 by the USDA Economic Research Service.

Processing and Packaging

Starting as a small wine producer in upstate New York, Constellation Brands has grown to be a Fortune 500 company with global operations and the #1 total beverage alcohol company in the United States. LiDestri, a premier private label manufacturer of national food and drink brands supplies over 40 million cases of product each year.

Leveraging the highest standards for safety and sustainability, companies like Constellation Brands and LiDestri have pushed the envelope and established new best practices for processing and packaging.

New York state is also advancing industrial hemp research and innovation by investing over $20 million in grant funding for researchers and processors.

A Hub of Food and AgTech Resources and Innovation

The region includes a wealth of resources and partners for food and ag companies, including:

Incubators and Accelerator Programs:

  • Binghamton University’s Start-Up Suite, Binghamton
  • IncubatorWorks, Corning
  • Koffman Southern Tier Incubator, Binghamton
  • McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, Ithaca
  • NextCorps, Rochester
  • Praxis Center Center for Venture Development, Ithaca
  • Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, Ithaca
  • Southern Tier Clean Energy Incubator
  • Southern Tier Startup Alliance
  • The Cornell Food and Agriculture Technology Park, Geneva
  • The Tech Garden, Syracuse

Leading research universities:
Tap into the R&D talent at the #3 food and ag school in the world — Cornell University — or partner with some of the region’s other top research institutions including but not limited to:

  • Binghamton University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rochester
  • SUNY Morrisville
  • SUNY Oswego

In 2018, The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University dedicated $237 million to R&D.

The NYS Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell AgriTech

The Center of Excellence pulls together hundreds of partners to catalyze business development in the agriculture and food industries. It serves as a hub connecting New York state businesses and entrepreneurs with the services they need to grow.

Food and Ag Research Reports 

View the latest research on the food and ag industry in Upstate New York.  

View Research Briefs