Cayuga Genetics Joins Rev: Ithaca Startup Works to Make Good Food Better
In May of 2018, Cayuga Genetics joined Rev: Ithaca Startup Works as our newest member. The company is on a mission to develop plants that are naturally healthier by increasing nutrients and essential vitamins to support both organic and conventional farmers and food manufacturers. The company’s cutting-edge research and innovative plant science principles have the potential to better serve the needs of consumers.
Owen Hoekenga, Ph.D. and founder of Cayuga Genetics started his career at the United States Department of Agriculture’s Robert Holley Center for Agriculture and Health at Cornell University. In 2016, he started his own company focused on identifying the right combination of genetics to create a new kind of superfood. Using conventional plant breeding techniques, computational biology, analytical chemistry, and field work, Cayuga Genetics creates plants with enhanced value, providing plant-based solutions to boost nutritional quality without additives or other ingredients necessary.
Hoekenga is excited and ready to grow his company while giving back to his community with help from Rev. He is passionate about Cayuga Genetics and solving some of the world’s nutrition problems like zinc and iron deficiency through plant breeding.
“We need food systems to work better. I can look at this problem at one level and think 2 billion people have iron and zinc deficiency worldwide and we now know how to solve that. I also know from my own experience when I managed a vegetable garden donation program at USDA in which we donated over 26,000 pounds of fresh produce that there are so many people here in Tompkins County that are hungry. I hope that Cayuga Genetics can help solve these problems,” said Hoekenga.