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Bronx Food Tech in the Future

Food Tech Conference: John Edwards, MCNY (R standing), Barbara Turk, Mayor’s Office, Larry Scott Blackman, FreshDirect, Jessica Grace Torres, City Harvest, Julian Rodriguez, Access Bazaar
(photo: Gary Axelbank)

by Gary Axelbank and Deanna Garcia

January 28, 2019

On Friday morning Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) hosted another conference in the Borough President’s Bronx Food Tech series to talk about how food and technology play an important role in people’s every day lives and provide visioning for the future. Every seat in the college’s second floor conference center on their 149th Street campus was filled.

Expert panels such as “Food Tech and the Bronx,” “How Bronxites Connect to Food (via Tech)” and “The Future of Food” examined how new technologies in the preparing and delivery of food impact the Bronx.

Barbara Turk, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy (photo: Gary Axelbank)

Before moderating the first panel discussion, Barbara Turk, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy told thisistheBronX that she was looking forward to the presentations. “There are lots of job opportunities in food,” Turk said, “and we need to look at how technology can help us get more food to more people inexpensively and fresher.”

Turk explained that though technology is already integrated in food supplies it still can be more effective. “There are all kinds of opportunities for businesses to coordinate better through technology as well as opportunities for reducing costs,” she said.

Jose Salcedo, the founder of Traiilo, a technology company that gives customers one-hour deliveries from Latino supermarkets and restaurants, believes the Bronx’ #not62 health issues can be partially addressed with food tech. Also, he wants to facilitate payments for groceries. “We’re addressing the issue of processing digital EBT, so customers can order groceries from home and have them delivered and paid for.”

(photo: Gary Axelbank)

Another attraction of the Food Tech conference was for developers. Ellen Israel, Licensed Real Estate Broker for JRT Realty Group, is looking for new tenants for the Union Crossing building. “This happened to be serendipitous as we are already taking to some caterers and we’re looking for other tenants who would work well with caterers, food distributors, commissaries and the like,” she said.

There’s also an important aspect of the food tech dialogue for general Bronx commerce according to Lisa Sorino, president of Bronx Chamber of Commerce. “It’s all about industry and businesses for our borough and how we can all benefit.”

MCNY hosts many community-oriented events like the Food Tech Conference and Bronx campus director John Edwards mentioned that the it’s part of the college’s mission. “We don’t want to be just a college planted in the Bronx,” he said. “We want to connect it with the Bronx in ways that are meaningful.”

Before moderating the first panel discussion, Barbara Turk, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, told thisistheBronX that she was looking forward to the presentations. “There are lots of job opportunities in food,” Turk said. “and we need to look at how technology can help us get more food to more people inexpensively and fresher.”

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