Taste of Immokalee and UF team to ignite awareness and advance careers

Posted 5/16/22

Taste of Immokalee announces a new collaboration with the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences...

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Taste of Immokalee and UF team to ignite awareness and advance careers

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IMMOKALEE — Taste of Immokalee announces a new collaboration with the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS), Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) department, called Taste X UF Experimental Program. This partnership is a first of its kind, enabling high school and college students to collaborate and jointly learn, ideate, create, and bring new products to market under the guidance of professors and business mentors.

Both partners bring tremendous benefits to the students that will participate in this highly selective program:

• Taste of Immokalee provides the framework that teaches young entrepreneurs how to successfully create and operate a business using local resources to create new products. The Taste of Immokalee business – created and operated by high school students – currently sells its brand of salsa and sauce products online and in select grocery stores, including over 200 Publix stores in the State of Florida.

• CALS provides students with awareness of career opportunities in food sciences and experiences to help them build successful career paths in an industry where innovative talent is needed worldwide. UF’s FSHN program is one of the world’s largest combined academic programs where food science, nutritional sciences, and dietetics are all studied within one department.

“We are so excited about this new partnership and the opportunities it will bring to our local high school students,” said Marie Capita, Executive Director of Taste of Immokalee. “Our goal is to equip youth with the business skills needed in today’s workforce, for the ultimate purpose of breaking the cycle of poverty within our community. The Taste X UF Experimental Program opens new opportunities for our students to flourish in the food sciences industry.”

“This is an amazing partnership for us,” said Susan Percival, Professor & Chair, Food Science & Human Nutrition. “The Program offers a unique opportunity for UF undergraduate students and Taste of Immokalee high school students to interact, share their respective expertise, and develop new skills and knowledge in a real-world experience. It is very exciting!“

Applications are now open for the approximately 20 high school students from Collier County who will be selected to participate. Beginning in September, the Collier County cohort will join UF students in bi-weekly, virtual workshops as well as occasional on-site meetings at both Collier County and Gainesville locations.

To learn more about the exciting new initiative, Taste X UF Experimental Program, or to request an application, contact Executive Director Marie Capita at marie@tasteofimmokalee.com or 239-297-6814.

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