Georgia Centers of Innovation Agribusiness

From small-town startups to Fortune 500 enterprises, the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness accelerates the growth and development of Georgia’s number one industry by providing focused industry expertise, product commercialization assistance and access to ground-breaking research. The Center of Innovation for Agribusiness provides the technical industry expertise, collaborative research and partnerships to help the state's #1 industry connect, compete and grow globally. With focus areas in emerging and novel crops, food business development, and precision agriculture, the Center supports Georgia’s agriculture industry and enables companies to access high-growth opportunities for increased success.
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Verdant Kitchen Makes Georgia Ginger Famous

(The image above is credited to Harpo, Inc.)

Georgia is known for an abundance of crops – peaches, cotton, peanuts, poultry. But alongside these agricultural staples, ginger is making a strong presence due to the success of Verdant Kitchen.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 8.47.02 AMA ginger operation based in Savannah, Verdant Kitchen is experiencing exponential growth in their ginger-based food products thanks to continued support from the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness, the Georgia Grown program, and its listing in this year’s Oprah’s Favorite things.

When Australian native Ross Harding, conceived the idea to start a ginger farm in Georgia, he knew that the Centers of Innovation were the right resource to turn to due to his previous experience with the Herty Foundation. Ross turned to our Center of Innovation for Agribusiness early on to help make connections with industry experts who could help him determine which type of ginger worked best in Georgia’s soil. As the business began to expand into various food products, the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness made the introduction to the Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown program which helped open doors as the business began to scale up.

“We knew we were building a gourmet and wellness brand, and we found that Georgia Grown fit very naturally with us,” said Harding. COI Agribusiness director Bo Warren also helped Ross apply for and attain a USDA Value Added producer grant, which allowed Verdant Kitchen to further establish their operations.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 8.47.49 AMThe historic Savannah farm began as a concept in 2012 and spent its first two years in development. At the end of 2013, Verdant began selling product in local farmer’s markets.

After having great success there, the company grew and is now a full wholesale business – and a big hit with everyone from local Georgians to Oprah Winfrey. In early November, it was announced that Verdant’s Ginger Syrup and Ginger Infused Honey made the list of the celebrity’s annual Favorite Things listing.

“It really has been very exciting and thrilling to be part of something like that,” said Harding. “We suddenly started to see our website light up with traffic, and seeing business multiply by a factor of ten is pretty exciting.”

“We wouldn’t be where we are without the help from the Centers of Innovation. They gave us the ability to generate early sales through markets, programs and events, and have been a resource for connections and knowledge since.”

For more information on the Center of Innovation for Agribusiness and how they help Georgia operations connect, compete and grow click here.

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