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Ithaca firm wins funding, Illinois firm wins grand prize in latest Grow-NY agribusiness competition

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An Ithaca firm is among the companies that captured prize money in this year’s Grow-NY food innovation and agriculture technology business competition.

Ascribe Bioscience from Ithaca secured one of the $500,000 prizes. The company uses naturally occurring signaling molecules from the soil microbiome to produce a novel class of broad-spectrum, non-toxic biopesticides that prime plants’ immune systems to enhance resistance to pathogens and increase crop yields.

Chicago, Illinois–based Every Body Eat won the $1 million grand prize. The business makes, markets, and sells food that is free from corn, sugar, and the most common 14 allergens, “so that people can enjoy it, together, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences,” the office of Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a Nov. 17 news release announcing the winner.

Every Body Eat and Ascribe Bioscience were among the eight finalists to take home prize money during the Grow-NY Food and Ag Summit’s awards ceremony held Nov. 16-17 at the Oncenter in downtown Syracuse.

Grow-NY is focused on the food, beverage, and agriculture-innovation cluster in Central New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier.

The winning teams must commit to operating in the Central New York, Finger Lakes, or Southern Tier regions for at least one year, while providing Grow-NY with a small equity-investment stake in each entity. Funding for the competition, which is administered by Cornell University’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, is provided through the state’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative.