AgBioworks, an initiative of Memphis Bioworks Foundation and BioDimensions, is dedicated to developing new agricultural technologies for the sustainable use of agricultural and forestry products to supply abundant food, biofuels and biobased products that are increasing in global importance and which will foster a strong bioeconomy in the Mississippi Delta.
The development of strategies to increase biodiversity, opportunities for farmers and urban workers and increase green jobs has created new opportunities to impact workforce development and the economy in Memphis and the Mid-South.
Memphis Bioworks Foundation is a non-profit organization leading the collaboration between public, private, academic and government entities to accelerate the growth of the biosciences in the Memphis region. By leveraging the region’s competitive strengths, the Foundation continues to expand the infrastructure, educational opportunities and entrepreneurship needed to grow and impact the bioscience industries.
BioDimensions is a consulting firm dedicated to helping create successful strategies to capitalize on the emerging bioeconomy. Together the two organizations are developing “Regional Strategy for Biobased Products in the Mississippi Delta” for a 98-county region in Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. This strategy will help align public and private funding, while creating opportunities for employers and employees along the supply chain—from the farm to the factory—while improving the environment and increasing green jobs. This regional strategy outlines the Mid-South’s common regional strengths: diverse agricultural production, superior logistics, and transitional manu-facturing to benefit the region and its hub—Memphis and Shelby County. Battelle, an international science-based consulting group which has successfully launched bioeconomy strategies in Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and other locations, is developing the regional strategy.
The plan will be completed this year, but already there is work underway toward its implementation, including demonstrations of numerous alternative crops at Agricenter International for making novel health products, biomaterials or biofuels; the development of a network of progressive farmers throughout West Tennessee that are partnering to grow alternative crops; the development of several projects in which green products will be manufactured in the Memphis/Shelby County region; and the engagement of inbound investment of capital and technology.
BioDimensions has also spearheaded a local green jobs regional strategic plan to assess the existing green business sector as well as future green jobs. A wide range of stakeholders has given input into this project which examines green incentives, workforce development in green industries and future community benefits as a result of increased employment and healthier conditions.