FVSU and & CSHLRA partner to support Renaissance Park

by Pamela Berry-Johnson

Posted on Jul 23, 2020

Fort Valley State University and the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) are pleased to announce the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to support the development of the Georgia International Food Center Renaissance Park. The partnership will extend FVSU's state-of-the-art Meat Technology Facility to support the development and connect the university's students with opportunities for training, internship and job opportunities.

Under CSHLRA's development plans for Renaissance Park, an anticipated $17 million and 300-plus jobs for Middle Georgians will be generated through the Georgia International Food Center. One of the main new tenants of the rebranded facility, FoodService Partners, opened its newly renovated 108,000-square-feet center, Parham Kitchen, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. FVSU and CSHLRA officials also signed the MOU during the event.

President Paul Jones said as an 1890 land-grant university with a teaching, research and service mission deeply rooted in agriculture, Fort Valley State University is elated to be an educational partner in this public-private economic development initiative.

FVSU's engagement and support of this project specifically:

  • Extends the services of the FVSU's Meat Technology Facility to further the Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority's objectives.
  • Extends the services of FVSU's Cooperative Extension Program by having a presence at the site of the former Central State Hospital and participating in conducting educational programs in safe food production and handling and nutrition for community members.
  • Provides internship and permanent job opportunities for students and graduates of FVSU.

"We're thrilled to see this kind of job-generating project move forward in Middle Georgia and we're honored to be an educational partner to support its ongoing success," Jones said. "We're also pleased that FVSU's students will benefit from being a part of a modern agribusiness model in Georgia that provides real-life experience in research, training and even future job opportunities."

CSHLRA Board member Dr. Joycelynn Nelson echoed those sentiments.

"We are so excited to not only bring educational opportunities to Middle Georgia through this project spearheaded by the CSHLRA, but also create economic development for the State of Georgia and throughout the nation," Nelson said.

FVSU also hopes to ultimately use the new partnership to create a Food Hub in Middle Georgia that better supports small, underrepresented farmers being part of the food production system through resources, evolving technologies and flexibility to adapt to regulations. Food hubs are a business model that provides a physical space where produce or meat products can be brought together in quantities that are useful for institutional and/or wholesale markets.

Photo Cutline (From Left to Right): FVSU Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. T. Ramon Stuart, Justin Bizzarro, executive director with Food Service Partners, LLC. and Quay Fuller, chairman of the board for Central State Hospital Redevelopment Authority.


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