Field of study: Food Science and Technology - Food Engineering
Fun fact: I love potatoes!
Read more about Vipul's startup, Farther Farms: http://www.fartherfarms.com
Why did you choose the CALS MPS degree program?
I liked how the MPS program is one-year, course-based, flexible, and didn't require me to do extensive research. The MPS program allowed me to make my own curriculum and choose courses from any school at Cornell, giving me the flexibility to explore the path of entrepreneurship with my startup, Farther Farms.
Your passion is two-fold, both reducing food waste and extending the shelf life of fresh vegetables. Why is this important to you?
I belong to a family of third generation potato growers in India. Being associated with the food and agricultural industry in a developing nation, I realized there are various factors contributing to the biggest problem: produce going to waste. During the seasons of over production, the markets crash and there is no infrastructure to store produce and allow farmers to market them during the off season. Therefore, the person who suffers the most in the entire supply chain is the farmer. The idea of doing this startup was to provide a platform for the farmer community in these small villages in India.
What role did the MPS degree program play in your entrepreneurial pursuits?
The MPS program allowed me to explore all the resources Cornell has to offer, even beyond my field area. The ability to be flexible in deciding my curriculum around all the schools on the campus was very helpful. And finally the connections and the networks I was able to use as an MPS student at Cornell played a huge role in defining the future of my work. One of the most important connections that came to me from the interdisciplinary curriculum that MPS program has to offer was the connection with my co-founder Mike Annunziata from the Johnson School at Cornell.
What Cornell resources have been most helpful?
The Department of Food Science and its faculty have been a real help in setting the foundation for my project. Especially Dr. Rizvi, who initiated the idea of using technology to solve food waste. He has been very supportive and helpful at every step of the program, both inside and outside the walls of the Food Science building. In addition to the Department of Food Science, the Hotel School, the Johnson School of Business, and the eLab program have been very supportive and resourceful. The business plan competition organized by these schools has been the icing on the cake.
What is your impression of the Food Science facility?
One sentence – the Department of Food Science at Cornell is the best in the world and it’s an honor to be associated with the program and the department.
What advice would you give entrepreneurs who are considering the program?
Cornell is the best place to be, it gives you the confidence to think big and fearlessly. You can grow your entrepreneurial endeavors and tap into the endless resources at Cornell.
As an international student hailing from India, what advice would you give an international student considering the program?
Come prepared and focused to make the most of what you can from Cornell.
What excites you most about the future of your startup, Farther Farms?
We are doing something that can change the lives of a lot of people.
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