We spent the winter making things more accurate, faster, and cheaper, so we could do 5 times the number of samples at 33% of the per-sample cost on 7 types of produce (lettuce, kale, spinach, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and carrots) from all across the continental US.
We’re working with Francis (optical engineer) and Jon (electrical engineer), as well as several commercial manufacturers of spectroscopy components to build a diverse set of benchtop specs with a very broad range (350nm – 2100nm). This will dramatically improve our ability to build relationships between lab data and spectral data.
The Data Partners program is is about the start – emails will be sent in the next day or two. We hope to get 40 -50 individuals collecting samples from grocery stores, farmers markets, and farms from across the US – this group will submit another ~ 2500 – 3500 samples!
The Farm Partners program is closed at around 35 participants. These are farms submitting weekly management data, along with a combined ~1000 samples, so we can get better granularity to connect farm practice to food quality.
We’ve added some staff in the lab, including new interns from Michigan State University, past interns who are now full timers, a lab manager, and someone to manage the production of Bionutrient Meters as well as future devices.
… well, probably not, this is science after all :). But hopefully our preparation, the unbelievable engagement from the BFA community and new partners, the huge support and fundraising efforts of the BFA staff, and a little luck will make this a year full of productive learning. Together we can move food nutrition and its root causes to a more central place in the public consciousness.