Virginia Secretary of Agriculture

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr to Lead Keynote at CEA Summit East

DANVILLE, VA (SEPTEMBER 26, 2022) Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr will lead the CEA Summit East Day Two Keynote, “Reorienting Our Fresh Produce Supply Chain: Behind Virginia’s Push to Become A National Indoor Farming Industry Leader,” on Wednesday, October 26, 2022 at 9 am.  Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center — a joint project of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech, and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) – have partnered to co-host the new event from October 25-26, 2022 at the IALR Institute Conference Center in Danville, VA.

Secretary Lohr joins the CEA Summit East headliner keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with AeroFarms CTO Roger Buelow on Tuesday, October 25.

During his keynote, Secretary Lohr will share insights into Virginia’s vision for the future of fresh produce and how he and his team are working with industry partners to achieve it.

“Rising transportation costs and droughts in the western United States will mean East Coast states like Virginia must reorient our supply chain for fresh produce to more local suppliers,” said Lohr during the recent  Grand Opening  of AeroFarms Danville,  the world’s largest aeroponic smart farm.

“While painful, this situation also creates an important opportunity for the Commonwealth to become a national leader in the fast-growing indoor farming industry. Continued success in recruiting and supporting the growth of these companies can bring economic opportunity to all corners of the Commonwealth, while also supplying fresh, safe, and sustainable food to our citizens and neighbors,” he added.

Matthew Lohr was raised on a Virginia century family farm in the Shenandoah Valley. As a fifth-generation farmer, he has spent his entire life working for the betterment of the agricultural industry and rural America.

He developed his passion for public service and agricultural policy while serving as both a state and national FFA officer before graduating from Virginia Tech with a B.S. degree in Agricultural Education. He has more than 30 years of experience as a professional leader and communicator.

Over the past two years, he has served as the Chief of the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, an agency with more than 10,000 employees across 3,000 field offices and an operating budget of over $4.5 billion.

“We are honored to have Secretary Lohr join us for the inaugural edition of the CEA Summit East,” says Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and Associate Director of the CEA Innovation Center.  “Virginia is deeply committed to  promoting and advancing the CEA sector and the work we’re doing offers ideas, examples and  exciting growth opportunities that extend far beyond our state borders. This promises to be an inspiring session for all our attendees.”

The new CEA Summit East is custom-tailored for new and well-seasoned CEA industry members from throughout the Eastern US, including indoor and greenhouse growers, facility owners and operators, educators, government officials, real estate developers, architects, construction specialists, sales and marketing teams and others.

During the one and one-half day event, industry members will have the opportunity to attend the conference featuring CEA thought leaders, researchers and experts leading keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions; explore tabletop exhibits presenting the latest CEA innovations and services; and enjoy a host of networking opportunities ranging from meals and coffee breaks to an evening social event.

Registration is now open for the event and attendees can save with discounted Early Bird rates when they register before October 7, 2022.  Learn more at www.ceasummit.com

Roger Buelow CTO

AeroFarms CTO Roger Buelow To Kick Off CEA Summit East With Opening Morning Keynote Address

DANVILLE, VA (SEPTEMBER 19, 2022) AeroFarms Chief Technology Officer Roger Buelow will lead the opening morning keynote address for the inaugural edition of the CEA Summit East, October 25-26, 2022.  Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center– a joint project of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech, and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) – have partnered to co-host the new event at the IALR Institute Conference Center in Danville, VA.

This announcement follows on the heels of the grand opening of AeroFarms Danville, the world’s largest aeroponic smart farm, capable of growing more than 3 million pounds of fresh leafy greens annually to meet increased consumer demand.

During his address on Tuesday morning, October 25, 2022 at 8:45 am, Buelow will share more about the new Danville farm and how it utilizes AeroFarms proprietary indoor vertical farming technology to grow more plants at the highest productivity per square foot with the least amount of natural resources – continuing AeroFarms legacy of continuous improvement and innovation.  In addition to the environmental benefits, Buelow will discuss benefits the farm brings to the Southern Virginia region ranging from job creation and year-round access to safe, fresh greens to hands-free farming with end-to-end automation from seeding to growing to harvest to packing.

In addition, he will also share updates on some of the exciting plant research and workforce development projects he and his team are working on with Virginia Tech, the IALR and the CEA Innovation Center.

As CTO, Roger Buelow leads the innovation and capabilities team for AeroFarms and works closely with R&D and Business Development. He is an LED innovator and engineering technologist with over 20 years of experience in government and the private sector. Roger previously served as CTO of Energy Focus (a publicly traded company) for ten years leading their R&D, Engineering, and Operations to refit the U.S. Navy with LEDs, develop lights that leverage blue light to help regulate sleep cycles, and to set the world’s record for most efficient solar cell.

Roger worked with AeroFarms in 2009 to help with lamp and fixture design, and he brings his extensive network and industry expertise with LEDs. He has been the principal investigator on over a dozen federally funded research contracts spanning military and civilian technologies and holds over 20 patents covering a wide array of technologies. Roger has brought over 50 products from concept, through R&D, into engineering, and then onto the open market. Roger has a B.S. in Mathematics and an M.S. in Systems and Control Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.

Learn more about this exciting keynote session and the full conference program here.

“Roger Buelow’s extensive experience and keen industry insights, coupled with the AeroFarms Danville-Pittsylvania story, come together to create the perfect program to kick off the new CEA Summit,” says Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and Associate Director of the CEA Innovation Center. “We are thrilled to have Roger join the keynote stage and know our audience will be eager to hear from him.”

The new CEA Summit East is custom-tailored for new and well-seasoned CEA industry members from throughout the Eastern US, including indoor and greenhouse growers, facility owners and operators, educators, government officials, real estate developers, architects, construction specialists, sales and marketing teams and others.

During the one and one-half day event, industry members will have the opportunity to attend the conference featuring CEA thought leaders, researchers and experts leading keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions; explore tabletop exhibits presenting the latest CEA innovations and services; and enjoy a host of networking opportunities ranging from meals and coffee breaks to an evening social event.

Registration is now open for the event and attendees can save with discounted Early Bird rates when they register before October 7, 2022.  Learn more at www.ceasummit.com

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN:                 Tuesday, October 25 – Wednesday, October 26, 2022
WHERE:              
IALR Institute Conference Center, 150 Slayton Ave, Danville, VA 24540
INFO:                    For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.ceasummit.com 

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for indoor | vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information – www.indoor.ag | 404.991.5186

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF PLANT AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AT VIRGINIA TECH
The School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech trains the next generation of professionals in the fields of plant breeding and genetics, agronomic and horticultural crop production, plant protection, soil and water systems management, agricultural technologies, environmental restoration and agro-environmental stewardship.  It conducts research to improve agricultural productivity, reduce negative impacts on the environment and improve soil and water health.  Through extension programs, it provides science-based information to stakeholders to help them feed the world while protecting the environment.  More information —www.spes.vt.edu  

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA SEAFOOD AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER AT VIRGINIA TECH
The Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech works to support the future of the historic seafood industry — in Virginia and beyond. Its extension specialists work with industry and research partners to identify and respond to emerging needs and provide technical guidance to stakeholders in every level of the seafood supply chain. Through technical assistance, training, process validation, value-added product development, and more, it helps stakeholders ensure product quality, safety, and viability. More information — www.arec.vaes.vt.edu

ABOUT IALR
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) serves as a regional catalyst for economic transformation. Core focus areas include research that provides a clear path to commercialization, advanced learning opportunities where education meets experience, training and rapid-launch space for advanced manufacturers, and economic development through conferencing and a partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. It is located in scenic and historic Danville-Pittsylvania County on the VA/NC state line, within a short drive of Roanoke, Greensboro and Raleigh.  More information –  www.ialr.org 

ABOUT AEROFARMS
Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company two years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions in Food, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides ever versus traditional field farming. AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow all year round, using vertical farming for elevated flavor.™ Its products can be found at major selling partners like Ahold Delhaize, Amazon Fresh, Baldor Specialty Food, Compass Group, Harris Teeter, Marcus BP, Momofuku Noodle Bars, ShopRite, The Fresh Market, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. In addition, through its proprietary growing technology platform, AeroFarms has grown over 550 varieties of plants and has developed multi-year strategic partnerships ranging from government to major Fortune 500 companies to help uniquely solve agriculture supply chain needs. More information – www.aerofarms.com

 

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CEA Summit East

Indoor Ag-Con, CEA Innovation Center Partner To Launch CEA Summit East

NEW CEA TRADE EVENT TO BRING INDUSTRY, ACADEMIA TOGETHER
OCTOBER 25-26, 2022 IN DANVILLE, VA

DANVILLE, VA (July 28,2022)Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Innovation Center — a joint project of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) — have partnered to launch the CEA Summit East, October 25-26, 2022. Designed to bring the CEA industry and academia together to share research, business strategies and build partnerships to drive future growth for the sector and its stakeholders, the event will debut at the IALR Conference Center in Danville, VA.

During the one and one-half day event, industry members will have the opportunity to attend the conference featuring CEA thought leaders, researchers and experts leading keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions; explore tabletop exhibits presenting the latest CEA innovations and services; and enjoy a host of networking opportunities ranging from meals and coffee breaks to an evening social event.

THE TEAM
The event hosts are especially qualified to bring the CEA industry and academia together for an event focused on business, educational and networking growth opportunities.

 

Virginia Tech and IALR

 

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). Housed primarily within a modern indoor agricultural complex on the campus of IALR in Danville, the center features various hydroponic and soilless systems/production systems and facilities, including indoor growth rooms, greenhouses, growth chambers and vertical growing racks.  The center’s scientists and technology teams are currently working closely with the industry’s top growers and suppliers on a number of key projects. Learn more at www.ialr.org/cea.

Indoor Ag-Con

The Indoor Ag-Con team of seasoned event professionals produces the premier trade show & conference for indoor |vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture.  Experiencing record year-on-year growth, its events touch all sectors of the business — covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops – and attract decision-making growers, investors, real estate developers, agtech leaders, produce buyers, academics, policymakers, industry suppliers and advocates from across the US and 20+ other countries.

THE AUDIENCE
The CEA Summit East is custom-tailored for new and well-seasoned CEA industry members from throughout the Eastern US, including indoor and greenhouse growers, facility owners and operators, educators, government officials, real estate developers, architects, construction specialists, sales and marketing teams and others.

The event will include tabletop displays from manufacturers and suppliers of AI and automation, control systems, sensors, equipment/accessories, greenhouse structures/supplies, lighting, irrigation, HVAC and more.

THE VENUE
Part of the IALR campus, the Institute Conference Center is a full service, state-of-the-art meeting facility – just steps away from Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center’s modern indoor agricultural complex.   What’s more, the Danville, VA venue is easily accessible — located in south-central Virginia along the North Carolina border, within a day’s drive of two-thirds of the nation’s population.

“From the incredible work researchers are doing at its Innovation Center to its state-of-the-art meeting venue, IALR is such a rich resource for the CEA industry,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “We’re excited to bring our event experience and industry resources together with the expertise of IALR and Virginia Tech to create a showplace of innovation and educational opportunities for growers and other CEA industry members throughout the Eastern US.”

“This partnership between IALR and Virginia Tech has brought together diverse professionals from industry and academia including many people not traditionally working directly in controlled environment agriculture,” states Dr. Michael Evans, Director of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech.

“This conference offers an exciting opportunity to bring people together for exchanging new and diverse ideas to help move the industry forward and into exciting directions,” says Dr. Kaylee South, Assistant Professor in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech.

“By developing strategic partnerships with both industry and academia, the goal of the Innovation Center is to conduct research and educational programming to develop, promote and advance the controlled environment agriculture sector,” adds Dr. Scott Lowman, Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center.  “The new partnership with Indoor Ag-Con perfectly aligns with our goal and promises to deliver a top-notch event experience for CEA industry stakeholders.”

For more information on the CEA Summit East, including conference programming, exhibit/sponsorship opportunities and to register, visit www.ceasummit.com.

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for indoor | vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information – www.indoor.ag | 404.991.5186

ABOUT THE SCHOOL OF PLANT AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES AT VIRGINIA TECH
The School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech trains the next generation of professionals in the fields of plant breeding and genetics, agronomic and horticultural crop production, plant protection, soil and water systems management, agricultural technologies, environmental restoration and agro-environmental stewardship.  It conducts research to improve agricultural productivity, reduce negative impacts on the environment and improve soil and water health.  Through extension programs, it provides science-based information to stakeholders to help them feed the world while protecting the environment.  More information — https://spes.vt.edu/

ABOUT IALR
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) serves as a regional catalyst for economic transformation. Core focus areas include research that provides a clear path to commercialization, advanced learning opportunities where education meets experience, training and rapid-launch space for advanced manufacturers, and economic development through conferencing and a partnership with the Southern Virginia Regional Alliance. It is located in scenic and historic Danville-Pittsylvania County on the VA/NC state line, within a short drive of Roanoke, Greensboro and Raleigh.  More information –  www.ialr.org | 413.766.6700

 

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UA-CEAC NCERA Meeting

2022 NCERA-101 Annual | International Meeting

Indoor Ag-Con Marketing Partner, the  University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center , is pleased to invite you to attend the 2022 International Meeting of the NCERA-101 Committee on Controlled Environment Technology & Use. The conference is being held at the Marriott University Park Hotel located on The University of Arizona main campus, Tucson, Arizona. Tucson is home to The University of Arizona and is a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, making it the first city in the United States of America to be honored with this designation.

Conference Registration 

Click HERE to register for the event. If you are coming with a spouse/partner (non-delegate) you may choose to include them in our Gala Dinner & Technical Tour day activities. Simply purchase Guest Gala Dinner and Technical Tour tickets for them to join these activities. Conference registration is separate from the hotel booking. Registration ends by 5 PM (MT) on August 22nd, 2022. 

Accommodations 

Meeting attendees are welcome to stay at Marriott University Park Hotel. If you choose to do so, please book your room by August 22nd, 2022 to take advantage of a discounted conference rate of $139 per night. The rooms are available on a first-come first-served basis, so we encourage attendees to make their reservations as soon as possible. Register for hotel rooms HERE 

Please see the full meeting program HERE 

The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture Announces New Water Quality and Management Service

COE Erick Bandala
Dr. Erick Bandala to head new water quality and management service for Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture

The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture, a U.S. based company that supports the growth of the vertical and indoor farming industry, announced a new water quality and management service headed by Dr. Erick Bandala, an environmental scientist.

The new service focuses on the sustainable use of water for indoor vertical farms, greenhouses, and urban farms as well as water safety and quality. Services include water quality testing and assessment, contaminant identification and source assessment, wastewater treatment and reuse, and water treatment system identification and evaluation. Services also include advanced bacterial testing and analytics, as well as the detection of chemicals such as PFAS.

More info is available at https://indooragcenter.org/water-quality-management

Eric W. Stein, Ph.D., Founder| Executive Director, Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture

Eric W. Stein, Ph.D., founder and Executive Director of the Center of Excellence notes, “Water is the lifeblood of all farms. Having a quality water supply that is effectively managed is essential to running a sustainable, efficient, and safe indoor farm. The Center is proud to offer this service to the industry under the direction of Dr. Bandala.”

Dr. Bandala observes, “Indoor farms are well-known for saving significant amounts of water while growing plants compared to conventional farms. However, much less is known about how water use may affect indoor farm operations or the quality of the product. I am excited to join the Center to help indoor growers solve water quality-related problems, improve water efficiency and to reduce their overall use of water for operations.”

About The Center
The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture provides insights about the economics of indoor farming based on a careful analysis of industry data and from thought leaders in industry and academia. As the first U.S.-based Center of Excellence dedicated to indoor farming, it promotes best practices, bench-marking, new knowledge and research. Its annual Best in Class Indoor Farming Awards™ recognize top indoor growers and manufacturers. The Center is located in the Philadelphia metro region.

About Erick R. Bandala, Ph.D.
Dr. Bandala holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering, an MSc in Organic Chemistry and BEng in Chemical Engineering. Dr. Bandala is author or co-author of nearly one hundred peer-reviewed papers in international journals, 5 books, 27 book chapters and 65 works published in proceedings of international conferences.

Record Attendance Growth, New Business Connections Headline 2022 Edition of Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas

82% Increase Over 2021 Representing Attendees From 48 States/Territories, 20+ Countries, Growing Number of C-Suite Execs

(March 4, 2022) –  Just four months after its covid-delayed October 2021 edition in Orlando, the Indoor Ag-Con trade show & conference welcomed the indoor|vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry back for its February 28-March 1, 2022 run at Caesar Forum Las Vegas.  And what a welcome it was.  Marking an 82 percent increase over the Orlando attendance figure, 800 + growers, suppliers, start-ups and other industry members attended from 48 states/territories and more than 20 countries, including a high number of c-suite executives. Bolstering the figure further, nearly 300 attendees from The National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, co-located at Caesars Forum, also visited the show, taking the total attendance figure over 1100.

The Indoor Ag-Con Expo Floor also grew by 60 percent – from 50 booths in 2021 to 80 in 2022 – filled with the latest innovations in irrigation, control systems, lighting, substrates and more. Rounding out the show statistics, the 2022 edition’s educational conference brought together 77 speakers participating in 21 panel discussions and 3 CEO keynote sessions.

“From our sold-out show floor and record-breaking attendance to reports of game-changing connections and new relationships forged, we’ve been humbled by the positive feedback we’re received for our 2022 show from exhibitors and attendees alike,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.  “Our show theme, ‘growing your business,’ truly came to life here in Las Vegas this week. The CEA industry is growing quickly and we are proud to provide the platform for the education, networking and innovations showplace needed to take it to the next level.”

“We are also excited about the untapped networking potential that exists between Indoor Ag-Con and The NGA Show,” adds Nancy Hallberg, owner | partner, Indoor Ag-Con.  “This first co-location was exploratory and gave both show teams the opportunity to start identifying ways we can really bring grocers and growers together. We think the 2 shows offer untapped business growth opportunities for our respective audiences and look forward to delivering on that when we come together again in 2023.”

Among the many highlights of the show included:

Indoor Ag-Con Signify 2022 PartyIndoor Ag-Con | Signify VIP Welcome Party
Signify teamed up with Indoor Ag-Con to tee-up the 2022 edition with a VIP Welcome Party on Sunday evening, February 27 at Topgolf Las Vegas.  Indoor Ag-Con speakers and other industry VIPs came together for an incredible evening of golf, networking, cocktails, food, music and fun with industry friends – compliments of Signify.

CEO Keynote SessionsIndoor Ag-Con BrightFarms 2022
Attendees had the chance to hear from executives from the industry’s top operators.  Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms and Steven Bradley, Vice President of Cox CleanTech, Cox Enterprises, kicked off the conference on Monday morning, February 28.  Later that day Jonathan Webb, CEO, AppHarvest took the stage.  On day two, Matt Ryan, CEO, Soli Organic (formerly Shenandoah Growers) started the day with the morning keynote address.

Indoor Ag-Con Workforce Development 2022Educational Tracks & Expo Floor Theater Panel Discussions
The 2022 edition featured 3 educational tracks – Grower, Business & Technology – that brought industry experts together covering a  wide range of topics from lighting specs and substrates to energy optimization, water technology, fertilizer, workforce development, robotics, automation investing/finance and sensor technology.  In addition, the Expo Floor Theater offered up additional content with sessions on everything from seeds and produce branding to grocer/grower relationship development, why vertical farms succeed and more.

Sold Out Expo Floor
Expanding to 80 booths, this year’s Expo Floor was home to some of the biggest names in CEA as well as up-and-coming suppliers.  From lighting and grow systems to substrates and irrigation, growers were able to see the newest innovations all under one roof.

Networking Opportunities
Daily lunches and an afternoon cocktail reception on the expo floor expanded the show’s networking opportunities.

Looking ahead, Indoor Ag-Con will return to Caesars Forum February 27-28, 2023 and will once again co-locate with The National Grocers Association Show.  

About Indoor Ag-Con
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for indoor | vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture,  the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information is at https://indoor.ag.

Matt Ryan Soli Organic Indoor Ag-Con 2022 Keynote

Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan Joins Keynote Line-Up For Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas 2022

Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan will lead the day two opening morning keynote address for the 9th annual edition of Indoor Ag-Con, Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, 2022, at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, NV. Themed “Growing Your Business,” the premier trade show and conference for indoor|vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture will give attendees the opportunity to explore new resources on the expo floor and hear from Ryan, other CEO headliners, thought leaders and industry experts from today’s cutting-edge farms and CEA companies.

Soli Organic, formerly known as Shenandoah Growers, Inc., is the nation’s only soil-based, controlled environment agriculture company delivering 100% USDA certified organic produce to more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide . The new name — Soli Organic — which is derived from the Latin word for soil, reflects the pivotal role of soil in enabling the company’s mission to make low-cost, high-quality, organic produce grown nearby available to everyone.

During his keynote presentation on March 1, 2022, 8 – 8:50 AM, Matt Ryan will share more about his company’s plans to change the world of organic produce by “Bringing Nature Indoors” ™ with its soil-based, certified organic biofarms.

With 7 growing facilities, 12 operating facilities, 20,000 retail locations served and well over a hundred million units of fresh herbs and greens annually, the company is just getting started.  The recently announced $120 million financing arrangement with leading real estate development firm Decennial Group is a key component of the Company’s strategy to further expand production capacity to meet growing demand.

As CEO, Matt’s focus is on strengthening the company’s competitive advantages and achieving scaled topline growth. Prior to his role at Soli Organic, Matt served as both the chief marketing officer and the chief strategy officer at Starbucks where he developed and executed strategy, managed the food and beverage portfolio, instituted a data analytics function, oversaw the development of the digital experience, and led all other marketing, product, brand, and consumer functions. As the head of brand management for The Walt Disney Company, he oversaw the company’s brand management, brand development, franchise management, customer data, and CRM.

Ryan currently sits on the Board of Directors for Kaiser Permanente. He received a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude.

Learn more about Matt Ryan and his Indoor Ag-Con keynote session here.

“We are thrilled to have Matt join us in Las Vegas,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con LLC .  “From his proven leadership roles with Starbucks and Walt Disney to his exciting vision for Soli Organic, Matt brings a unique perspective to our keynote stage.”

ROBUST 2022 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT
Matt Ryan joins the Indoor Ag-Con 2022  CEO headliner keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms and Steven Bradley, VP, Cox Cleantech, Cox Enterprises; and a day one mid-morning session from Jonathan Webb, CEO | Founder, AppHarvest.    The 2022 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Grower, Business & Technology – as well as panel sessions on the expo floor theater.

Attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore in February, including:

CO-LOCATION WITH NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCATION SHOW
New for 2022, Indoor Ag-Con will co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading trade show and conference for independent grocers, offering even more networking and business opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike.  The NGA Show and Indoor Ag-Con visitors will have access to all exhibits, and discounts will be available for cross-over educational event attendance.  Look for more details coming soon.

EXPANDED EXHIBIT FLOOR
2022 will also welcome the largest expo floor yet for Indoor Ag-Con.  From irrigation and LED lighting to environmental control systems, substrates, greenhouse equipment, energy solutions, business services and more, attendees will have the chance to see the latest introductions and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as emerging leaders.

MORE NETWORKING
Exhibitors and attendees can enjoy complimentary luncheons on the show floor each day, a show floor cocktail reception, breakout sessions and other opportunities to reconnect with friends and meet new business partners.

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN:                 Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022
WHERE:              
Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101
INFO:                    For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email suzanne@indoor.ag


ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for vertical farming | indoor agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – acquired Indoor Ag-Con LLC, setting the stage for further expansion of the events globally. More information: https://indoor.ag

ABOUT SOLI ORGANIC
Founded in 1989 as Shenandoah Growers, Inc., Soli Organic Inc. is the leading grower and marketer of fresh organic culinary herbs in the United States, providing sustainable, USDA certified organic, regionally grown produce to retailers coast-to-coast. The Rockingham, Virginia-based company has developed the nation’s largest commercial indoor organic, soil-based growing system and continues to redefine how to bring fresh, organic, and sustainably farmed produce to market – operating across a nationally integrated platform of farms, production, and logistics facilities. For more information, please visit www.soliorganic.com.

Jonathan Webb Keynote Indoor Ag-Con 20222

AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb Joins Indoor Ag-Con 2022 CEO Keynote Line-Up

How Tech In Farming Can Build A Resilient Food System

AppHarvest Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb will lead the Indoor Ag-Con keynote presentation, “How Tech In Farming Can Build A Resilient Food System,” on Monday, February 28, 2022 from 11:00 am – 11:50 am. A headliner event at the February 28 – March 1, 2022 edition of the trade show and conference for the indoor|vertical farming industry at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, Webb’s  discussion will focus on what needs to be done to truly fix the world’s food system. And that, according to Webb, is the Farm of the Future, which he is creating at AppHarvest by investing in robotics, artificial intelligence and tele-operation, while developing the types of technologies that were required for Amazon to transform retail.

Themed “Growing Your Business,” Indoor Ag-Con will give attendees the opportunity to explore new resources on the expo floor and hear from Webb, other CEOs, thought leaders and industry experts from today’s cutting-edge farms and other innovative companies.

During his keynote presentation, Webb will dive deep into what new technologies can deliver quality produce with safe, more efficient growing methods– which is good for all stakeholders — and how AppHarvest’s AI and robotic technology allows the company to make data-driven decisions on plant health, productivity and better predict crop yield.  

Webb will also discuss how AppHarvest is bringing these technologies to market with its TechCo business, which is expected to serve the entire controlled environment agriculture sector.

Jonathan Webb is the Founder & CEO of AppHarvest, a sustainable foods company developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms to build an efficient food system.

Before founding AppHarvest, he spent years developing massive solar projects for the U.S. Department of Defense. During this time, Webb learned about the Netherlands’ modern, tech-forward system of hydroponic agriculture. This research, coupled with reports that global food production would need to nearly double by 2050 and news of expanding drought and wildfire across the country, led him to realize that the American food system required change – fast.

He returned home to Kentucky to start AppHarvest. Jonathan knew that, by harnessing the best of nature’s capabilities with future-forward technology to grow delicious produce at scale, we could tackle systemic supply chain issues while also advocating for modern methods of sustainable farming. He also knew that AppHarvest could reduce environmentally costly diesel emissions incurred during the shipping process by locating closer to consumers, all while delivering more reliably fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables.

Learn more about Jonathan Webb and his Indoor Ag-Con keynote session here.

“Jonathan Webb’s vision for the future of agriculture and the steps he is taking with AppHarvest to get there are inspiring and exciting, “ says Brian Sullivan, partner/owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC .”We are thrilled to have him join the Indoor Ag-Con keynote stage in February and know our audience will be eager to hear from him.”

ROBUST 2022 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT
Webb’s presentation joins the Indoor Ag-Con 2022  CEO keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms and Steven Bradley, VP, Cox Cleantech, Cox Enterprises.  Look for additional announcements coming soon on other headliner keynote presentations planned for the February edition. The 2022 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Grower, Business & Technology.

Attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore in February, including:

CO-LOCATION WITH NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCATION SHOW
New for 2022, Indoor Ag-Con will co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading trade show and conference for independent grocers, offering even more networking and business opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike.  The NGA Show and Indoor Ag-Con visitors will have access to all exhibits, and discounts will be available for cross-over educational event attendance.  Look for more details coming soon.

EXPANDED EXHIBIT FLOOR
2022 will also welcome the largest expo floor yet for Indoor Ag-Con.  From irrigation and LED lighting to environmental control systems, substrates, greenhouse equipment, energy solutions, business services and more, attendees will have the chance to see the latest introductions and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as emerging leaders.

MORE NETWORKING
Exhibitors and attendees can enjoy complimentary luncheons on the show floor each day, a show floor cocktail reception, breakout sessions and other opportunities to reconnect with friends and meet new business partners.

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN:                 Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022
WHERE:              
Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101
INFO:                    For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email suzanne@indoor.ag


ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for vertical farming | indoor agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – acquired Indoor Ag-Con LLC, setting the stage for further expansion of the events globally. More information: https://indoor.ag

ABOUT APPHARVEST
AppHarvest is an applied technology company in Appalachia developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms designed to grow non-GMO, chemical pesticide-free produce, using up to 90 percent less water than open-field agriculture and only rainwater while producing yields up to 30 times that of traditional agriculture on the same amount of land without agricultural runoff. The company combines conventional agricultural techniques with world-class technology including artificial intelligence and robotics to improve access for all to nutritious food, farming more sustainably, building a domestic food supply, and increasing investment in Appalachia. The company’s 60-acre Morehead, KY facility is among the largest indoor farms in the world. For more information, visit https://www.appharvest.com/.

Agritecture Pre-Event Indoor Ag-Con Workshop

Agritecture To Host Pre-Event Urban Farm Planning Workshop

Urban and controlled environment agriculture advisory firm Agritecture will host the pre-event workshop, “Planning Your Commercial Urban Farming Business,” on Sunday, February 27, 2022 – the day before Indoor Ag-Con opens — February 28 – March 1, 2022 at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, NV. Focused on providing participants with a clear understanding of how to think strategically and avoid mistakes when planning an urban farming business, the workshop will run from 2 – 5 pm.

Participants will receive access to Agritecture Designer, Agritecture’s proprietary urban farm planning software. This workshop will utilize Agritecture Designer and participants will work in teams to complete a design workshop to explore how urban agriculture might fit in with their current projects or long-term goals.

Workshop participants will also meet and hear from some of Agritecture Designer Partners and Indoor Ag-Con exhibitors,  including Ceres Greenhouse Solutions and Montel.

The Agritecture workshop is an optional pre-event workshop add-on available to Indoor Ag-Con attendees for just $150.  To learn more and sign up, visit www.indoor.ag/agritecture-pre-event-workshop/

“We are excited to partner with Agritecture to bring this comprehensive educational opportunity to our grower audience,” says Brian Sullivan,” partner, Indoor Ag-Con, LLC.  “Participants are sure to find this workshop to be a great  way to kick off their Indoor Ag-Con experience.  Not only will it help them strategically navigate the concurrent Indoor Ag-Con and National Grocers Association Show events that start the next day, the workshop also adds even more networking, market research, and partnership development opportunities for their businesses.”

Led by Agritecture’s Director of Digital Strategy, Ricky Stephens;  Marketing & Sustainability Lead, Briana Zagami; and Director of Consulting, Djavid Amidi-Abraham, the workshop outline includes:

Lesson 1 | Introduction to Commercial Urban Farming

  • Understanding the full spectrum of urban agriculture solutions & impact categories
  • Key lessons learned from current case studies and past failures
  • How to position your farm for success

Lesson 2 | Choosing Your Equipment, Crops & Marketing

  • Greenhouse vs. Vertical Farm considerations
  • An introduction to hydroponic systems
  • Understanding lighting options, nutrient solutions, air flow, and CO2 enrichment
  • How to conduct proper market research
  • Marketing & selling your product
  • Evaluating various sales channels

Lesson 3 | Presentations from Partners, including

  • Ceres Greenhouse Solutions
  • Montel

Design Workshop | Participants will be broken into teams

Teams will develop an urban farming concept based on a selected site location and parameters using Agritecture’s proprietary urban farm planning software, Agritecture Designer.

 

INDOOR AG-CON 2022 QUICK FACTS
WHAT:                 Premier trade show & conference for indoor |vertical farming and controlled environmentagriculture industry
WHEN:                 Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022
WHERE:              
Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101
INFO:                    For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email suzanne@indoor.ag


ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for vertical farming | indoor agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis | hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – acquired Indoor Ag-Con LLC,  setting the stage for further expansion of the event. More information: www.indoor.ag

ABOUT AGRITECTURE
Agritecture was founded by Henry Gordon-Smith in 2011 to help others navigate the crucial planning stage for their urban farming business and avoid costly mistakes. Since then, Agritecture has grown into the world’s leading advisory firm on urban and controlled environment agriculture, working with clients of all types – from entrepreneurs, to investors, to technology providers – in more than 35 countries. In recent years, Agritecture’s service offerings have evolved to meet industry needs beyond farm planning and include strategy, due diligence, market research, and more. For more information visit www.agritecture.com

Indoor Ag-Con 2022 Opening Keynote With BrightFarms and Cox Enterprises

BrightFarms, Cox Enterprises Kick Off Indoor Ag-Con 2022

BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt & Cox Enterprises VP Steven Bradley Kick Off Indoor Ag-Con 2022 With Opening Morning Keynote Address  

December 14, 2021 BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt and Cox Enterprises VP Steven Bradley will lead the opening morning keynote address for the 9th annual edition of Indoor Ag-Con, scheduled for Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, 2022, at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, Nev. Themed “Growing Your Business,” the premier trade show and conference for indoor|vertical farming will give attendees the opportunity to explore new resources on the expo floor and hear from Platt & Bradley, other CEOs, thought leaders and industry experts from today’s cutting-edge farms and CEA companies.

“When Cox Enterprises acquired BrightFarms earlier this year, the industry took notice,” says Brian Sullivan, co-owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC. “We are thrilled to welcome Steve Platt and Steven Bradley to our keynote stage to share their exciting growth plans and vision for the future of our industry. It promises to be an inspiring kick-off to this year’s conference!”

During the opening morning keynote – 8:00– 8:50 am on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 — Platt and Bradley will share how BrightFarms and Cox are working together to transform the indoor farming industry – further strengthening its position as a sustainable platform for the future.

Steve Platt is CEO of the mission-driven indoor farming leader BrightFarms, and a veteran Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) executive with a proven record of growing brands. Under Steve’s leadership, BrightFarms was acquired by lead investor Cox Enterprises in 2021, resulting in a clear roadmap for future growth and a positive exit for initial investors. His passion for BrightFarms’ mission and products led him to the company, which grows pesticide-free leafy greens in its six high-tech facilities across the country. BrightFarms grows and delivers its greens to local retailers as soon as 24-hours from harvest, producing fresher and more nutritious salads, and significantly reducing overall environmental impact compared to West Coast farms.

As Vice President of Cox Cleantech for Cox Enterprises, Steve Bradley is responsible for building new cleantech verticals that tackle sustainability challenges while driving profitability, topline growth and diversification of the core business. With Bradley’s leadership, the Cox Cleantech team is investing in and acquiring solutions that positively transform key sectors including food, waste and energy to more sustainably meet the needs of the world’s rapidly growing global population.

ROBUST 2022 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT
In addition to Platt & Bradley’s opening morning keynote, look for additional announcements coming soon on other headliner keynote presentations planned for the February edition. The 2022 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Grower, Business & Technology.

Attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore in February, including:

CO-LOCATION WITH NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCATION SHOW
New for 2022, Indoor Ag-Con will co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading trade show and conference for independent grocers, offering even more networking and business opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike. The NGA Show and Indoor Ag-Con visitors will have access to all exhibits, and discounts will be available for cross-over educational event attendance. Look for more details coming soon.

EXPANDED EXHIBIT FLOOR
2022 will also welcome the largest expo floor yet for Indoor Ag-Con. From irrigation and LED lighting to environmental control systems, substrates, greenhouse equipment, energy solutions, business services and more, attendees will have the chance to see the latest introductions and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as emerging leaders.

MORE NETWORKING
Exhibitors and attendees can enjoy complimentary luncheons on the show floor each day, a show floor cocktail reception, breakout sessions and other opportunities to reconnect with friends and meet new business partners.

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022
WHERE: Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101
INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email suzanne@indoor.ag

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the premier trade event for vertical farming | indoor agriculture, the practice of growing crops in indoor systems, using hydroponic, aquaponic and aeroponic techniques. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis | hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – acquired Indoor Ag-Con LLC, setting the stage for further expansion of the event. More information: www.indoor.ag

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