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Indoor Ag-Con Returns March 11-12, 2024 To Caesars Forum Las Vegas

200+ Exhibitors, Three Keynotes, Engaging Conference, and Networking Events

Indoor Ag-Con, the largest and leading trade show and conference dedicated to vertical farming | greenhouse | controlled environment agriculture, will return to Caesars Forum March 11-12, 2024 for its 11th annual event. Indoor Ag-Con unites farmers, growers, ag tech leaders, suppliers, advocates and enthusiasts under one roof to experience all that Indoor Ag-Con has to offer: 200+ Exhibitors, Three Keynotes, Networking Events, Conference Sessions and more.

Indoor Ag-Con attendees will also have access to the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading tradeshow and conference for independent grocers, which will once again co-locate with Indoor Ag-Con.

“After a successful 2023 event, we are excited to once again converge in Las Vegas to bring together our exhibitors, speakers, partners, and attendees from around the globe,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “Indoor Ag-Con is the place to experience the most cutting-edge indoor agriculture products from the most innovative companies in the world, engage in important conversations at our Conference sessions, hear from the top leaders in our industry including three inspiring Keynotes and connect with peers in the industry.”

Robust Conference          

The Conference features two jam-packed days of educational and insightful sessions from 80+ speakers in four tracks including Planning & Operations, Grower, Cultivating Possibilities and NEW this year, the Cannabis track. Designed specifically for cannabis cultivators, these track sessions will dive into the key industry issues and share best practices for ideal grow environments.  Indoor Ag-Con’s Conference sessions will span multiple topics including “Bridging the Gap Between CEA Producers and Buyers”, “Past, Present and Future: The State of the Evolving Cannabis Landscape”, “Roadmap to Data Standardization In CEA,” “Mushrooming Success: Navigating Trends and Opportunities in the Culinary Mushroom Market,” among others that are making an impact on the indoor agriculture industry.

New for 2024, the Indoor Ag-Con CEA Food Safety Pre-Event Workshop: Internal Review Certification, will be held on Sunday, March 10, 1-5pm and is designed for anyone in the controlled environment agriculture industry dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of food safety and quality. Internal auditing certification is a mandatory GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) requirement that demonstrates an individual’s ability to conduct internal assessments of any food safety program.  Indoor Ag-Con has partnered with Ceres University, a leading provider of IACET-accredited food safety training and certification, to offer a cost-effective, convenient way to build your career AND help fulfill GFSI scheme requirements.

Three Keynote presentations

In addition to Indoor Ag-Con’s Conference sessions, the event will feature three inspiring Keynote speakers, including this year’s headliner, Paul Sellew, Founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms, who will give the 2024 edition’s opening morning headline keynote address on Monday, March 11th at 8 am. Sellew has built a successful career on his belief in sustainable agriculture. With over 30 years of experience developing and leading successful companies, Sellew is on a mission to transform the way food is grown through peri-urban agricultural practices that are rebuilt for the modern world.

Additional Keynote speakers will be announced soon. 

Expanded Expo Hall

The expanded Expo Hall, will be home to 200+ world-class exhibitors featuring the most cutting-edge technologies, products and services in the indoor agriculture industry from lighting and control systems to substrates, equipment, irrigation systems and much more. Don’t miss sessions on the Expo Floor in the Expo Hall Theater where industry leaders offer 45-minute presentations on hot topics.

Networking Events

Mix and mingle with new and old friends at daily events including the Vivid Canopy Panel & Networking Event   hosted by GLASE – the Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering Consortium – and Eden Green Technology, Conference Lunches, Expo Hall Happy Hour, and many more fun and engaging events.

For more information on the full line-up of sessions, exhibitors and events, please visit www.indoor.ag.

ABOUT:
Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade show and conference for vertical farming | greenhouse |controlled environment agriculture. 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, visit www.indoor.ag.

 

Indoor Ag-Con Announces Opening Keynote Speaker: Paul Sellew, Founder And CEO of Little Leaf Farms

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce Paul Sellew, Founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms, will give  the 2024 edition’s opening morning headline keynote address on Monday, March 11th at 8 am at Caesars Forum Las Vegas. Little Leaf Farms is the largest U.S. greenhouse producer of hydroponic baby greens and sold in over 5,000 grocery stores and fine dining establishments. Sellew has built a successful career on his belief in sustainable agriculture. In total, Indoor Ag-Con will feature three headliner Keynote presentations by prominent and influential leaders, as well as a comprehensive Conference, highlighting timely topics and trends in the indoor agriculture world.

With over 30 years of experience developing and leading successful companies, Sellew is on a mission to transform the way food is grown through peri-urban agricultural practices that are rebuilt for the modern world. With an emphasis on a “farming company” mindset as opposed to taking a “tech play” approach to growing food, Little Leaf Farms is poised to break $100 million in sales by the end of the calendar year. Little Leaf Farms sees a bright future for itself as the country’s #1 brand of packaged lettuce sustainably grown through controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and can now add one more milestone to its list: the #1 best-selling packaged lettuce in New England.

Using advanced greenhouse technologies, Little Leaf Farms has been growing fresh, sustainably farmed lettuce 365 days a year since 2015 and its footprint is also growing. Little Leaf Farms recently opened its newest greenhouse in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, the fifth greenhouse for Little Leaf Farms, and the brand’s second greenhouse in Pennsylvania.  Little Leaf Farms also recently broke ground on a third greenhouse on the McAdoo site in August, with a planned opening in the second half of 2024.

“Little Leaf Farms is a true success story in part thanks to our mission of growing, packaging and marketing the highest-quality branded leafy greens for our customers,” said Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms. “I look forward to being part of Indoor Ag-Con this year and am excited to share lessons learned with other passionate, disruptive leaders in this industry.”

“We’re thrilled to have Paul Sellew as our opening Keynote speaker as his expertise and success in the industry are a testament to Indoor Ag-Con’s commitment to featuring leaders who are driving transformative change,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “Sellew’s insights into sustainable farming practices and the success of Little Leaf Farms will provide valuable perspectives and elevate the attendee experience.”

In addition to Indoor Ag-Con’s Keynotes, the event will feature educational panels, debates and other presentation formats aligned in several Conference tracks.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy quality networking events and explore an expanded expo floor bringing together 200+ suppliers and service providers representing the top names and emerging leaders in the controlled environment agriculture sector. For more information on the full line-up of sessions, exhibitors and events, please visit www.indoor.ag.

ABOUT:

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade show and conference for vertical farming | greenhouse |controlled environment agriculture. 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, visit www.indoor.ag.

Alliances and Innovation Headline 2nd Annual CEA Summit East In Virginia

Danville, Virginia (September 25, 2023 ) – Building alliances, sharing information and forging new connections were key themes that drove the September 19-20, 2023, edition of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East held at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Virginia.

Co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con and the Virginia Tech- IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center (a partnership between the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech, the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and IALR), the 2nd annual edition attracted 240 attendees from 33 U.S. states, Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden, including growers, educators, scientists, Virginia Cooperative Extension specialists, suppliers, engineers, tech specialists, architect/developers and other industry members.

During the day and one-half event, attendees enjoyed quality time to meet, network and learn during keynotes, panels, and breakout conference sessions; explored 21 tabletop exhibits presenting the latest innovations and services; and enjoyed a host of networking opportunities.

“It’s exciting to see this event grow in both attendance and vendor/sponsor support,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “Together with the CEA Innovation Center, we’re building a strong event where business and academia unite to drive our industry forward.”

“The CEA Summit exemplifies the collaborative spirit that defines our mission,” said Scott Lowman, Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President, Applied Research, IALR. “It’s rewarding to see industry leaders from all sectors of CEA convene here to share lessons learned, best practices, research findings and ways to help accelerate our collective growth.”

Event highlights included:

(Editor’s Note:Photo captions at end of release and high resolution versions of the images shown, as well as others from CEA Summit East, are available here  )

Morning Kick-Off Keynotes
Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr kicked off opening morning with his keynote address, “Virginia’s Commitment to Next Generation Agriculture: Leading the Indoor Farming Revolution.”  On the 2nd day, AeroFarms President and CFO opened the event with a keynote that came on the heels of the company’s announcement that it had emerged fully funded from Chapter 11.

 

Educational Tracks
The CEA Summit featured four educational tracks – Grower, Business & Marketing, Up & Coming Technology and Education, Outreach & Workforce Development– that brought academics, growers and business experts together covering a wide range of topics ranging from scaling up and negotiating energy costs to the future of CEA crops, getting started in aquaponics, and lessons learned from recent college graduates entering the CEA sector. Other panel discussions and 15-minute CEA Industry & Research Showcase sessions gave attendees the chance to hear about some of the latest research findings and other industry success stories.

Tabletop Exhibits & Networking
In addition to conference sessions, attendees had ample opportunities to visit with the Summit’s 21 tabletop exhibitors during coffee breaks, luncheon roundtables and an afternoon cocktail reception.

Graduate Student Poster Competition

This year’s summit kicked off a new CEA Poster Competition to provide an opportunity for graduate students to share high quality CEA-related research; to expose commercial companies to qualified candidates; to foster collaboration between individuals in academia and in private industry. Six finalists competed and Nelda Hernandez, Auburn University, took first prize for her poster, “Hydroponics as an Alternative Production System for Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) in Alabama.”

 

CEA Innovation Center Tour

The event wrapped up with group tours of the CEA Innovation Center.  90+ conference attendees took advantage of the unique opportunity to get an inside look at the CEA Innovation Center’s hydroponic systems and facilities, including the greenhouse and vertical growing racks.  They also got to hear more about some of the Center’s exciting research projects.

Look for more information coming soon on dates and details for the 2024 edition.  In the meantime, industry members can make plans to attend Indoor Ag-Con, March 11-12, 2024, as it returns to Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, to once again co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show.

 

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON
Indoor Ag-Con is the premier global event series focused on the future of indoor farming. Since 2013, the trade show and conference, the industry’s largest, has been at the forefront of the rapidly expanding vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture sector, providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and researchers to connect, share knowledge, and drive the industry forward. For more information, visit www.indoor.ag 

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TECH-IALR CEA INNOVATION CENTER
The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. 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 CEA sector in the U.S. and internationally. More information-www.ialr.org/cea

  Photo Captions:

ROW 1(L-R)
Pictured (L-R) : Michael Schwarz, Ph.D., Associate Director, CEA Innovation Center, Director, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research & Extension Center, Virginia Tech; Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con;  John H. Hughes, IV, ED.D., Executive Vice President of Operations, IALR; Matthew Lohr, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry; Scott Lowman, Ph.D., Co-Director, CEA Innovation Center & Vice President, Applied Research, IALR.

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Matthew Lohr kicks off CEA Summit East with Day One Keynote.

AeroFarms President and CFO Guy Blanchard leads CEA Summit East Day Two keynote.

ROW 2 (L-R):

Nick Genty, CEO, AgEye Technologies (standing left) moderated the panel, “Growing with Artificial Intelligence: The Future of AI and Automation in Horticulture.” Panelists included (l-r) Dr. Benjamin Welch, Canon Virginia, Inc, Sam Lewando, Babylon MicroFarms, and Alex Rudnicki, AeroFarms.

Sam Fleming, 100 Gardens, led the CEA Showcase Session, “Aquaponics and a New Way of Thinking.”

Nathaniel Doyno, Seinergy LLC, moderated the session, “Powering Up Your Operation: Navigating CEA Energy Costs, Incentives & More,” with panelists Frank Molander, ICF and Rick Drescher, Savills North America.

ROW 3
CEA Summit East 2023 welcomed 21 tabletop exhibitors to the event to showcase services and new innovations.

ROW 4
Six students competed in the new CEA Summit Graduate Student Poster Competition.  Nelda Hernandez, Auburn University, took first place for her poster, “Hydroponics as an Alternative Production System for Strawberry (Fragaria ×ananassa Duch.) in Alabama.”

ROW 5
The 2023 edition of CEA Summit East wrapped up with group tours of the CEA Innovation Center.  90+ conference attendees took advantage of the unique opportunity to get an inside look at the CEA Innovation Center’s hydroponic systems and facilities, including the greenhouse and vertical growing racks.  They also got to hear more about some of the Center’s exciting research projects.

AeroFarms President and CFO Guy Blanchard To Lead Keynote at 2023 CEA Summit East

DANVILLE, VA (August 29, 2023)AeroFarms President and Chief Financial Officer Guy Blanchard will lead a keynote address at the 2nd annual edition of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East, Sept. 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) Institute Conference Center in Danville, Va. Blanchard’s keynote will shed light on AeroFarms’ journey towards resiliency, emphasizing the conference’s core mission to unite the CEA business and academic sectors, fostering learning, networking, and collective growth in the face of industry challenges.

Guy Blanchard’s keynote is scheduled for Wednesday, September 20, 2023, at 9 a.m.

The CEA Summit East is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the largest vertical farming | CEA gathering, and the CEA Innovation Center – a partnership between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

During his keynote, Blanchard will share how AeroFarms is emerging stronger in the months following a Chapter 11 filing, touching on growing retail partnerships with leaders like Walmart, H-E-B, The Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Amazon Fresh, and other initiatives.  He will also provide updates on AeroFarms’ newest farm in Danville, which continues to scale according to plan.

Blanchard brings extensive project finance and corporate development experience for AeroFarms, a leading clean-technology company that builds and operates commercial state-of-the-art indoor vertical farms around the world, helping transform agriculture. A Certified B Corporation, AeroFarms has been recognized by Fast Company as one of the Most Innovative Companies in the World and by Inc. as one of the Top 25 Disruptive Companies. Guy last served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development, at Amonix, Inc., a concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems equipment manufacturer and developer.

Guy has also served as a Managing Director for Fortress Investment Group’s Drawbridge family of funds, where he was a principal investor with a focus on structured investments in long-lived assets. Prior to that, Guy was Vice President of Corporate Finance at GATX Capital Corporation and CFO for JTP Manufacturing. Guy holds a bachelor’s degree and an MBA, both from the University of California, Davis.

“We are excited to welcome Guy Blanchard to our CEA Summit keynote stage. AeroFarms has been a trailblazer in the indoor farming industry, and his address will undoubtedly provide invaluable insights into the path forward for the indoor farming sector as it confronts new challenges, and new opportunities, head-on,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.

“Having Guy Blanchard share his perspective on AeroFarms’ journey through recent challenges aligns perfectly with our mission to foster collaboration and innovation within the CEA community,” adds Dr. Scott Lowman, Co-Director of the CEA Innovation Center, and Vice President of Applied Research at IALR.

The CEA Summit East is custom-tailored for new and well-seasoned CEA industry members from throughout the Eastern U.S., 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 two-day event, industry members will have the opportunity to hear from CEOs, 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.

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN:                 Tuesday, September 19 – Wednesday, September 20, 2023
WHERE:              
IALR Institute Conference Center, 150 Slayton Ave, Danville, VA 24540
INFO:                    For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.ceasummit.com 

ABOUT AEROFARMS
Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation. 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 optimal 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 versus traditional field farming. Its products can be found at major selling partners like Ahold Delhaize, Amazon Fresh, Baldor Specialty Food, Compass Group, Harris Teeter, H-E-B, Marcus BP, Momofuku Noodle Bars, ShopRite, The Fresh Market, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. For additional information, visit: https://aerofarms.com/.  

 

 ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON
Indoor Ag-Con is the premier global event series focused on the future of indoor farming. Since 2013, the trade show and conference, the industry’s largest, has been at the forefront of the rapidly expanding vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture sector, providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and researchers to connect, share knowledge, and drive the industry forward. More information- www.indoor.ag 

 

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TECH-IALR CEA INNOVATION CENTER
The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. 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 CEA sector in the U.S. and internationally. More information-www.ialr.org/cea

Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry to Kick Off CEA Summit East With Opening Morning Keynote

DANVILLE, VA (August XX, 2023) – Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr will lead the opening morning keynote address for the 2nd annual edition of the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East, September 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) Institute Conference Center in Danville, VA.  Secretary Lohr’s presentation sets the stage for two days of education and networking built around the summit’s goal of bringing CEA business and academic community members together to boost growth opportunities for the entire sector.

The CEA Summit East is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the largest vertical farming | CEA gathering, and the CEA Innovation Center – a partnership between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

During his keynote address, “Virginia’s Commitment to Next Generation Agriculture: Leading the Indoor Farming Revolution,” Secretary Lohr will discuss the state’s leadership role in the CEA sector, including its investment in research and development, workforce training, and infrastructure to support CEA industry growth. The session will give attendees valuable insights into Virginia’s strategic CEA plans, initiatives, support mechanisms and opportunities that exist for collaboration and innovation.

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.

In early 2022, he was appointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin to serve as Virginia’s Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry. In this role, he serves in the governor’s cabinet and oversees three state agencies – the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Virginia Department of Forestry, and the Virginia Racing Commission.

“We are honored to have Secretary Lohr join us for the 2nd annual CEA Summit East. Virginia’s unique advantages make it an ideal hub for CEA companies and Secretary Lohr’s participation in our event further underscores the state’s commitment to fostering CEA industry innovation and growth. His keynote is the perfect kick-off to the insightful discussions, networking and growth opportunities that will all be part of this year’s event,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.

“At the CEA Innovation Center, our mission revolves around moving the CEA industry forward through research, educational programming and industry support,” adds Dr. Scott Lowman, Co-Director of the CEA Innovation Center, and Vice President of Applied Research at IALR. “We are especially excited to have Secretary Lohr lead our keynote and highlight the pivotal role that public-private partnerships play in driving the growth of this sector.  With his keynote, we look forward to showcasing how Virginia’s collaborative efforts are driving advancements that resonate far beyond our state borders.”

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.

During the two-day event, industry members will have the opportunity to hear from CEOs, 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.

QUICK FACTS:
WHEN:                 Tuesday, September 19 – Wednesday, September 20, 2023
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
Indoor Ag-Con is the premier global event series focused on the future of indoor farming. Since 2013, the trade show and conference, the industry’s largest, has been at the forefront of the rapidly expanding vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture sector, providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and researchers to connect, share knowledge, and drive the industry forward. More information- www.indoor.ag

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TECH-IALR CEA INNOVATION CENTER
The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. 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 CEA sector in the U.S. and internationally. More information–www.ialr.org/cea

Indoor Ag-Con Announces New CEA Food Safety 2024 Pre-Event Workshop

Leading Vertical Farming | CEA Trade Show Partners With Ceres University To Host ‘Internal Review’ Class The Day Before Indoor Ag-Con 2024 Opens In Las Vegas

Indoor Ag-Con, the largest trade show and conference for vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture(CEA), has partnered with Ceres University, a leading provider of ICET-accredited food safety training and certification, to host a CEA Food Safety Workshop ahead of the March 11-12, 2024 edition of Indoor Ag-Con at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas. Scheduled for Sunday, March 10, 2024 from 1-5 pm, the “Internal Review Class” is designed to help industry professionals build their careers and prepare to meet the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) requirement for internal auditing certification.

Internal audit certification is a mandatory requirement of the GFSI as it demonstrates an individual’s ability to conduct internal assessments of any food safety program.  By developing and maintaining a robust and effective internal audit system, operations can enhance their food safety and food quality processes through actionable improvements. This CEA Food Safety Workshop will provide valuable insights into best practices and common mistakes to avoid for successful programs, as outlined by a GFSI level professor in Food Science.

“We are thrilled to add this important CEA Food Safety Workshop to our growing line-up of educational offerings,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO of Indoor Ag-Con. “Food safety is of paramount importance in today’s rapidly evolving CEA industry, and our collaboration with Ceres University underscores our dedication to arming our attendees with the necessary skills to meet global standards.”

“Partnering with Indoor Ag-Con to host the CEA Food Safety Workshop is an exciting opportunity for Ceres University,” adds Karl Kolb, Ph.D., President, Ceres University. “Our aim is to empower professionals in the CEA industry with the knowledge and skills required to achieve and maintain the highest food safety standards. This workshop will provide attendees with proven tools and insights needed to enhance their internal audit processes and drive continuous improvement in their operations.”

The registration fee for the workshop is $575 which includes:

  • Admission to 4-hour workshop and course materials
  • Ability to earn up to 3 Continuing Education Units (CEUs) upon completion  
  • Indoor Ag-Con Expo Hall Only Pass, which includes access to Expo Floor March 11-12, 2024; admission to all Indoor Ag-Con Expo Theater presentations; Expo Floor Welcome Happy Hour; and access to expo floor of National Grocers Association (NGA) Show running concurrently at Caesars Forum.

The workshop is designed for anyone in the CEA industry dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of food safety and quality, including food safety managers, quality assurance professionals, compliance officers, and executives with a vested interest in protecting their brand’s reputation.  

CEA summit instructorsWorkshop instructors include Dr. Karl Kolb, president of Ceres University and Ceres Certifications, International (CCI) and Kellie Worrell, GlobalG.A.P. Scheme Manager, CCI.  Dr. Kolb is a  microbiologist with a quality background and more than 30 years as an industry professional. In addition to her current role with CCI, Kellie Worrell has managed the Food Safety Program for multiple vegetable farms, including a wide variety of crops. CCI features GLOBALG.A.P. among its many GFSI food safety schemes.

During the workshop attendees will learn how to organize an internal auditing program;  master risk-based approaches; educate and empower teams to become food safety advocates; effectively document findings; conduct an interview; uncover root cases, and more.

For more information and registration details for the CEA Food Safety Workshop, visit: www.indoor.ag/ceafoodsafety.

About Indoor Ag-Con

Indoor Ag-Con is the premier global event series focused on the future of indoor farming. Since 2013, the trade show and conference, the industry’s largest, has been at the forefront of the rapidly expanding vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture sector, providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and researchers to connect, share knowledge, and drive the industry forward. More information – www.indoor.ag

About Ceres University:

Ceres University is a leading provider of ICET-accredited food safety training and certification. With a mission to enhance food safety and quality through education, Ceres University equips professionals in the food industry with the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in their careers and ensure the highest standards of safety and quality. More information – www.ceres.university

Controlled Environment Agriculture Summit East Conference Announces Graduate Student Poster Competition

10 Finalists Will Be Invited To Present Posters At September 19-20, 2023, Edition at IALR Conference Center In Danville, Virginia

DANVILLE, VA (June 29, 2023) — The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East Conference will host a graduate student poster competition during its 2nd annual edition, September 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research (IALR) Conference Center in Danville, Virginia. Co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the largest gathering of the vertical farming | CEA sector, and the Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center, a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, CEA Summit East offers an ideal platform for aspiring graduate students to showcase their research in the field of CEA-related research.

By encouraging students to showcase their work through poster presentations, the competition seeks to foster collaboration opportunities between individuals in academia and private industry, while also connecting commercial companies with qualified candidates.

“We are proud to co-host the graduate student poster competition at the CEA Summit East Conference,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “This competition not only provides a great platform for students to share their research, but also enables commercial companies to discover talented individuals who can contribute to the future growth and innovation of the CEA sector.”

The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is dedicated to advancing research and development in CEA. The center’s Co-Director and IALR Vice President, Scott Lowman, Ph.D., adds, “The graduate student poster competition is one more way we’re bridging the gap between academia and industry, promoting knowledge exchange, and opening doors to new collaboration in the CEA field.”

Graduate students interested in participating in the competition are invited to learn more and submit abstracts detailing their research by August 9, 2023, via www.ceasummit.com/#poster-competition.  A panel of experts will review the abstracts and select ten finalists to present their work through poster presentations at the conference. Selected candidates will receive a complimentary full access graduate student conference pass ($395 value) to attend the conference/competition. Judging will be held during the event and the winner will be announced at the day two keynote breakfast session on September 20, 2023.

Following its successful debut edition in October 2022, which brought together more than 200 attendees from 28 states, CEA Summit East 2023 will continue to foster connections and collaboration among growers, educators, scientists, extension specialists, suppliers, engineers, tech specialists, architect/developers and other industry members. Throughout the two-day event attendees will have the opportunity to explore the latest innovations from tabletop exhibitors, enjoy networking opportunities, and attend a full roster of keynote, panel presentations and research/industry showcases.

For more information about the graduate student poster competition and the September 19-20, 2023, edition of CEA Summit East, visit the conference website at www.ceasummit.com

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON
Indoor Ag-Con is the premier global event series focused on the future of indoor farming. Since 2013, the trade show and conference, the industry’s largest, has been at the forefront of the rapidly expanding vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture sector, providing a platform for industry leaders, innovators, and researchers to connect, share knowledge, and drive the industry forward. More information – www.indoor.ag

ABOUT THE VIRGINIA TECH-IALR CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE INNOVATION CENTER
The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  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 CEA sector in the U.S. and internationally.  More information: www.ialr.org/cea

CEA Summit East Announces Return in September 2023

Indoor Ag-Con, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center to Co-Host 2nd Annual Edition September 19-20, 2023 in Danville, VA

DANVILLE, VA (MARCH 30, 2023 ) The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East is proud to announce its return on September 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, VA. Focused on convening the CEA industry and academia, the annual event is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con, the premier global gathering of the vertical farming/CEA sector, and the Virginia Tech-IALR CEA Innovation Center, a joint project between IALR and Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.  

CEA Summit Co-Hosts

Following the success of its debut edition in October 2022, which brought together more than 200 attendees from 28 states, the CEA Summit East will continue to foster connections and collaboration among growers, educators, scientists, extension specialists, suppliers, engineers, tech specialists, architect/developers and other industry members.

“The enthusiasm and engagement we saw at our inaugural event were truly inspiring and we’re thrilled to continue our partnership with the CEA Innovation Center to bring the CEA Summit East back in 2023,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “Both organizations see tremendous value in growing an event like this that brings business and academia audiences together at an incredible research facility setting that really fosters an environment for sharing ideas and new business opportunities.”

The two-day event will feature keynotes, panels and breakout conference sessions, as well as tabletop exhibits from industry-leading companies and research facility tours. Attendees can expect to learn about the latest advances in CEA and explore opportunities for collaboration and growth.

“We are excited to build on the momentum of our first event and continue to bring together leaders in the CEA industry,” said Dr. Scott Lowman, Co-Director of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President of Applied Research at IALR. “We look forward to showcasing the innovative research and education programs we are developing to support the growth of the CEA industry.”

For more information and to register to attend, exhibit and to learn more about speaking opportunities for the CEA Summit East 2023, please visit the event website at www.ceasummit.com 

ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade event for vertical farming and 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 and 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

The VirginiaENTER AT VIRGINIA TECH 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

Record Attendee, Exhibitor Growth Headline 10th Anniversary Edition of Indoor Ag-Con

 62% Attendance Increase For Las Vegas February 27-28, 2023 Event That Drew CEA Industry Members from 48 US States, 29 Countries

(MARCH 3, 2023) — Indoor Ag-Con marked its 10th Anniversary Edition with record increases in attendee and exhibitor participation for its February 27-28, 2023 run at Caesars Forum Las Vegas. The exhibitor booth roster doubled with a sold-out show floor featuring 134 companies in 174 booths vs 70 companies in 80 booths for 2022.  Attendance saw a 62% increase over 2022 with 1453 attendees from 48 US states, the District of Columbia and US territories, as well as 29 other countries. Attendees included C-level execs and other decision-makers involved with every sector of controlled environment agriculture — growers, investors, tech providers, start-ups, academia, government, food service retail, suppliers and more.

 

For the second year, Indoor Ag-Con once again co-located with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, attracting 200+ attendees from that event to the Indoor Ag-Con expo floor — taking the total attendance number over the 1600 mark.

 

“We are thrilled with the incredible growth Indoor Ag-Con continues to experience year-on-year,” says Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con. “This tremendous response from the industry — particularly our growing international attendance – positions Indoor Ag-Con as the global event for CEA  and confirms the growing importance and potential of vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture.  As we continue to evolve and adapt to the changing needs of our community, we are committed to delivering a high-quality event that provides unparalleled education, networking, and business growth opportunities for our attendees and exhibitors.  We look forward to an even brighter future for Indoor Ag-Con and the entire indoor agriculture industry”

 

Among the 10th Anniversary Edition highlights:

CEO Keynote Sessions
Attendees had the chance to hear different perspectives from key executives from both the investment and farm operation sectors.  Arama Kukutai, CEO, Plenty kicked off day one with the opening morning keynote on February 27, 2023.  During the second part of his address, he welcomed surprise guest, Mark Hagan, Chief Investment Officer, Realty Income, who joined him on stage for a fireside chat sharing more about the recently announced strategic  real estate alliance to support the development of Plenty’s indoor vertical farms. Later that day Vonnie Estes, Vice President of Technology for the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) moderated the keynote panel, “The Ever-Changing Business Model Of Controlled Environment Agriculture Farming,” with Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms; Matt Ryan, CEO, Soli Organic; and Dave Vosburg, CIO, Local Bounti. On day two, February 28, 2023,  Dave Chen, CEO, Equilibrium, took the stage to share his thoughts on  “The State of CEA and the Road Ahead.”
Indoor Ag-Con 2023 Keynotes

Educational Tracks & Expo Floor Theater Panel Discussions

The 2023 edition featured 3 educational tracks – Grower, Trends & Innovation and Funding & Guidance– that brought industry experts together covering a  wide range of topics from lighting solutions outside of standard wavelengths, to lessons learned from business failures, food security, strawberry production and workforce development and more.  In addition, the Expo Floor Theater featured a Hardball session on the state of vertical farming; and fireside chats with leaders from Unfold and GoodLeaf and a session on installation success.  In addition, the 2023 edition welcomed a  new debate format with sessions like greenhouse v. vertical farming, pre-built v. custom-built controlled environments and container v vertical farming.

Indoor Ag-Con 2023 Sessions

Sold Out Expo Floor
Doubling in size over 2023, 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.

Indoor Ag-Con 2023 Expo Floor

Indoor Ag-Con |Philips VIP Welcome Party

Back by popular demand, Philips Horticulture LED Solutions teamed up once again with Indoor Ag-Con to tee-up the 2023 edition with a VIP Welcome Par-tee on Sunday evening, February 26 at Topgolf Las Vegas.  Indoor Ag-Con conference speakers and other industry VIPs came together for an incredible evening of golf, networking, cocktails, food, music and fun – all compliments of Philips LED Horticultural Lighting.

Indoor Ag-Con | Philips LED Horticultural Lighting 2023 VIP Welcome Par-Tee

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

Indoor Ag-Con 2023 Networking

 

Looking ahead, Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas will return to Caesars Forum March 11-12, 2024 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 largest trade show and conference for vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture in the United States. 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

Unfold, Goodleaf Partner To Develop Premium Quality Leafy Greens

Companies will collaborate in Unfold’s Innovation Partner Program to enhance GoodLeaf’s leafy greens production, particularly spinach, utilizing Unfold’s proprietary genetics and vertical growing expertise.

DAVIS, CA, Feb. 27, 2023 – Unfold, an industry-leading seed and digital solutions company advancing the vertical farming industry, and GoodLeaf Farms, Canada’s largest commercial vertical farm, today announced their partnership to commercialize premium lines of vertically-farmed spinach and other leafy greens through Unfold’s Innovation Partner Program. Chief Executive Officers of both companies will discuss the partnership tomorrow in a fireside chat at the 10th Annual Indoor Ag-Con in Las Vegas.

Micro Broccoli from GoodLeaf’s Vertical Farm, Guelph, Ontario

“We’re very excited to collaborate with GoodLeaf to unlock the potential for improved quality and yield for their indoor growing operations,” said Unfold CEO Sonia Lo. “As a former vertical farm operator, I understand first-hand the importance of seeds that are specifically developed for indoor growing. GoodLeaf is the largest vertical grower in Canada and has already demonstrated its ability to successfully grow leafy greens in large-scale, fully commercialized vertical farms. Now, through our partnership, we will accelerate their product evolution with seed developed and optimized for their specific environment.”

GoodLeaf is currently expanding across Canada, building new facilities in Montreal and Calgary to increase upon its current production out of Guelph, Ontario. With the completion of these two farms, GoodLeaf will  produce over four million pounds of leafy greens annually, which is especially important for Canada where spinach, lettuce and other leafy greens remain amongst the country’s top imports. Both farms will be fully operational in late second quarter/early third quarter of 2023.

“Now that we have a solid foundation in place for our operations, it’s the perfect time to partner with Unfold,” said GoodLeaf President and CEO Barry Murchie. “Having the right seeds to ensure our success is crucial as we grow our operations throughout Canada and help the country lessen its dependence on imported produce. Unfold will help us make that goal possible.”

Goodleaf Unfold
LED lighting nurturing GoodLeaf’s vertically farmed spinach

GoodLeaf and Unfold’s collaboration is part of Unfold’s Innovation Partner Program, which provides vertical farm leaders unique access to Unfold’s leading plant biology expertise, digital tools and germplasm. This access is a competitive advantage to vertical farmers who often lack proficiency in seed genetics and agronomics for indoor farming, and, as a result, are left to rely on suboptimal seeds that generate reduced quality and yields. Through industry collaborations such as this, Unfold is working to address these core challenges head on.

“All of our leafy greens are grown with passion, care and precision,” Murchie continued. “Our partnership with Unfold will help us accelerate the development of even more productive, premium-quality leafy greens. Our R&D team is excited to collaborate with their counterparts at Unfold to take our efforts a leap forward and develop new varieties with enhanced yield, taste, nutritional value and sustainability.”

In fact, both organizations have sustainability as a core value. Working together they aim to develop varieties of leafy greens, most notably spinach, that require less time and energy to produce while enhancing traits valued by consumers, like crunch, colour and taste. These new varieties will boost GoodLeaf’s produce output while lowering its production costs, allowing the Company to increase the accessibility of fresh vegetables closer to consumers’ homes  as they continue to expand across Canada.

Video Announcement

Check out this video to learn more about the Unfold / GoodLeaf IPP: https://youtu.be/oRmED2mxd1I

Indoor Ag-Con Presentation

Tomorrow, February 28, 2023, Unfold Chief Operator Officer David Nothmann will be moderating a fireside chat featuring a conversation between Unfold CEO Sonia Lo and GoodLeaf CEO Barry Murchie. The fireside chat, entitled “Bringing the Knowledge Inside, Transforming Vertical Farming through Seed Genetics,” will take place from 9:15 to 10:00 am PST in the Expo Theater. For more information on the conference, please visit https://indoor.ag/conference-program/.

About Unfold

Unfold is accelerating the “seed to table” capabilities of vertical farming with an integrated offering of superior seeds, digital services, and agronomic insight. Based in Davis, California, Unfold’s mission is to create a world where the freshest, most nutritious, and most delicious produce is available to every person on the planet. For additional information about Unfold or to hear about potential career opportunities, please visit our website at unfold.ag.

Unfold’s Innovation Partner Program provides vertical farm leaders with access to Unfold’s leading plant biology expertise, digital tools and germplasm. Learn more about the program at unfold.ag/partner-program.

About GoodLeaf Farms

With a passion for delicious, nutrient-rich greens, GoodLeaf was founded in Halifax in 2011. Using innovative technology and leveraging multi-level vertical farming, GoodLeaf has created a controlled and efficient indoor farm that can grow fresh produce anywhere in the world, 365 days of the year. The system combines innovations in LED lighting with leading edge hydroponic techniques to produce sustainable, safe, pesticide-free, nutrient-dense leafy greens. GoodLeaf has ongoing collaboration programs with multiple universities in Canada, USA and Europe as well as several other partners in the commercial sector. GoodLeaf is a wholly owned subsidiary of TruLeaf Sustainable Agriculture.

Learn more at goodleaffarms.com.