New Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture Launched
During the May 22, 2019 opening day reception of Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas, Michael Guttman, Director of the Kennett Township Sustainable Development Office (SDO), announced the launch of the world’s first Center of Excellence (COE) devoted entirely to indoor agriculture. Here’s the full press release:
May 22, 2019. Kennett Township (PA) and the newly formed Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture are pleased to announce the launch of the world’s first Center of Excellence (COE) focused entirely on indoor agriculture. The COE is a global public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate growth and innovation of the indoor ag industry through knowledge sharing of best practices, focused programs and services for industry firms, and leadership and coordination of R&D, testing, workforce training, and advocacy.
The establishment of the COE is the outgrowth of a year-long feasibility and planning study which involved more than 200 stakeholders from industry, government, and education, including indoor growers, equipment suppliers, service providers, research centers, and economic development agencies. The study concluded that an Indoor Ag COE in the greater Philadelphia region had the potential to accelerate the entire industry while providing significant economic benefits to the region. In particular, the study highlighted the potential of combining the long-established expertise and infrastructure of Kennett’s world-class mushroom production and distribution complex – nicknamed the ‘FungiPlex’ – with the exceptional innovation and investment driving the recent development of commercial-grade indoor farms focused on leafy greens and other herbaceous produce crops.
According to Michael Guttman, Director of Kennett’s Sustainable Development Office (SDO), “For over 100 years, Kennett has been the center of the US mushroom industry, currently producing about 50% of the US crop. Our ‘FungiPlex’ produces 500M lbs of fresh mushrooms annually, all grown indoors and delivered within 48 hours of picking to markets all across North America via Kennett’s extensive ‘cold-chain’ of refrigerated packing, storage, and shipping facilities. Over the coming years, Kennett’s unique infrastructure is likely to attract many new facilities growing other indoor crops, such as leafy greens. Having the COE located nearby will help us adapt even more quickly to their particular requirements, while also bringing in emerging best practices and transformative technologies will also help our mushroom farmers reduce costs and improve output.”
“Our proposal to set up an Indoor Agriculture COE in the greater Philadelphia area has received strong support from industry, education, and government since it was first announced more than a year ago,” says Dr. Eric W. Stein, the COE’s new Executive Director, who also conducted the COE feasibility. “Now that we are formally launching the COE, we are quickly lining up industry partners, and will shortly announce a series of programs designed to help indoor agriculture producers and suppliers save money, improve production, and accelerate expansion of their businesses.”
The COE (indooragcenter.org) is a global public-private partnership, based in the greater Philadelphia area, whose mission is to accelerate growth and innovation in the indoor agriculture industry.
Kennett Township (www.kennett.pa.us) is a municipality in the greater Philadelphia area, and the historic center of the 100+ year-old US mushroom industry. Through its Sustainable Development Office (SDO), Kennett Township is currently involved in a major initiative to leverage its current world-class agriculture infrastructure to become a global hub of production, distribution, research, education and finance for the entire indoor agriculture industry.