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Tag: controlled environment agriculture

GLASE Hosts Inaugural Vivid Canopy Program at Indoor Ag-Con

Business leaders share why diversity is critical to success in the 2024 market 

 Pictured (L-R):  Stacia Lewis, Eden Green Technology; Nikki Thompson, Vertical Harvest Farms ; Nona Yehia (left) and Caroline Croft Estay (right), Vertical Harvest Farms.

 

Cornell University’s Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering (GLASE) consortium announced today the launch of its Vivid Canopy network to celebrate and foster diversity in the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry. The new professional network will kick off at Indoor Ag-Con with a session on Monday, March 11 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm PT. An interactive panel led by Women in CEA (WiCEA) will feature leaders from Vertical Harvest Farms, Dr. Greenhouse, and Skout Strategy. Participants will engage with panelists and other attendees at roundtable discussions led by Eden Green Technology and Re-Nuble.

The biggest challenge for today’s controlled environment agriculture industry is labor. According to the 2022 Greenhouse and Nursery Labor and Employment Survey by AmericanHort, employers are experiencing a shortage of about 20% in their workforce. Producers must change hiring practices to find and retain experienced staff to operate an efficient greenhouse or indoor farm. While today’s workforce is more diverse than ever before, professionals in the green industry have few ways to connect with individuals with similar lived experiences.

“Vivid Canopy is an opportunity to have an open and honest conversation regarding underrepresented communities in the industry. We want to create a space where connections can be made between people all working toward the same goal: a healthier and more sustainable future for everyone. This is necessary, especially now, as the indoor agriculture industry is growing and expanding. It will take everyone’s voices to reach our collective goal,” states Stacia Lewis, Grower, Eden Green.

Diversity and inclusion are strategies to adapt to the changing workforce. “Leaders of CEA companies have an opportunity to be transparent about the demographics of their workforce to attract more candidates and foster diversity in the industry,” shares Gretchen Schimelpfenig, Executive Director of GLASE.

“Like many industries being revolutionized by emergent technologies, women, minorities, and people with disabilities are often underrepresented.  Opportunities to network and hear from a wider range of industry voices helps diversify perspectives and expand the vision of what CEA can really accomplish – for everyone,” says Nona Yehia, CEO and co-founder of Vertical Harvest Farms.

“Women are natural collaborators and with WiCEA we are hoping to provide all women in CEA and their allies more opportunities to foster collaboration, support their professional development, and offer mentorship to those looking to advance within or enter the industry,” shares Erika Parente, initiator of the Women in CEA community.

“We’re excited to partner with GLASE to co-host ‘Vivid Canopy,'” says Suzanne Pruitt, Event Director, Indoor Ag-Con. “At Indoor Ag-Con, our core mission is to create a hub that fosters connections for all members of the controlled environment agriculture sector. Vivid Canopy embodies this mission by promoting diversity, inclusivity, and providing a platform for meaningful networking and job-sharing opportunities. Join us for a gathering where ideas will flow, new contacts will be forged, and the CEA community grows together.”

GLASE plans to host more Vivid Canopy networking events at green industry conferences in the future, like Cultivate and the GLASE Summit. Join the Vivid Canopy group on LinkedIn to stay in the know.

For more information:

Gretchen Schimelpfenig

ges252@cornell.edu

About GLASE

Guided by its Industry Advisory Board, GLASE and its partner academic institutions research the leading edge of LED systems engineering, plant photobiology and physiology, and greenhouse environmental controls and commercialize emerging technology to save growers money and reduce the carbon footprint of greenhouse operations. Since 2017, the GLASE consortium has delivered specialized short courses on high-tech greenhouse technology to provide credible continuing education for the CEA industry. Resources can be found at https://glase.org and @GLASEconsortium on YouTube.

About Women in CEA

Women in CEA (WiCEA) is a community open to all women (and allies) working in controlled environment agriculture. WiCEA’s purpose is to foster a collaborative and supportive environment through the power of networking, information and resource sharing. The WiCEA community endeavors to strengthen the overall industry of CEA, creating food stability in the face of climate change and geopolitical instability in a dynamic world. With a vision for 80% of CEA companies to have their female employees join WiCEA by 2025, the group is creating a space for women to innovate, connect and inspire.

Follow on LinkedIn.

 

Nourse Farms Continues to Lead the North American Berry Propagation Industry, Adopting New Tissue Culture Production Technology

John Place Nourse Farms
John Place, Nourse Farms CEO

For over 90 years, Nourse Farms (Indoor Ag-Con 2024 Booth 317) has remained steadfast in its commitment to providing growers with high-quality, virus-indexed, highly productive plants grown using the best possible practices. This commitment drives Nourse Farms to stay on the cutting edge of the latest developments in the industry.

To amplify Nourse Farms’ commitment to innovation, the North American berry plant propagator is embarking on an exciting journey in 2024. Later this year, Nourse Farms will open the 15-acre North Carolina greenhouse it acquired last year. Additionally, Nourse Farms expects to open a modern tissue culture lab and a seven-acre greenhouse for foundation material in Massachusetts.

Nourse Farms expects to open a modern tissue culture lab and a seven-acre greenhouse for foundation material in Massachusetts later this year.
Nourse Farms expects to open a modern tissue culture lab and a seven-acre greenhouse for foundation material in Massachusetts later this year.

Striving for a new era of excellence in tissue culture production, Nourse Farms’ modern tissue culture lab will include automated tissue culture planters developed and manufactured by Viscon, in close collaboration with ISO Group. The automated tissue culture planters are a tremendous breakthrough for growers, redefining and elevating production while operating in a sterile environment, resulting in increased quality products.

“Tissue culture has been the cornerstone of what we do for decades, so strategic investments in technology and advancements in this part of our operation are not only ideal but necessary,” said Nourse Farms CEO John Place. “With the exciting addition of Viscon’s automated tissue culture planters to our operation, we expect that we will see a significant increase in our production and efficiency.”

This innovative system meticulously transplants individual plants at a predetermined position and depth in the agar, ensuring higher explant quality and improved growth uniformity. The planter includes advanced gripper technology that prioritizes precision and certifies minimal physical plant damage. The automated planter features in-place tool sterilization and automatically sterilizes between transplant batches. Safeguarding sterility reduces the contamination risk seen in manual plant handling.

Nourse Farms’ modern tissue culture lab will include automated tissue culture planters developed and manufactured by Viscon, in close collaboration with ISO Group.
Nourse Farms’ modern tissue culture lab will include automated tissue culture planters developed and manufactured by Viscon, in close collaboration with ISO Group.

By adopting Viscon’s technology, Nourse Farms expects operational efficiency and control to strengthen due to enhanced traceability software that will capture data to help inform process decisions. The software uses barcoding technology that automatically tracks and traces plants in cups. This operation will allow Nourse Farms to monitor and accurately trace plants to the original plant material. By capturing this data, the growers can make informed plant production decisions based on production numbers, multiplication rates, material losses, and location status.

By utilizing this system, Nourse Farms’ skilled lab technicians can focus on preparing and cutting the plants for transplanting.

“This is a transformative time for growers and Nourse Farms is passionate about being at the forefront of implementing modern growing practices,” said Place. “We might be over 90 years old, but we’ve only just begun. We are proud to continue leading the North American berry propagation industry and look forward to what will come out of our new modern tissue culture lab.”

About Nourse Farms

For over 90 years, Nourse Farms has produced and sold premium quality small fruit plants to national and international commercial fruit growers, home gardeners, and resellers. Nourse Farms’ commitment to providing customers with virus-indexed, highly productive plants drives the organization to stay on the cutting edge of the latest developments in the industry. By identifying and testing new varieties and growing techniques, Nourse Farms stands behind its promise to deliver quality. What was once a strawberry nursery serving local growers has grown to be an internationally recognized soft fruit nursery selling strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, and blackberry plants. For more information about Nourse Farms, visit NourseFarms.com.

Navigating CEA Food Safety: Candid Q&A With Ceres Certifications, International President

Join us for a candid conversation with Dr. Karl Kolb, President of Ceres Certifications, International, and Ceres University, as he sheds light on the essentials of food safety in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Ahead of his CEA Food Safety Workshop at the March 2024 edition of Indoor Ag-Con, Dr. Kolb delves into the practical aspects of GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) standards, addressing common misconceptions. From understanding the risk-based approach in CEA to incorporating technology into safety measures, this Q&A provides straightforward insights. Dr. Kolb also offers pragmatic advice on how CEA operators can balance sustainability with the need for robust food safety.

How does the application of GFSI standards benefit controlled environment agriculture (CEA) operations, and what specific challenges or considerations should CEA operators be aware of when seeking food safety certification for their facilities?

Let me start by saying GFSI food safety standards are largely misunderstood across the entire food industry.  From their development, what they represent and how they are applied. It may sound unusual but if the owners and operators of food operations understood them, they would place them as their top priority in their daily schedule.  The leaders would not go home at night nor would any of their employees until every item in their food safety plan was checked, doublechecked and rechecked.

Food Safety Certification and GFSI StandardsThere are so many unique ways a GFSI or any “certificated” (non-GFSI) food safety standard benefits the operator. Defining “Operator” is anyone directly involved in any aspect of the food operation. From those who sell inputs such as seed, to those who plant the seed, those who irrigate, control watering, clean and sanitize, pull maintenance, process or pack, sell and ship the finished product — they are all operators.

Literally the information on food safety programs and their attributes would fill the Library of Congress.  And the quality systems that are used to apply the “standard” as we say, would fill a second Library of Congress.  Let me be clear, the application of a GFSI or food safety standard is the same across the board, to any food safety operation, CEA or the larger food industry. That statement scares CEA operators. CEA operators, like organic growers or small farmers, spend their life differentiating themselves from their counterparts.  Each one, and rightfully so believes and feels in their heart that they are uniquely different and performing the most important service to the public.  I cannot disagree with any of this because each operator is doing a phenomenal service to the largely unknowing public.

CEA operators should not fear the application of the GFSI standard. If, and that is a big if to be discussed later, it is applied correctly the CEA operator would intuitively know how greatly it benefits them. In short, each standard in a food safety scheme (Schemes are GFSI programs such as SQF, PGFS and HACCP to name a few.) is based on one of three or all three tenants; science, regulatory codes, and industry norms.  While there are variations of the GFSI schemes to accommodate the differences in some farming activities such as greenhouse farming by example, largely all food safety schemes inherently possess the same core requirements.  It’s how they are applied that makes the difference in each different operation.

Are there specialized considerations for food safety in CEA that may differ from traditional agriculture, and if so, how can operators navigate these nuances?

Herein is the one of my favorite topics about the application of the standard.  It is risk based.  In other words, each standard is applied the same but differently, based on a risk analysis. No matter what part of the food industry the operation is working in, the standard is the same.  This fact alone is one of the particular strengths of the GFSI system. The “specialized considerations” mentioned in your question are invoked at the time the auditor asks the question from the standard. Navigating these nuances as you stated are not what most people believe – for sure it’s not fancy footwork during an audit or attractive paperwork.  By example, I write some of the most boring, grammatically incorrect, ugly looking programs and policies, reports and logs ever.  Pretty and poetic is great but it doesn’t necessarily mean there is a meaningful robust program, “under the hood”, so to speak.

CEA Food SafetyThe “navigation” begins at the beginning (There is a song by Artie Shaw with a similar name referring to a dance or relationship from the 1920s that may have some carryover when applying the standard?) and thrives throughout the program and over time. It is the analysis of the particular “clause” in a food safety standard – this analysis begins with a complete understanding of what the clause is asking specifically and how it is intended to be applied.  Remember I spoke earlier about how a standard or clause is built? Science, regulatory and industry norms? A short explanation of Risk Analysis is in order to understand the next piece.  A risk analysis is a process which entails identifying risk, defining uncertainty, completing analysis models and implementing solutions.

Now I must back up a bit.  Life is about backing up and moving forward.  Just like learning from an audit.  The risk analysis is where the CEA operator differs from the larger industry and even his co-operators down the street. There is a yin and yang relationship between the auditor and the operator.  The auditor applies a process involving the standard or clause.  The auditor understands the standard and clause. He looks to the operator as the expert on the ground to explain how the operator applied the principles of risk analysis to the standard and what the operator’s solution or program properly answers the clause.

I’m sure by now the questions of how CEA differs from the larger industry and its fellow brethren are becoming clear.

Two absolutes must be respected in this dance (somehow credit Artie) or the yin and yang relationship.  1) The auditor must know his job and understand his or her role in the audit, 2) The operator must know his or her job of performing a risk analysis and explaining it to the auditor. That is the strength and difference CEA operators are looking for in GFSI audits.  However, finding #1 and #2 is like finding “hen’s teeth”. So sadly, audits become a checklist affair,  almost worthless and get a bad rap.

As a leader of a food safety certifying body, you’ve likely encountered various compliance issues.  What are some common misconceptions or overlooked aspects related to food safety that you believe CEA operators should be more aware of to improve the safety of their produce?

Not sure if I’m a leader but more of a learner or supporter.  We are largely a body of awesome women who I absolutely (adore) believe are the strength of this organization.  I have chosen smart, educated, dedicated and loyal women who don’t need to be told what to do or how to do it.

Our challenge is many-fold. It involves resources.  Time, money, training, staff needs and lastly, but first, compliance.

cEA Food safety 3My academic background is about quality.  Quality is defined properly, partially by the ISO system and my experience, “Quality standards are sets of good manufacturing practices (“Best Practices”), methods, systems, requirements, and or specifications established by science, regulators and industry to help operators achieve and demonstrate consistent production and product qualities.” Do not confuse quality with quality.  We are not talking about quality like the organoleptic head of lettuce qualities, although quality systems do define this commodity standard.  Quality is all about consistency.

A great and successful example is McDonalds.  Sadly, my default menu on too many occasions. They grew fast and successfully by using a quality model. The bros McDonald correctly set their goal as fast, good, cheap and consistent burgers across the land.  It’s not that the burgers are the best ever (sorry bros however the fish sandwich is the best) but everything from the sandwich itself to the service is consistently the same.  Go anywhere and the McDonalds experience is not 100% every time, listen well, it’s the same experience every time. Manufacturing excellence is achieved through consistency. And to those who are manufacturers we know that it’s not 100% that is achieved every time but the 90% mark is where quality is achieved.

Compliance at the operator level is all about consistency.  A food safety program cannot run at 100%, but it can run properly at 90% and achieve science, regulatory and industry expectations. The challenge of both myself as a certification body and that of the operator is keeping up and applying the science, regulations and industry expectations in auditors and operators as they work though (think root cause analysis) risk analysis solutions.

The audit is not meant to be a checklist drill but the yin and yang of auditor and operator.

As technology continues to play a significant role in CEA, how do advancements in automation and data-driven systems impact food safety protocols, and what advice do you have for growers looking to integrate these technologies while maintaining a strong food safety program?

Automation should serve the food safety program, not drive, define or prescribe it.  I once asked a very wise and experienced individual with a very large certifying body how he conducted audits. This gentleman told me he would take a blank yellow pad and walk into a food plant and begin asking questions.  He had infinite knowledge of the standard. He went and asked questions until he got the answers that rang true.  This is the ultimate in determining the robustness of a food safety program. I’m sure the yellow pad had a lot to do with it too.

As I taught in the classroom, you define automation, don’t let it define you.  All too often we fall for the “sizzle” of what these systems are said to do and we find out the sizzle is not from a tenderloin but a burger. (My apologies to the bros McDonald.)

With the growing importance of sustainability in agriculture,  how can CEA operators balance the use of sustainable practices with the need for rigorous food safety measures.  Are there specific certifications or guidelines they should consider?  

CEA food safety 5As you can tell by now, my perspective on food safety is different from anything else – I learned as a manufacturing engineer that when things don’t work as they should (different from the standard) you go back to the basics and start over – in this case, the basics of quality.

I started this interview by saying GFSI food safety standards are largely misunderstood across the entire food industry. Here again, I must separate the norm from what I believe is important. We as an industry do not understand quality systems and their concepts or requirements.

Sustainability is all about quality systems.  Quality systems are not a point in time like an audit. Nor is sustainability.  The question is, “How do we sustain quality?” Sustainability has become defined as a social construct. Wrong. Sustainability is doing the same thing consistently and improving time after time for a sustained period of time. Not more or new twists of the standard.

I have tried in this interview to impress your readers that the GFSI system must be embraced in a quality fashion.  As a process and not in a one-time checklist inspection.  While we gloat that GFSI is the best food safety system in the world and the US leads the way, we all drank the kool-aid.

We have been lucky as a nation illness-wise, to date.  As the demand for food increases what we do now, what we call food safety of trying to pass a once-a-year chaotic intervention (annual audit) of our operations, is not sustainable.

A good friend (Bob Wright) sums it this way, “Does it make the food any safer?”

Thanks for listening and apologies to anyone offended, especially the bros McDonald.

 

Karl Kolb, Ph.D., is the founder and President of the High Sierra Group companies, which services more than 10,000 customers with Ceres Certifications, International (ISO 17065 food safety certifying body), HSG/AME Certified Laboratories (17025 food testing laboratories), Ceres University (Accredited, degree granting), High Sierra Chemicals and Epicure Farms.

 

 

Unlock the Secrets To A Safer, Higher Quality Harvest With March 2024 CEA Food Safety Workshop  Registration Fee Includes
Expo Floor Access & Up To 3 CEUs

LEARN MORE & REGISTER TODAY!

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. Workshop fee 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.

LEARN MORE & REGISTER TODAY!

 

Industry Leaders From Gotham Greens, Plenty, Red Sun Farms, Soli Organic Join Keynote Line-Up For Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas 2024

Top Execs Share Insights on  Future Landscape of Controlled Environment Agriculture

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce its third keynote address, “Leader Insights: Charting the Future Landscape of Controlled Environment Agriculture,” led by industry veterans on Monday, March 11 at 11am. The keynote will feature Moderator, Daniel Malech, Board Chair of the CEA Alliance and SVP, Plenty, Jim DiMenna, President of Red Sun Farms, Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, and Matt Ryan, CEO of Soli Organic.

In this compelling keynote presentation, attendees will discover the foresight from industry leaders as they share their predictions, strategies, and unique perspectives on the emerging trends that will shape the landscape of controlled environment agriculture. Attendees will gain valuable insights to stay ahead in this dynamic field and be part of the conversation that is charting the course for the future of sustainable and innovative food production.

This panel joins the Indoor Ag-Con 2024 headliner keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with Paul Sellew, CEO, Little Leaf Farms and the day two morning keynote from Adam Bergman, Global Head of Agtech for Citi. These all-star leaders and keynotes will engage and inspire attendees.

“We are excited to bring this panel of CEA industry leaders to our keynote stage to offer insider tips and predictions shaped by real world experience. The keynote will provide key takeaways about the future of indoor agriculture, as it holds tremendous promise as a sustainable solution to the challenges posed by traditional farming methods,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.

In addition to Indoor Ag-Con’s Keynotes, the event will feature educational panels, sessions and other presentation formats aligned in several Conference tracks.  Attendees will also 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.

Daniel Malech, Board Chair, CEA Alliance & SVP, Plenty

Dan chairs the Board of Directors of indoor agriculture trade association the CEA Alliance, with a focus on developing category-wide metrics and guidelines as well as policy advocacy.  Dan is also the SVP of Strategy & General Counsel at Plenty, where he oversees corporate strategy, legal, compliance, government affairs and sustainability. His work helps drive scale for the indoor vertical farming company, including structuring and closing on multiple industry-leading strategic partnerships and financing rounds.

Jim DiMenna, Red Sun Farms

Jim DiMenna is the President of Red Sun Farms, one of the largest vertically integrated high-tech greenhouse vegetable growers with ownership of each stage of the process; seed selection, to plant growth, to harvesting, packaging and distribution. Red Sun Farms has over 800 acres throughout Mexico, USA and Canada. Born and raised in Leamington Ontario, the produce business has always been a part of Jim’s  life. As a teen, he worked his way up from the packing room into sales and marketing before starting his own firm J-D Marketing in 1990. In 2001, Jim formed JEMD International along with Golden Jem Farms, to meet the industry call for better direct-line connections between the retailers, distributors and growers. In 2008, Jem D International merged with Agricola El Rosal, and was rebranded as Red Sun Farms.

Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens

Viraj Puri co-founded Gotham Greens, a pioneer in indoor agriculture and a leading fresh food company. A Certified B Corporation™, Gotham Greens farms with the future in mind, delivering long-lasting and delicious leafy greens, herbs, salad kits, salad dressings, dips and cooking sauces all year round to retail, restaurant and foodservice customers. Over the past decade under Viraj’s leadership, Gotham Greens has grown to be one of the largest and most commercially successful indoor farming companies in the world with more than 500 employees and 13 high-tech greenhouse facilities across nine U.S. states. Prior to Gotham Greens, Viraj led start-up enterprises in the United States, India and Malawi focused on sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy and environmental design.

Matt Ryan, CEO, Soli Organic

As CEO, Matt Ryan’s focus is on strengthening the company’s competitive advantages and achieving scaled topline growth. Prior to his role at Soli Organic, Ryan served as the chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer at Starbucks where he developed and executed marketing and strategy plans, managed the food and beverage portfolio 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 in history from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude.

About Indoor Ag-Con

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.

Gotham Greens CEO Talks Sustainable Growth, Innovative Technologies and Exciting Milestones

In this month’s CEA Q&A, we speak with Gotham Greens‘ CEO Viraj Puri, who is joining our Indoor Ag-Con 2024 “Leader Insights” keynote panel in March! A true CEA leader, Gotham Greens has made a  remarkable journey from a single rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn to becoming one of the largest hydroponic leafy green producers in North America. From tackling the challenges of the South’s hot and humid climate with cutting-edge greenhouse technologies to introducing fresh salad kits and championing sustainability, Puri shares valuable insights into the company’s growth, initiatives, milestones and commitment to reshaping the future of agriculture.

Gotham Greens Georgia_4_Credit Gotham Greens

Gotham Greens has rapidly expanded across the U.S since its launch in 2011 – now operating in various states and climates. Can you share some insights into the innovative technologies and strategies employed by your latest greenhouse in the southeast, particularly addressing the challenges posed by the region’s hot and humid climate?

As we continue to grow our brand, we’re excited to expand in the South and Southeast with new greenhouses in Texas and Georgia. At Gotham Greens, we’re committed to growing more with less, especially as changing climates are creating less favorable growing conditions in these states and across the country. These new greenhouses use our most advanced technology to date, including enhanced automation, cooling and dehumidification systems specifically tailored to the regions, and data science capabilities in a fully closed system to help consistently and reliably grow food closer to where people live no matter the weather outside. We’re proud to bring fresh, sustainably grown leafy greens and herbs that meet the high-quality standard consumers everywhere have come to associate with and expect from the Gotham Greens brand.

The new, state-of-the-art greenhouse facilities in the Dallas Metro area (Seagoville, Texas) and in Monroe, Ga., located between Atlanta and Athens, are examples of what comes next as we face ongoing extreme weather events and increased risk of drought in the U.S. Gotham Greens’ indoor farms create the ideal conditions for plants to thrive and provide consumers throughout the southern U.S. with sustainable fresh produce all year-round.

Gotham Greens recently introduced a new line of salad kits, combining your high-quality greens and dressings.  Can you speak to the inspiration behind these salad kits and the response from consumers?

Gotham Greens is well known for our high quality, longer lasting, pesticide-free salad greens and our line of fresh, flavorful salad dressings, and this portfolio addition combines these ingredients for a quick and easy meal solution made with premium-quality salad greens and delicious flavors that consumers crave. The new salad kits are available in three popular flavor varieties (Green Goddess, Southwest Ranch and Caesar) and are packed with fresh ingredients, including Gotham Greens greenhouse-grown lettuce and fresh flavor-filled toppings and dressings, for convenient home-cooked meals or lunches on the go.

We want people to enjoy fresh greens throughout the day, and we remain committed to bringing consumers the best-tasting, most flavorful fresh foods in the category. What sets us apart from the competition is quality and flavor, from the greens that we grow to the ingredients that we use in all our products, and we hope that consumers can sense that commitment to taste, quality and sustainability in every bite. We’ve received a lot of positive feedback about the kits so far and are excited to bring them to more markets this winter.

 

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Gotham Greens has championed sustainability, using significantly less water and land compared to traditional farming methods.  How do you envision the future of sustainable agriculture, especially within the CEA industry?  Are there upcoming initiatives or partnerships that will further strengthen Gotham Greens’ commitment to sustainability?

As a Certified B Corporation™, Gotham Greens champions quality, efficiency, dedication and freshness in all forms, both inside its greenhouses and throughout the communities where it operates. In addition to creating year-round, full-time jobs with competitive wages and benefits, we are driving the industry toward a more sustainable food system through industry-leading social and environmental practices. Our hydroponic growing methods help us use up to 90% less water than conventional growing methods, which means that at our current footprint, Gotham Greens saves 300 million gallons of water every year compared to field-grown farming, or the equivalent to around 450 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Whole Foods Market’s ninth annual trend report recently recognized our greens for promoting water conservation, a growing interest point for consumers. Gotham Greens’ national network of greenhouses provides a consistent and reliable supply of fresh greens for customers while eliminating the need for long-distance transportation, allowing its produce to stay fresher longer, thus increasing shelf life and decreasing food waste. As we continue to expand across the country, we look forward to deepening our relationships with key educational partners, such as University of California-Davis, as we help shape the agricultural climate of the future.

 

Gotham Greens Georgia_4_Credit Gotham GreensFrom a single rooftop greenhouse in Brooklyn to one of the largest hydroponic leafy green producers in North America, Gotham Greens has undergone remarkable growth.  Are there specific milestones or initiatives you’re particularly excited about in the next phase of Gotham Greens development?

We recently celebrated our twelfth birthday in addition to the tenth anniversary of our second greenhouse located in Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood on the roof of Whole Foods Market. The country’s first rooftop commercial-scale greenhouse integrated into a supermarket has now blossomed into a global movement of urban and innovative farming projects. This anniversary feels extra special, as this pioneering project has served as an inspiration to urban farming projects around the world. We’re especially grateful to Whole Foods Market for over a decade of supporting our mission to bring fresh, local and sustainably grown produce to its stores. We have additional plans for expansion and look forward to sharing more about that later this year!

Learn more about Gotham Greens by visiting their website.

And, make plans now to attend the March 11-12, 2024 edition of Indoor Ag-Con as Viraj joins other CEA executives on our keynote stage for our midday keynote session on day one:  “Leader Insights: Charting the Future Landscape of Controlled Environment Agriculture”.  Learn more about our full conference schedule and join us!

All photos courtesy of Gotham Greens.

New Cannabis Conference Track Joins Indoor Ag-Con’s Conference Line-Up March 11-12, 2024 at Caesars Forum In Las Vegas

200+ Exhibitors, Three Keynotes, Engaging Conference, and Networking Events Come Together For Largest and Leading Show Dedicated To Indoor Agriculture At Caesars Forum

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/cultivators, ag tech leaders, suppliers, advocates and enthusiasts under one roof to experience all that Indoor Ag-Con has to offer including for the first time, a NEW Cannabis Conference track for cultivators.

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.”

Cannabis Track Joins Robust Conference   

The Conference features two jam-packed days of educational and insightful sessions from 80+ speakers in four tracks including the NEW Cannabis track, designed specifically for cannabis cultivators and will dive into the key industry issues and best practices for ideal grow environments. Track sessions include: Past, Present & Future: The State of the Evolving Cannabis Landscape,” “Elevate Your Cannabis Grow: Finding the Right Vertical Racking Systems for Optimal Efficiency,” “Crossroads of Cannabis: MSO Evolution and Legacy Resilience,” “Unveiling the Essence: Mastering Terpene Excellence in Cannabis Cultivation,” and “Bridging The Gap: Integrating Cannabis Cultivation with Traditional Horticulture for Operation Excellence.” Additional tracks include Planning & Operations, Grower, and Cultivating Possibilities. Indoor Ag-Con’s Conference sessions will span multiple topics including “Bridging the Gap Between CEA Producers and Buyers”, “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 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.

 

Little Leaf Farms CEO: Navigating Sustainable Growth and Fresh Innovations

Join us for this month’s Q&A with Paul Sellew, the forward-thinking Founder & CEO of Little Leaf Farms, the largest U.S. greenhouse producer of hydroponic baby greens.   As the opening morning keynote speaker for the March 11-12, 2024 edition of Indoor Ag-Con, Paul sheds light on the challenges and opportunities of expanding Little Leaf Farms’ footprint, the eco-friendly practices that set it apart, and the company’s commitment to a farmer-first mindset.  From becoming the top-selling lettuce in New England to doubling production capacity with the recent expansion into McAdoo, PA, Sellew gives a glimpse into the company’s commitment to sustainable agriculture and its exciting plans for the future.

Given Little Leaf Farms’ recent milestone of becoming the #1 best-selling packaged lettuce in New England and the opening of a new greenhouse in McAdoo, PA, what challenges and opportunities do you foresee in expanding your footprint to new regions – and how does this contribute to your goal of reaching 100 acres under glass by 2026?
Little Leaf Farms.Packaging

When we opened our first greenhouse, we set out to build a more resilient food system and have pioneered a peri-urban approach in controlled environment agriculture. This means that our greenhouses are built in the surrounding regions of major urban centers to minimize the amount our leafy greens have to travel to reach the consumer, resulting in a lettuce that lasts longer and tastes better. We know this is the right model to enable us to bring our leafy greens to markets all over the country and are confident that once consumers in those new markets try our lettuce, they’ll never go back.

Little Leaf emphasizes sustainability. Can you highlight specific environmental practices that set the company apart and resonate with consumers?

Little Leaf Farms Indoor Ag-ContentEvery step of our growing process was designed to limit our impact on the planet. For example, we utilize captured rainwater in our soil-less farming, which results in 90% less water usage than field-grown greens. Plus our greenhouse locations are in regions with high natural precipitation and not dependent on groundwater as the west coast growers do.  . Our Devens, MA greenhouse gets 45 inches of rain per year alone and we use all of it, whereas Salinas, California sees only 10 inches of rain per year.

Our greenhouses are also built to maximize the free power of the sun, enabling us to grow our leafy greens with natural sunlight and solar-powered energy. We’re also using space much more efficiently and have 30 times more yield than conventional farms. In fact, 10 acres of our indoor greenhouse replaces 300 acres in a traditional farm. Our packages are just as important to our process, which is why they’re made from 100% post-consumer PET, which makes them infinitely recyclable and provides a much longer shelf life, too.

In a competitive market environment, what sets Little Leaf Farms apart, and how do you plan to maintain your leadership position as you expand to new markets?

Little Leaf Farms.ProcessWe have always approached growing lettuce as a farming company, rather than a tech company. While we are technologists and our technology is cutting-edge, our priority is growing sustainable, local lettuce that most importantly, tastes great. Our lettuce arrives on grocery store shelves within 24 hours of harvesting, spending less time traveling than most other lettuces. This, in addition to our highly automated system and sustainable growing practices, results in fresh, flavorful leafy greens that remain crispy a remarkably long time after purchase. At the end of the day, we’re growing food. People want to buy and eat what tastes good, and our amazing taste is what’s going to continue to be the differentiator for us.  We’ve also grown our business in a way that gives us the ability to scale profitably and better service our retailers, which is going to continue to put us in a position to challenge and compete with field-grown brands as we enter new markets. We’ve surpassed field-grown greens in New England and I’m confident we can replicate that success in other markets across the country as we grow.

In discussing the company’s success, you’ve mentioned maintaining a “farming company” mindset rather than a “tech play” approach.  Can you elaborate on how this mindset influences decision-making, innovation, and the overall character of Little Leaf, especially considering the evolving landscape of technology in agriculture?

Little Leaf Farms. PAOur business is about farming, and we consider farming a people-based business that puts the crop first. This mindset enables us to recruit the best team of growers, R&D staff, operations staff, and more to carry out our mission of growing fresh leafy greens for all. The farmer-first mindset also reinforces our commitment to growing a product that tastes great and that people actually want to eat, which ties directly to our mission of bringing fresh, leafy greens for all.

What’s next for Little Leaf Farms?

Our current focus is on getting our leafy greens to as many consumers as possible. Our recent expansion into McAdoo, PA has not only doubled our production capacity but has increased our retail presence to nearly 5,000 stores, expanding our footprint to include retailers in the Midwest and Southeast.

Little Leaf Farms.PA 2We’ve also expanded our product line to now offer salad kits made with our signature Baby Crispy Green Leaf lettuce, which had an initial launch in the Northeast this fall but will be expanding to our full distribution footprint in January 2024.

Learn more about Little Leaf Farms by visiting the website.  And, make plans now to join us for Indoor Ag-Con 2024 to hear Paul’s opening morning keynote address at 8 am on Monday, March 11, 2024!

CEA Food Safety Spotlight: Pythium Is Killing CEA Profits

Indoor Ag-Con will host a CEA Food Safety Pre-Event Workshop in conjunction with Ceres University on March 10, 2024. Looking ahead to this session, we’ve launched a monthly column to explore  key issues and actionable improvements you can implement for your food safety and food quality processes.  This month, the experts at AME Certified PCR Laboratories explore the soil-borne fungi Pythium.

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Pythium is a group of soil-borne fungi that can cause significant damage to Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) crops. CEA creates a controlled environment to enhance and boost plant growth. CEA produces high-quality, consistent crops year-round (FAO, 2019). Pythium can quickly turn a profitable CEA operation into a loss-making one.

Pythium fungi are known to cause root rot, damping-off, and other diseases in plants. These diseases can lead to stunted growth, reduced yield, and even plant death (Savary et al., 2019). Pythium is particularly harmful to CEA crops because the controlled environment provides an ideal environment for the fungi to thrive. The high humidity, warm temperatures, and lack of natural predators make it easy for Pythium to spread and cause damage quickly (Babiker et al., 2019).

The traditional method of detecting Pythium in CEA crops involves sending samples to a laboratory for testing. This process can be time-consuming and expensive, and by the time the results come back, the damage may have already been done. However, in-house qRt-PCR testing can rapidly, accurately, and cost-effectively solve these profit-losing issues (Gachango et al., 2016).

Quantitative, real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is a molecular biology method that can detect the presence of Pythium DNA in CEA crops within one (1) hour.  Managers sample plant tissue or water and qRT-PCR can provide test results that are highly accurate and reliable (Babiker et al., 2019). In addition, in-house qRT-PCR testing is much more cost-effective than sending samples to a laboratory for testing (Gachango et al., 2016).

By bringing qRT-PCR testing in-house, CEA operators can quickly detect the presence of Pythium and take applicable actions to prevent the spread of the harmful fungus, such as treating infected plants, adjusting the environmental conditions to reduce the spread of the fungus, or implementing other control measures (Savary et al., 2019).

 

 

About AME Certified PCR Laboratories

AME

AME Certified PCR Laboratories delivers in-house testing systems to food production facilities featuring qRT-PCR(DNA), GCMS, and NGS testing systems.  Learn more 

 

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

References:

Babiker, E. M., Mohamed, M. E., & Elshikh, M. S. (2019). Pythium species: incidence, diversity, and pathogenicity in greenhouse crops in Sudan. Journal of Plant Pathology, 101(3), 617-623.

FAO. (2019). Controlled Environment Agriculture. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/sustainable-food-value-chains/our-work/themes/controlled-environment-agriculture/en/

Gachango, E., Wang, Y., & Wang, Z. (2016). Use of in-house qRt-PCR for quick detection of Pythium ultimum in hydroponic nutrient solutions. Journal of Plant Pathology & Microbiology, 7(1), 1-5.

Savary, S., Bregaglio, S., Willocquet, L., Gustafson, D., Mason D’Croz, D., Sparks, A., & Castilla, N. (2019). Crop health and its global impacts on the components of food security. Food Security, 11(2), 445-460.

Netafim Partners with Vermillion Growers to Open State-of-the-Art Commercial Greenhouse In Central Canada

Orbia’s Precision Agriculture business, Netafim (Indoor Ag-Con 2024 Exhibitor!) has partnered with Vermillion Growers to build a large-scale vegetable greenhouse in Manitoba, Canada. Gakon Netafim, the company’s commercial greenhouse project division, is a world-renowned leader in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). The facility celebrated its grand opening on July 27, 2023, a significant milestone for Orbia, Vermillion Growers, and the local community.

Based in Dauphin, Vermillion Growers will begin growing tomatoes year-round across 10 acres, with plans to expand their production area and grow additional crops. Canada currently imports over 75% of its vegetables and 50% of its tomatoes. By reducing shipping time, customers can get fresh, higher-quality tomatoes at their local grocery stores, even in remote communities. By reducing transit time and the resulting spoilage, this exciting new development also cuts down on food waste.

Orbia Precision Agriculture Technology to Support Sustainable Practices

Gakon Netafim’s greenhouse solutions make it possible, and profitable, to meet consumers’ preferences for local produce that is grown sustainably.

The roof structure on the greenhouse will collect enough water to meet 50% of the entire facility’s irrigation needs. Additionally, the double-screen system minimizes light pollution and reduces the overall energy used by 50%. “The double-screen technology is optimal for controlling the climate in the greenhouse and allows for greater energy savings and efficiency,” says Ricky Elz, Greenhouse Key Account Project Manager at Gakon Netafim. “The blackout screens provide shading to crops and are essential to crop growth in the greenhouse.”

“Our partnership with Vermillion Growers is an exciting part of our Greenhouse Business and I’m excited for what comes next. All of us at Orbia are proud to play a role in positively impacting the many communities of Manitoba,” said Claude Corcos, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Orbia’s Precision Agriculture business, Netafim USA.

Economic Benefits and Community Impact

Since Vermillion Growers’ opening, it has hired 30 new full-time employees and will eventually bring over 200 jobs to the community. Vermillion has further partnered with Assiniboine Community College, a local college in Dauphin which will begin offering a Horticultural Production program this fall to provide education and training to those in the community who are interested in pursuing work in the field, including work at Vermillion Growers.

Notably, Vermillion Growers has provided job training and support to several workers who relocated from Ukraine to escape from conflict. Per Capita, Dauphin has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in Canada.

“The combination of world-class greenhouse technology and local expertise is why Vermillion invested in Gakon Netafim solutions,” says Maria Deschauer, managing director of Vermillion Growers. “We prioritize growing fresh produce, as well as healthy people and sustainable communities. All three are connected and we are thrilled for their support.”

About Netafim

Netafim, Orbia’s Precision Agriculture business, is the world’s largest irrigation company and a global leader in precision agriculture solutions committed to fight scarcity of food, water and land, for a sustainable future. Founded in 1965, Netafim pioneered the drip revolution, creating a paradigm shift toward precision irrigation. Today, specializing in end-to-end solutions from the water source to the root zone, Netafim delivers irrigation and greenhouse projects, as well as landscape and mining irrigation solutions supported by engineering, project management and financing services. Netafim is also leading the way in digital farming, irrigation and fertigation, integrating real-time monitoring, analysis and automated control into one state-of-the-art system. With 33 subsidiaries, 19 manufacturing plants, 2 recycling plants and more than 5000 employees worldwide, Netafim delivers innovative, tailor-made irrigation and fertigation solutions to millions of farmers, allowing smallholders to large-scale agricultural producers and investors, in over 110 countries, to grow more with less™.

About Orbia

Orbia is a company driven by a shared purpose: to advance life around the world. Orbia operates in the Polymer Solutions (Vestolit and Alphagary), Building and Infrastructure (Wavin), Precision Agriculture (Netafim), Connectivity Solutions (Dura-Line) and Fluorinated Solutions (Koura) sectors. The five Orbia business groups have a collective focus on expanding access to health and wellness, reinventing the future of cities and homes, ensuring food and water security, connecting communities to information and accelerating a circular economy with basic and advanced materials, specialty products and innovative solutions. Orbia has commercial activities in more than 110 countries and operations in over 50, with global headquarters in Boston, Mexico City, Amsterdam and Tel Aviv.

About Vermillion Growers
Vermillion Growers is the first large-scale vegetable greenhouse in Manitoba, Canada. Its mission is to grow high-quality produce, healthy people, and sustainable communities. The greenhouse is helping to bridge the gap in food production in Central Canada by producing fresh tomatoes year-round. Vermillion Growers utilizes industry-leading technology to operate an efficient and environmentally sustainable facility.