Skip to main content

Tag: Food safety

Food Safety Spotlight | Pseudomonas in CEA Grows: Challenges and Solutions

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 take a deep dive into Pseudomonas pathogens, addressing the problems they can cause for CEA crops and potential solutions.

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is a technology-based approach to produce high-quality, nutritious, and fresh food in a sustainable and efficient manner. CEA systems include greenhouses, vertical farms, hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics, among others. CEA offers many advantages over conventional agriculture, such as reduced water and land use, increased crop yield and quality, reduced pesticide and fertilizer use, and year-round production. However, CEA also faces some serious challenges, such as high energy and capital costs, complex management and operation, and potential biosecurity risks. One of the major biosecurity risks in CEA is the occurrence of plant diseases caused by various pathogens, such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and nematodes. Among these pathogens, Pseudomonas spp. are particularly problematic for CEA crops.

Pseudomonas spp. are ubiquitous gram-negative bacteria that can colonize various environments, including soil, water, plants, animals, and humans. Some Pseudomonas spp. are beneficial for plant growth and health, such as Pseudomonas fluorescens and Pseudomonas putida, which can produce plant growth-promoting substances, solubilize minerals, antagonize pathogens, and induce systemic resistance in plants. However, some Pseudomonas spp. are pathogenic for plants, causing diseases such as leaf spots, blights, wilts, rots, cankers, galls, and vascular disorders. Some of the most notorious plant pathogenic Pseudomonas spp. are Pseudomonas syringae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas cichorii, Pseudomonas viridiflava, and Pseudomonas corrugata. These pathogens can infect a wide range of CEA crops, such as lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, eggplant, basil, mint, rosemary, and lavender.

Pseudomonas spp. can cause significant losses in CEA systems due to their high virulence, wide host range, rapid multiplication, diverse survival strategies, and resistance to antibiotics and disinfectants. Pseudomonas spp. can enter CEA systems through various sources, such as contaminated seeds, planting materials, irrigation water, tools, equipment, workers’ hands and clothes, insects and other vectors. Once inside the CEA system, Pseudomonas spp. can spread quickly through the recirculating water or nutrient solution, the humid and warm air, the plant-to-plant contact, or the mechanical damage caused by pruning or harvesting. Pseudomonas spp. can also persist in the CEA system for long periods of time by forming biofilms on surfaces, producing extracellular polysaccharides that protect them from desiccation and disinfection, or entering a dormant state that allows them to survive unfavorable conditions.

The management of Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems is challenging due to the limited availability of effective control measures. The use of resistant or tolerant cultivars is not always feasible or sufficient, as Pseudomonas spp. can overcome host resistance by mutating or acquiring new virulent factors. The use of chemical pesticides is not desirable or permitted in CEA systems, as they can pose health and environmental risks, reduce crop quality and marketability, and select for resistant strains of Pseudomonas. The use of biological control agents (BCAs), such as beneficial bacteria or fungi that can antagonize or suppress Pseudomonas, is promising but not consistent or reliable, as BCAs can be affected by environmental factors, interactions with other microorganisms, or interference from the host plant. Therefore, there is a need for alternative or complementary control measures that can effectively prevent or reduce Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems.

One of the potential solutions for managing Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems is the use of an in-house qRT-PCR testing laboratory. In house laboratory systems deliver in-house testing systems to food production facilities featuring qRT-PCR (DNA), GCMS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometry), and NGS (next-generation sequencing) testing systems. qRT-PCR is a molecular technique that can detect and quantify small amounts of DNA in a sample by amplifying specific target sequences using primers and probes. qRT-PCR is recognized as the most accurate form of testing for food and human disease identification because it is highly sensitive and specific and can detect small amounts of DNA in a sample. qRT-PCR testing works by amplifying small amounts of DNA in a sample, making it easier to detect and identify. This makes it ideal for identifying the source of food contamination, as well as identifying the source of a human disease.

The benefits of using an in-house qRT-PCR testing laboratory for managing Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems are manifold. First, it can provide fast and actionable data that can help the CEA facility to prevent or reduce Pseudomonas contamination and infection by implementing timely and appropriate control measures. Second, it can reduce the cost and time of testing by eliminating the need to send samples to external laboratories and wait for the results. Third, it can improve the quality and safety of the CEA products by ensuring that they are free from Pseudomonas and other pathogens and meet the regulatory and market standards. Fourth, it can enhance the reputation and credibility of the CEA facility by demonstrating its commitment to food safety and quality assurance.

Pseudomonas spp. are serious threats to CEA systems that can cause significant losses in crop yield and quality. The management of Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems is challenging due to the limited availability of effective control measures. One of the potential solutions for managing Pseudomonas diseases in CEA systems is the use of an in-house qRT-PCR testing laboratory. PCR based laboratories provides in-house testing systems that can rapidly and accurately identify Pseudomonas spp. and other pathogens in the CEA system and provide fast and actionable data that can help the CEA facility to prevent or reduce Pseudomonas contamination and infection by implementing timely and appropriate control measures.

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 at

CEA Food Safety Summit
Click images above to learn more about Pre-Event Workshop.


Albright, L. D. (2019). Controlled environment agriculture: past, present, future. Agronomy, 9(12), 777.

Hwang, S. H., Park, M., Lee, J., & Lee, J. H. (2015). Pseudomonas aeruginosa as an opportunistic pathogen on plants: how are they recognized?. Journal of microbiology (Seoul, Korea), 53(4), 207.

Kupferschmied, P., Maurhofer, M., & Keel, C. (2013). Promise for plant pest control: root-associated pseudomonads with insecticidal activities. Frontiers in plant science, 4, 287.

Mittelberger, C., Obkircher, L., Oberkofler, V., Ianeselli, A., Kerschbamer, C., Gallmetzer, A., … & Janik, K. (2020). Development of a universal endogenous qPCR control for eukaryotic DNA samples. Plant methods, 16(1), 1-11.

Song, Y., Wang, Y., Guo, D., & Jing, L. (2019). Selection of reference genes for quantitative real-time PCR normalization in the plant pathogen Puccinia helianthi Schw. BMC plant biology, 19(1), 1-12.

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:

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 –

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 –

Food Safety: Make the Most of Your Self-Assessment

No matter what type of food safety program your operation has, a self-assessment is an important component. All GFSI-benchmarked standards (such as GLOBALG.A.P., PrimusGFS, SQF, and BRC) require a self-assessment to be performed at least annually.

Do not look at the self-assessment as “another thing to be done”, but as an opportunity to give your entire food safety program a vital review. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your self-assessment.

  1. Team up. The more eyes you have looking at your processes during a self-assessment, the more you will see. Just like it is almost impossible to effectively proof-read your own writing (because you’ll aways see what you meant to say instead of what is actually written), it can be very hard to assess your own food safety program. At least one person on the team should be the trained expert, likely the Food Safety Manager, but the rest of the team can vary quite a bit. It is good to have people with “boots on the ground” involved, since they can tell you if the policy matches the practice. However, completely fresh eyes, from say, someone in administration, may prompt questions you have been overlooking or failed to consider. And the team doesn’t have to be the same for all aspects of the self-assessment—no need to keep a warehouse manager tied up for field-harvest portions of the self-assessment, for example.
  2. Be sure to conduct the self-assessment while relevant activities are taking place. Really watch what happens in daily activities to ensure that your policy is aligned with actual practices. You may need to conduct certain portions of the self-assessment at different times of the day or even different times of the year. Be sure that your self-assessment is conducted before your audit, and, vitally, far enough in advance to sufficiently address any non-conformances you identify.
  3. As you conduct your self-assessment, be sure to focus on the process not the product. For example, a bin of apples may look great, but did you witness the process of harvesting this bin of apples to make sure all food safety risks were mitigated to the best extent possible? Even better than observing a good result (such as the nice bin of apples) is a chance to observe what is done when something goes wrong—how do the workers react, are they trained in what to do, did the process work to catch the problem?
  4. Document, document, document. As we say in food safety, if it isn’t documented it didn’t happen! In a self-assessment especially, documentation is vital (and required by most schemes). Go by the standard point-by-point and document evidence that each requirement is being met. Non-conformances MUST be well-documented. Be sure to document who is responsible for each required corrective action, and the timeframe within which it is to be completed. And of course, FOLLOW UP! Make sure the corrective actions effectively addressed the non-conformances that were found.
  5. Communicate to Management. A self-assessment that never leaves the food safety office does not have nearly the power of a self-assessment whose results are communicated to management. Although it may not be pleasant, management really does want to know where operational improvements can be made. Every operation can develop blind spots, but an effective self-assessment can identify and correct these. Additionally, it is far better to learn of these opportunities from an internal self-assessment (and it’s corresponding corrective actions) than from a third-party auditor where consequences can be greater. Some of the non-conformances identified by the food safety self-assessment may be indicative of broader issues across the operation.

Conducted correctly, a self-assessment can be the most powerful component of a food safety plan. This “check-up from the neck up” can get you in great shape for your audit and, more importantly, bring meaningful improvements to your operation.

About Kellie Worrell
Kellie Worrell has an extensive background in Agriculture and Food Safety. She has written several accurate ag children’s books, including the Virginia Ag In the Classroom Book of the Year. She has served as Food Safety Officers for farms with a wide variety of fresh vegetables, and is currently the GLOBALG.A.P. Scheme Manager at Ceres Certifications, International (CCI). CCI offers a wide range of food safety certifications. For more information visit


About Ceres Certifications, International
Ceres Certifications, International (CCI) has been serving the produce industry since 2021. CCI offers a wide variety of 3rd party food safety certifications, including both GFSI-benchmarked standards and more basic audits. Connect with its experienced Scheme Managers to discuss the extensive CCI offerings, including GLOBALG.A.P. IFA, HPSS, PHA, localg.a.p., a variety of GG add-ons, PrimusGFS, PrimusStandard, SQF, and more. Learn more.


What Type of Food Safety Audit Do You Need For Your CEA Operation?

Determining the type of food safety certification your operation needs, or if you even need one, can be confusing and overwhelming when you are new to the process. Where do you start? Begin with your customers!

If you sell directly to consumers, such as fresh-from-the-farm or at farmer’s markets, then your customers likely know you and feel that they have a sense of how you conduct your operation. You have probably already established a trust with your customers and do not need a third-party food safety audit unless you feel that its marketing value justifies the additional expense.

But if you sell to a wholesaler or retailer or other food distributor, they probably have specific requirements about the type of food safety certification they require suppliers to maintain. They may just have the basic requirement of any third-party audit and certification. They may require a specific “scheme” such as GLOBALG.A.P., Primus, SQF, etc.. They may not dictate the certification scheme but require that you hold a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI)-benchmarked third-party certification. This means that the type of audit and certification you choose must be GFSI-benchmarked and meet the internationally agreed upon GFSI requirements. There are several options that meet this requirement. This chart lists the most popular types of third-party audits, as well as indicating which types have a GFSI version.

Ceres Certification International Chart 1

In order to be able to sell your products to the major grocery retailers you would need to meet their specific requirements, listed below:

Now that you know what type of certification you need, you are probably wondering where to start the process to get this certification. Do an online search for CBs offering the type of certification you have decided upon. CBs are Certifying Bodies- these companies are licensed by the audit scheme to perform the audits and make the certification decisions. Make a list of a few that offer what you need (they don’t necessarily need to be local since most CBs have auditors for each section of the country, but you do want to choose one headquartered in your main country of operation) and reach out to them. You will quickly get a sense of which CBs will be easy to work with and have experience with your type of operation.

The CB you select should be able to answer your questions to the point where you are comfortable signing a contract for their services, which will be required before the process can proceed. The application you submit to a CB may seem a bit overwhelming the first time, but the CB can help you with any questions. They are trying to get as clear of picture of your operation as they can to ensure that the food safety certification is appropriate for your operation.

Once the application and paperwork is behind you, the CB will send an auditor to your operation to observe your primary agricultural activities. Don’t worry– a good CB will work with you to make sure this happens at a time that is both reasonable and convenient for you. If the auditor finds any issues, called non-conformances, you will have a chance to take measures to address/correct them immediately following the audit. Once that is done, the CB will review your entire file and issue certification or not. (Of course, there are appeal processes in place should you disagree with their decision.)

Your certification will be valid for up to one year, so you will need to go through the process again before that certification expires, but by then you’ll feel like an expert and won’t even break a sweat!


About Karl Kolb, Ph.D.

Karl 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.


About Kellie Worrell

Kellie Worrell has an extensive background in Agriculture and Food Safety. She has written several accurate ag children’s books, including the Virginia Ag In the Classroom Book of the Year. She has served as Food Safety Officer for farms with a wide variety of fresh vegetables, and is currently the GLOBALG.A.P. Scheme Administrator at Ceres Certifications, International.


About Ceres Certifications, International

Ceres Certifications, International (CCI) has been serving the produce industry since 2021.  CCI offers a wide variety of 3rd party food safety certifications, including both GFSI-benchmarked standards and more basic audits. Connect with its experienced Scheme Managers to discuss the extensive CCI offerings, including GLOBALG.A.P. IFA, HPSS, PHA, localg.a.p., a variety of GG add-ons, PrimusGFS, PrimusStandard, SQF, and more.  Learn more.


Eden Green Technology Partners with PathoSans® to Improve its Food Safety and Sustainability Practices

Eden Green Technology (EGT), an innovative indoor agriculture technology provider dedicated to food safety and sustainability, has partnered with PathoSans, a provider of environmentally responsible electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS), for its sustainable cleaning and disinfecting needs.

Eden Green and PathosansDelivering “Greenhouse-as-a-Service” (GaaS), EGT designs, engineers and manufactures vertical greenhouses to help grow large amounts of fresh food that can be sourced locally. The company partnered with PathoSans because unlike traditional caustic cleaning chemicals, PathoSans’ ECAS technology produces a cleaner and disinfectant using just salt, water and electricity. It contains no added fragrances and is safe for use on foods and in food preparation. In addition, the disinfectant eliminates pathogens and molds that can exist on food, where food grows, and in food packaging and preparation areas.

eden green and pathosans“Food safety is our top priority at EGT and it governs each of our processes,” said Aaron Fields, Director of Horticulture at Eden Green Technology Fields. “That’s why we chose PathoSans to ensure our operations use safe and effective cleaning solutions. PathoSans shares our mission of delivering innovative technology with a focus on social responsibility, safety, self-sufficiency, and sustainability.”

Increasing Self-Sufficiency and Sustainability with On-Site Generation

 PathoSans’ on-site generation system enables EGT to produce both cleaning and disinfectant solutions on-demand, without reliance on traditional supply chains. This complements EGT’s business model as it operates self-sufficient greenhouses using location and climate agnostic technology that enables indoor farm crops to be produced anywhere. Doing so allows EGT to address food deserts and help restaurants, grocery stores and governments produce food without the need for transporting long distances. The ability to now produce an unlimited supply of cleaning solutions as needed enables EGT to provide even more self-sufficient greenhouses to its clients regardless of size or location.

Through its partnership with PathoSans, EGT can also fulfill its mission of providing greenhouses and services that reduce waste, water consumption and reliance on greenhouse gas emissions. On-site generation of cleaning and disinfecting solutions allows EGT and its clients to refill spray bottles and reduce plastic waste. Without relying on chemical supply chains, EGT further shrinks its carbon footprint by eliminating chemical transportation, storage and disposal. Additionally, since PathoSans solutions leave no chemical residue behind on surfaces, greenhouses can save water since less rinsing is required.

“PathoSans is an excellent example of a partner that seamlessly fits into our process while bringing sustainable solutions to our clients with environmentally-responsible cleaning and disinfecting,” added Fields. “We plan to incorporate PathoSans solutions into more processes of operations and work with them on new innovations. Not only will PathoSans products keep our production safe and clean, but they will be paramount to the success of our Food Safety program of the future.”

PathoSans will be exhibiting at Indoor Ag-Con at booth 527. For more information, visit

Canada’s Largest Commercial Vertical Farm | Q&A With GoodLeaf Farms’ Shawn Woods

GoodLeaf FarmsWhat started in 2011 as a dream to deliver fresh, nutritious produce to Canadians year-round has become reality. As Canada’s first and largest commercial vertical farming operation, GoodLeaf Farms began supplying microgreens and baby greens to retail locations and restaurants throughout Ontario in 2019.

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to kick off our 2022 Indoor Ag-Conversations webinar series on June 1, 2022 at 2:30 pm ET with the idea-packed case study session , “A Dream Becomes Reality” with GoodLeaf Farm Manager Shawn Woods and equipment partners from Signify & Montel.  Ahead of the webinar, we had the chance to catch up with Shawn to learn a little more about how GoodLeaf is delivering on its mission and what’s next for the growing company.

 What are you growing at your Guelph, Ontario operation, and, what differentiates GoodLeaf from other vertical farms in the marketplace

GoodLeaf FarmsWe are currently growing microgreens  — Spicy Mustard Medley, Pea Shoots, Asian Blend, Micro Arugula, Micro Radish, and Micro Broccoli —  and baby greens – Ontario Arugula, Ontario Spring Mix and Ontario Baby Spinach.

In terms of what sets us apart, we are Canada’s largest commercial vertical farm, and the only one with scale to supply the major grocery chains with safe, fresh, and healthy greens. We lead the industry in Food Safety with SQF Level 2 Certification and a positive release program, which  means that we test every harvest for pathogens and only release them once they have been cleared by our internal lab

In addition, our proprietary technology enables us to grow nutrient-dense local food that is environmentally conscious 365 days a year.

From Day One, our focus has been on growing healthy, tasty food that people want to eat. We use our technology to grow food, while others use technology to collect data.


Sustainability is a key part of your mission. Can you share some of GoodLeaf’s sustainable practices and initiatives?

GoodLeaf Farms Sustainable PracticesOur sustainable practices include:

  • Water use in vertical farming is 95 per cent less than traditional farming methods.
  • More food can be grown per acre, maximizing use of space, and limiting land use.
  • Because our farm is indoors in an environment that is almost entirely controlled, there are no pests, bugs, or birds — and thus no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides are used.
  • The water used is cleaned and recirculated, so there are no run-off issues.
  • Peat / Soil is recycled and re-used in landscaping.
  • Favorable carbon footprint compared to traditional farming.
  • By providing a local food source, we are removing thousands of food miles annually; Leafy greens coming from the southwestern United States are trucked across the continent, burning fossil fuels the whole way.


Last year, GoodLeaf announced an aggressive growth and expansion plan to build a national network of vertical farms.   Can you share updates, including progress on the Calgary project?

GoodLeaf FarmsConstruction on our Calgary farm is well under way. We are on schedule to have the 95,000-square-foot farm open and providing fresh leafy greens to grocery stores across Western Canada in first half of next year.

We are continuing to move forward with our plans for a similar facility in the Montreal area but are not able to provide additional information at this time.   


GoodLeaf is working on a number of R&D projects with universities to advance the science & engineering of vertical farming.  Can you tell us about any of the projects currently underway?

We have an MoU with the University of Guelph to build stronger links between theoretical research, the development of technology and processes and practical application in the field.

Some of the best and most innovative agricultural research in Canada happens at the University of Guelph. Building on the vertical farm technology we have already developed and are using; it will be exciting to see where this partnership can take us.

Some of the projects currently under way with the University of Guelph include research into:

  • Enhancing yields, plant science and new product development.
  • Substrates, growing compounds, and microbiology.
  • Human resources and training future experts in the field of vertical farming.


What’s next for GoodLeaf ?

GoodLeaf FarmsWe are constantly innovating and experimenting with new processes and products to bring the best possible leafy greens to Canadian consumers.

Efforts continue to build partnerships with grocery retailers across Canada, and we are aggressively pursuing growth into the restaurant and hospitality sector. Chefs can do wondrous things with our leafy greens, and we are excited to see where this journey will take us.

While Canada is our priority today, we can’t wait to bring our greens to consumers across the globe

What’s more, we are excited about other opportunities for vertical farming to add value — expanding the portfolio beyond leafy greens or growing specialty crops for healthcare


To learn more about GoodLeaf Farms, visit the website at  and check out this video that takes you through a quick tour of GoodLeaf’s seeding and grow rooms, harvesting and packaging:


Q&A With BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt

‘It’s An Exciting Time To Be In the Business Of Indoor Farming’ 

Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt and Cox Enterprises VP Steven Bradley will kick-off the February 28 – March 1, 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con with the opening morning keynote address. Platt and Bradley will share how BrightFarms and Cox are working together to transform the indoor farming industry – further strengthening its position as a sustainable platform for the future.

Ahead of his upcoming keynote, we had the chance to catch up with Steve to hear more about BrightFarms’ future plans and goals in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Cox Enterprises, which had a majority stake in your company since 2020, acquired BrightFarms earlier this year as part of its stated mission to build a healthier, more sustainable future. What attracted Cox to Bright Farms initially?

BrightFarms Greenhouse

The mission of Cox Cleantech aligns with BrightFarms’ mission to improve the health of Americans and the planet with fresher, sustainably grown local food. BrightFarms has been a leader in indoor farming since 2013, building out a decentralized network of local farms. Our demonstrated ability to replicate our model while developing deep partnerships with retailers was unique to the indoor farming industry. Since investing in 2018, Cox has been a fantastic partner and we’re now proud to be a fully owned subsidiary of the company.

We read that BrightFarms has expansion plans designed to bring local indoor leafy greens to more than 2/3 of the US by 2025. Can you share more about how you hope to achieve this goal?

We’re expanding our footprint and capacity with much larger farms ― 10-40-acre greenhouses that can serve as a complete salad category solution for retailers. We predict that in 10 years, 50% of leafy greens nationwide will be sourced from indoor farms, and BrightFarms will be a big part of that growth. We’re poised for massive growth in the coming years as we scale across the country. It’s an exciting time to be in the business of indoor farming.

What differentiates BrightFarms’ growing methods and services from others in the space?

BrightFarms Greenhouse

We have a proven, scalable model and are developing proprietary technology, called BrightOS, to support everything we do — from growing the plants themselves, to staying on top of food safety and leveraging greenhouse supply and retailer demand. Our experience and success in the market sets us apart from many other indoor farming companies still establishing their technology, footprint, or go-to-market strategy. We’re also the first company to be backed by a blue-chip company, Cox Enterprises, that is wholly supportive of our model and growth.

This year, BrightFarms also announced larger investments in R&D including the creation of a new R&D hub, BrightLabs. Could you share a little about why you created it and what the BrightLabs team is working on?

In 2021, we brought on our VP of Agriculture & Science, Dr. Matt Lingard, who heads up our R&D and food safety programs. Matt is building a team that will focus on delivering the highest quality complete salad program in the industry.

For more information on BrightFarms, visit the company website.  And, register today to attend the 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con to hear more from Steve about the company’s exciting plans!

Ceres Certifications, International – All The Services You Need To Keep Your Operation In Compliance

Ceres Certifications, International has been serving the produce and tree nut industry since 2001 and has been an accredited Certification Body to conduct GFSI level audits including PrimusGFS since 2011. We have experienced personnel in all categories of agriculture.

CCI is accredited by ANAB, ANSI National Accreditation Board as a certifying body under ISO/IEC 17065 for PrimusGFS and GLOBALGAP.

CCI also does non-accredited inspection audits for many other schemes and programs that can help your organization have what it takes to be successful. CCI is proud that 99% of our clients return every year and recommend our services to other growers.

CCI auditors are always trained on current audit scope revisions, technological updates and industry conditions. CCI auditors are top notch and understand the nature of agricultural business practices. Our auditors stay with you up to three (3) years, providing consistency in evaluation.

CCI offers a Price Match Guarantee, we promise to meet or beat any competitor’s quote. Special pricing is also available for brokers, associations, and co-ops. Additional price discounts may be available. Contact us by calling 715-723-5143 or visit our website at


AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg Kicks Off Indoor Ag-Con 2021 With Opening Morning Keynote Address

Rosenberg Headlines Full Roster of Keynotes, Panels, Networking & Expo Floor Innovations For In-Person October 4-5, 2021 Edition In Orlando

“We are thrilled to have an industry leader like David Rosenberg join us as we kick off our return to the live event format,” says Brian Sullivan, co-owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC along with other event industry veterans Nancy Hallberg and Kris Sieradzki. “We look forward to gathering with our industry colleagues again and are working hard to bring the best possible combination of networking, education and exhibition opportunities together in Orlando.”

Scheduled for opening morning, October 4, Rosenberg’s address will be held from 8:30 am – 9:20 am.  Rosenberg co-founded and leads AeroFarms.  AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture overall.

On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corp Company with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, United States. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company three years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides vs. traditional field farming. Grown for flavor first, AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow flavorful baby greens and microgreens all year round.


In addition to Rosenberg’s keynote, look for additional announcements coming soon on other CEO keynote presentations planned for the October event. The 2021 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions, fireside chats and presentations offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Business & Marketing, Science & Technology and Alternative Crops.
In addition to the extensive educational component, attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore, including:


Indoor Ag-Con’s Hilton Orlando venue makes it the perfect opportunity for a business vacation. Centrally located to all major theme parks and attractions, it is just minutes from the eclectic dining scene and entertainment of International Drive. What’s more, the Hilton Orlando resort sits on more than 26 acres of lush landscaping and tropical inspirations making it a true destination of its own. Indoor Ag-Con has arranged for discounted hotel rates for attendees and exhibitors starting as low as $129/night. Complete details are available on the show website.


Indoor Ag-Con is also forging new alliances with other events, industry associations/groups that will play an integral role in its marketing outreach and conference programming. Look for partnership announcements coming soon.


The Indoor Ag-Con team is working to bring even more resources for farmers/growers to explore across all sectors – everything from IT, energy, AI and lighting solutions to substrates, vertical farming solutions, business services and much more. Attendees and exhibitors alike will also have even more networking opportunities with daily luncheon sessions and receptions on the show floor.


WHEN: Monday, October 4 – Tuesday, October 5
WHERE: Hilton Orlando, 6001 Destination Pkwy, Orlando, FL 32819
INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit or email


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


Q & A With AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg


AeroFarms has been making a lot of headlines of late. In addition to last month’s announcement that it will become a publicly traded company through combination with Spring Valley Aquisition Corp, AeroFarms has brokenDavid Rosenberg AeroFarms Indoor Ag-Con Keynote 2021 ground on the world’s largest and most technologically advanced aeroponic indoor vertical farm and  launched a new brand identity.  What’s more, Indoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg will headline Indoor Ag-Con, as he leads the opening morning keynote address for the 8th annual edition scheduled for October 4-5, 2021 at the Hilton Orlando, Florida.

AeroFarms Launches New Brand IdentityAhead of our October 2021 in-person event, Indoor Ag-Con Content Chair Jim Pantaleo had the opportunity to talk with David about his company’s exciting developments and plans for the future.

David, thanks for sitting down with me today. Obviously, the big news at AeroFarms is the recent merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp…Can you speak to this exciting new collaboration?

AeroFarms CEO David Rosenberg To Lead 2021 Indoor Ag-Con KeynoteWe are thrilled to announce our merger with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp, who shares the same ESG philosophies to make a positive impact on the world, while serving the interests of our shareholders. AeroFarms’ mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, and we are executing on this by taking agriculture to new heights with the latest in technology, innovation and understanding of plant science.

Our technology empowers our operations – this is how we get closer to where the problems, opportunities and solutions are. We also have the capabilities to innovate fast by turning our crops a typical 26 times per year that allows us to continuously learn and improve yield and quality while simultaneously reducing capital and operating costs. Our business is at an inflection point where we will scale up our proven operational framework and begin our expansion plans in earnest as we have shared with recent farm news for Danville Virginia and Abu Dhabi, UAE.

The other piece of interesting AeroFarms news is the expansion to Danville, VA. Please share how you envision that facility in terms of AeroFarms technology to be deployed. And, what impact do you foresee the operation having not only for AeroFarms but also for the local community?

The science, technology and innovation that underpin our proprietary growing platform allow us to drive superior unit economics and scale up our business to deliver on ourAeroFarms Breaks Ground On Largest and Most Tech Advanced Aeroponic Indoor Vertical Farm mission of growing the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity. Our customers love our leafy greens, which consistently win on quality, flavor, taste and texture. We are excited to break ground on our new farm, expand our retail presence in the region and bring our exceptional, great tasting products to more customers. Danville-Pittsylvania County is the perfect location to introduce our next-generation Model 5 farm that will be able to serve the more than 1,000 food retailers in the region.

Our new farm will deepen our established retailer partnerships even further and make our sustainably grown, pesticide-free and always fresh leafy greens available throughout the Mid-Atlantic region, while also creating high-quality jobs in the area. This new facility represents an inflection point in our growth trajectory as we scale our technology and expand our retail distribution footprint and customer reach.

Speaking of expansion, please tell us how Abu Dhabi is progressing and the great (R&D) work which will come from there once fully operational?

This new cutting-edge R&D facility leverages our agriculture expertise and science-driven roots. We will be conducting leading research in plant science, vertical farming, and automation, accelerating innovation cycles and commercializing a diverse range of products. We will be partnering with major international companies, local universities, and AgTech startups to help solve some of the most pressing agriculture needs of our time, and AeroFarms is proud to play a pivotal role to helping establish the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for AgTech innovation

What does David Rosenberg do for fun when he’s not leading one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative indoor vertical farms?

I am proud to serve as a Managing Trustee of New Jersey’s Liberty Science Center and a mentor at Endeavor, to help impact entrepreneurs succeed. In addition, I enjoy SUP paddle boarding and spending time with my family.

AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture overall. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corp Company with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, United States. Named one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company three years in a row and one of TIME’s Best Inventions, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides vs. traditional field farming. Grown for flavor first, AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow flavorful baby greens and microgreens all year round.


Register Today & Save Your Seat For David Rosenberg’s Keynote Address On Monday, October 4, 2021 at 8:30 am