Tag: indoor farming

Roger Buelow CTO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Blue Ridge Aquaculture

Widening The Net: World’s Largest Sustainable Indoor Fishery Eyes Aquaponics

Blue Ridge AquacultureAs we gear up for the new CEA Summit East next month, we’re excited to spotlight exhibitor and sponsor Martinsville, Virgina-based Blue Ridge Aquaculture, the world’s largest sustainable indoor fishery. We had the chance to catch up with company President Martin Gardner in this month’s Q & A to learn more about Blue Ridge Aquaculture’s sustainable business model, practices, and plans to incorporate aquaponics into its operations in the future.

Blue Ridge Aquaculture is described as the “world’s largest sustainable indoor fisheries.” Can you share more about your recirculating aquaculture systems and your sustainable features and practices

Blue Ridge Aquaculture (BRA) was founded by Bill Martin on the idea that controlling the entire farming environment was the logical evolution of aquaculture.  He formed the company in 1993, and has grown it to its current production of 5mm pounds per year. As far as we know, that is the largest production volume from these types of systems.  The company raises tilapia from hatch to harvest, all contained in indoor farming systems, or Recirculating Aquaculture Systems (RAS).

The US lags far behind many other countries in the aquaculture production, currently ranking 17th in total output.  The US is not competitive for several reasons, including but not limited to stringent environmental regulations, NIMBY attitudes, and high labor costs, all of which are solved by RAS.  Bringing the entire process into a controlled environment, we manage all inputs and outflows from our operations.  With much better bio-security, we have not had an outbreak or disease event in twenty years.  In fact, we have been certified disease free by independent fish veterinarians every year since 2013.

We are able to accomplish this without the use of antibiotics, vaccines or hormones, and still maintain survival rates above 95%.  Our filtration systems recycle approximately 75% of our water daily, and we are working on a secondary filtration system that will drive those rates to +95%.  We don’t discharge our effluent to our local environment, all of it goes to the municipal system for further treatment.  From a land-use perspective, it would require at least 300 acres of open aquaculture ponds to produce what we raise on a 15 acre campus.  Because most of the seafood consumed in the US is imported (+90%), our US operations greatly reduce food-miles.  These are just some of the sustainable benefits of our system.

We understand you’re exploring expansion into aquaponics – can you share more about your plans

Aquaponics - Blue Ridge AquacultureAquaponics is an obvious extension of our current operations, and we have been working towards adding this component to our operations for some time. We have performed several small-scale R&D projects over the years, with favorable results.

But, with limited resources, we had to prioritize other capital projects, including a new feed mill commissioned in 2018, and a new RAS Nursery in 2021.  With those projects complete, we can now focus on aquaponics.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR)  and Indoor Ag-Con are excited to have Blue Ridge Aquaculture join us as a silver sponsor for the upcoming CEA Summit.  Can you share a little more about what you hope to achieve at the event?

Blue Ridge AquacultureBlue Ridge Aquaculture has a long history in the US Aquaculture and the global RAS community.  It is important for us to build that same presence in this industry.  We will continue to support Virginia as a leader in CEA and AgTech.  Virginia Tech has been a tremendous resource for our company assisting our growth and development over the years.  We anticipate Virginia Tech and the IALR will be an important asset as we grow into  this space as well.  Because of that collaboration, it was important for us to support their outreach efforts and this conference.

Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

It’s important to point out the importance of vertical integration in our company.  BRA has positioned itself as the most integrated RAS company in the world.  Originally this was out of necessity.  In the early years, RAS was more of an academic practice with few commercial operations.  Suppliers of inputs to the farm were focused on open system aquaculture, and did not provide the quality necessary for RAS.

The company originally sourced fingerlings from external suppliers, which were of average quality and more importantly, a vector for disease.  In 1997, the company started its own hatchery/nursery.  The positive impacts were immediate, and production volumes grew quickly.  That was also the beginning of the company’s genetic program, which is currently in its 20th generation, and a key factor in the company’s success.  Distribution was also a problem and risk for the company.

So in 2003, the company created a wholly owned subsidiary for the dedicated delivery of all of its product-  problems solved.  In 2017, the company built its own feed mill to control the quality and supply of feed for all operations.  That gave us control over our biggest operating input.

We understand that “sustainable” refers to environmental and social aspects of the operations.  But financial sustainability must be a part of the business plan.  BRA is one of the few RAS companies that has sustained profitability for many years.  Vertical integration has been key to this success, but, more importantly, de-risks our operations to ensure it remains financially sustainable into the future.

To learn more about Blue Ridge Aquaculture, visit the company website here.   And, make plans now to just us at the inaugural CEA Summit East, October 24-25, 2022.  The event is produced by Indoor Ag-Con and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center, a partnership between the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginia Tech , the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Virginia Tech and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR). 

 

Netled CEO Niko Kivioja

‘Any Step Closer to Climate Neutrality Is An Important One’ | Q&A With Netled CEO Niko Kivioja   

Netled_IndoorAgContentVertical farming technology provider Netled and its client, Swedish herb supplier OMG (Oh My Greens), recently launched the first industrial-scale vertical farm delivering Climate Neutral Certified herbs from seed to shelf.  Indoor Ag-Con had the chance to catch up with Netled CEO Niko Kivioja to learn more about this exciting project, why it’s so important, and what’s on the horizon for this innovative company in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Why did OMG Choose Netled’s VERA® Technology for its new industrial scale vertical farm?

Swedish herb supplier OMG (Oh My Greens) produces 2.7 million heads of herbs annually for ICA, the leading grocery retailer in Sweden. Building a major facility with that kind of production capacity is very complex. OMG needed a technology provider who truly understands the technology and also has the experience and project delivery capabilities to carry out a project of that scale.

Oh My Greens industrial scale facility.indooragcontentWe call ourselves the one-stop shop for vertical farming, which means that on top of our proprietary Vera® technology we offer all services and support needed to build a commercially viable vertical farming business. This means we provide our customers with the design and planning of their facility, we ship the equipment, and we build, install and commission the farm. We support our customers in getting their farm up to production volumes. We also provide a five-year maintenance agreement to ensure the technology performs optimally.

It can be challenging to combine technology and services from different companies and ensure they work smoothly together. Plus you have to manage the various companies involved in the project. With Netled, you get the entire package under one roof. It’s simpler for the customer because all the various bits and pieces you need to build an industrial-scale vertical farm work seamlessly together. In a facility the size of the OMG project, those bits and pieces amount to around 120 000. So it’s no small feat.

OMG really did their homework in selecting a vertical farming partner. They will tell you themselves that they looked at 17 different providers before choosing Netled. They said that we are years ahead of the competition in terms of technology, know-how, and delivery capabilities. We are honored by that recognition.

What attracted you/Netled to the OMG project

OMG has the same level of ambition as we do: they want to succeed at vertical farming at an industrial scale and continue to grow from there. Our Vera® vertical farming technology is designed in a way that it’s scalable according to the customers’ needs and business case. The size and ambition of OMG’s project was perfect for our technology and service offerings. The growing area is about 25 800 square feet (2400 m2), and it is a big difference to make the automation work smoothly in that volume compared to smaller units.

Oh My Greens Vera vertical farm 2.indooragcontent
Photo Credit: ICA

We are also impressed by the fact that OMG’s customer is ICA, the largest retailer in Sweden. It is a very important step for us that such a significant player in the food retail industry takes a step towards vertically farmed products and sells them under their private label. Like us, they want to be at the forefront of developing a sustainable food system for the future.

We are very happy to see this development happening with big players like ICA, and we think it’s a good sign for the entire CEA industry. Vertically farmed produce is becoming more and more mainstream, and consumers will soon learn more about the benefits of this production method. Netled carried out consumer research this spring, and we found that only 11 % of Finnish consumers really knew what vertical farming was about. However, 95 % of the respondents were willing to buy vertically farmed products after learning more about the production method and its benefits.

It is clear that when major retailers incorporate vertically farmed products into their own store brand, it will open new conversations for us as technology providers.

The farm is described as the ‘first vertical farm in the world delivering Climate Neutral Certified herbs from seed to shelf.’  Can you share more about this designation and why it’s so important.

Oh My Greens Vera vertical farm.IndoorAgContent
Photo Credit: ICA

We are all in this battle against climate change together, and any step closer to climate neutrality is an important one for both OMG and Netled.

OMG is the first vertical cultivation in the world to deliver Climate Neutral Certified herbs following the Climate Neutral Certification programme. The owner of the standard is The Climate Neutral Group, a member of ICROA, the International Carbon Reduction & Offsetting Alliance. They follow strict criteria in terms of Verified Emission Reductions (VERs), and verification is carried out by independent, internationally recognized agencies.

Within this certificate, climate neutrality means both CO2 footprint reduction and compensation. OMG calculates their emissions footprint on a granular level including ingredients, storage, production, packaging, mobility, and upstream and downstream logistics until the products reach the shelf. The facility is built in an old steel factory and it operates with renewable energy: wind power. The remaining CO2 emissions are compensated by supporting an NGO’s agroforestry project of 214 hectares in India. The ultimate goal is to reduce the emissions every year until they reach a 0-emission supply chain.

Netled_WEB_4.indooragcontentNetled’s Vera® technology is designed to be as energy and resource-efficient as possible using up to 70% less energy and up to 95% less water than traditional indoor agriculture. It also allows customers to grow 2.5 times more crops in the same amount of space as greenhouse growing.

OMG’s vision is a world where food production is truly sustainable, and we as their technology provider are working towards the same goal. We are constantly striving to reduce emissions and this will be a work in progress as we develop our technology and processes.

What’s next for Netled – any other projects of this scale or other developments on the horizon?

We recently opened our first North American Vera® vertical farm as part of the launch of Netled North America in Calgary, Canada. The vertical farm in Calgary is a showcase facility for North American customers who want to see our Vera® technology firsthand. The demo unit features the same Vera® technology, but on a smaller scale. It will allow potential customers to see the technology up close and discuss their requirements with our experienced team in Calgary.

Netled_WEB_3.indooragcontentIn terms of other projects, we have just finished commissioning a compact-size Vera® farm in Poland, and we are currently building another industrial-scale facility in the Nordics. We are in the negotiating phase with other clients on some very exciting commercial-scale projects in Europe and North America, stay tuned for more details!

Learn more about Netled by visiting the company’s website — www.netled.fi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indoor Ag-Con Q&A With Eric Levesque Cultivatd

For Farmers. By Farmers. Q & A With Cultivatd Managing Partner Eric Levesque

Cultivatd LogoFor farmers. By farmers. That’s how Cultivatd, the Cornwall Ontario-based indoor farm brokerage, describes its dedicated team of experts and the services they provide. Founded in 2020 by agtech industry veterans Eric Levesque and Eric Bergeron, this startup helps clients get into the vertical farming space by guiding them through the process of selecting the best technology for their needs, and recommending the best solution depending on budget, type of growing, location and knowledge.

With more 40 partnerships with some of the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry’s biggest technology providers, Cultivatd has over $250 million in active projects in its portfolio and expects that number to increase substantially this year. Indoor Ag-Con had a chance to check in with Eric Levesque to learn more about his company’s service offerings, growth plans and ag tech trends in this month’s  Q&A.

As an Indoor Farm Broker, Cultivatd says it can help farmers by providing agtech solutions and farm planning at no cost. How does that work and what are the advantages?

Our service offering is quite simple; we help people understand which technology is best suited for what they are trying to do. Our team will work with clients and based on the type of plants to grow, the budget, the location etc, we will recommend different technologies as a solution. We have experience as growers, technology developers and have operated farms, so our team really gives clients a deep understanding of what is involved in growing food indoors. There is no cost because we earn a commission when a farm project comes together.

How does Cultivatd choose its partners?

Cultivatd Partners
Cultivatd partners with leading agtech companies. Click image above to learn more.

We don’t have an exact process here, although we tend to work with companies that we know have a solid reputation, good people, have detailed financials models and typically we like to go and see the technology working somewhere so we can vet it for ourselves. We also spend a great deal of time and effort building relationships with the people at our technology partners. It is important for us to have real, in depth knowledge of the teams behind the products we represent.

Is there new tech on the horizon that has you particularly excited about the future of agtech?

There are several – but mainly – we are excited to see new technology that allows different products to be grown indoors such as mushrooms, potatoes, animal feed, and even insects etc. The amount of food we are going to need to grow in controlled environments is massive and it has to extend far beyond leafy greens and herbs.

At the end of 2021 Cultivatd announced it had raised more than $3 million in a series A round. Can you share more about how you’re using/will be using these funds?

CultivatdThis was mainly to help us grow a team, open two new offices (Hello Austin!) and to market ourselves in the industry. We are also aware that large farming projects can take months to get going, so we also have some operating capital to ensure we are able to grow for years to come.

We have to ask, what is the story behind the name/spelling of your company?

We were looking for a modern name that fit the industry and this option really stood out to us when we went through our branding exercise. We really wanted a .com domain name so had to be a bit creative on spelling.

To learn more about Cultivatd and its service offerings, visit the website or call 1.877.258.8283.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the many highlights of the show included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signify Horticulture Team Invites You To Kick Off 2022 Trade Show Season With Indoor Ag-Con

The excitement is building as Signify prepares to gather in Las Vegas for the 2022 Indoor Ag-Con (IAC), the premier trade show and conference encompassing all things related to indoor and vertical farming production. Focused on providing participants with the latest insights of how to optimize a vertical farming operation, the two-day conference is scheduled for February 28th to March 1st at the Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meet Signify at Indoor Ag-Con

Interested to learn how you can get a tailored LED lighting solution for your indoor grow facility? Stop by the Signify booth, #2018, where Philips LED lighting and Philips GrowWise Control System will be on display. Learn and see how Philips dynamic production modules give growers full flexibility and control over their lighting. Our team of experts will be available to discuss and advise how you can grow with more precision and profitability when incorporating Philips LED grow lights into your indoor grow facility.

Conference Spotlight: Controlled Environment Agriculture Lighting – Understanding Specs

Does industry jargon on LED lighting seem confusing to you? Then you won’t want to miss the educational session, Controlled Environment Agriculture Lighting, on Monday, February 28th at 10:00 AM PST. During this session, Blake Lange, Signify Business Development Manager for city farming, will be joined by a panel of industry leaders to discuss how to properly understand specs in lighting and what performance metrics to look for when you are ready to transition to LED lighting.

“I’m excited to be part of this educational session. There are several terms and performance metrics that can make the search for new lighting confusing and overwhelming. Participants are sure to find this session a great way to kick off their Indoor Ag-Con experience. Not only will it help them to navigate in a wide array of options from different lighting manufacturers, but it will also empower them to feel confident in their purchasing decisions for vertical farming grow lights,” says Lange.

Visit the Indoor Ag-Con website to register for the conference.

XtremeLUX and Triple Ring Technologies Announce Collaborative Solution to the Biggest Problems Hampering Indoor Ag

Advanced spectrally-controlled lighting and biotech will combine to push indoor agriculture past the goal of economic sustainability.

 

XtremeLUX, a designer and supplier of advanced lighting systems for indoor farming, and Triple Ring Technologies, a co-development firm that helps innovators and entrepreneurs develop science-based technologies for a broad range of markets, will introduce at the Indoor Ag-Con Conference on Feb 28 in Las Vegas, an advanced solution for optimizing energy usage and for helping growers to creatively solve their biggest biotechnical problems. The heart of the technology is the customization of spectral inputs to the particular species and lifecycle stage of the plant; dramatically reducing energy usage, improving yield and quality, and enabling industry-sustaining economic benefits. Extreme spectrum control and integrated sensors provide extra tools for attacking pathogens, repelling bugs, detecting malnourishment, and solving many other problems.

Silicon Valley-based Triple Ring Technologies, is pleased to support XtremeLUX, including the exhibition of their technology at Indoor Ag-Con. “Triple Ring is excited about the potential for the XtremeLUX system and advanced spectral control to support the scaling of vertical farming,” said Joe Weber, Vice President for Strategic Markets at Triple Ring. “Our experience developing technology and products involving photonics, sensors, and complex systems in a broad range of markets including in the ag tech world have positioned us well to support startups such as XtremeLUX.” he continued.

“XtremeLUX is very thrilled to be exhibiting our fourth generation of products at Indoor Ag-Con this year. As we grow our partnerships in the vertical farming space and advance our product line, we are looking forward to enhancing the role of CEA in global agriculture.” said Chiamin Cheng, CEO of XtremeLUX.

About XtremeLUX

Founded in 2011, XtremeLUX has developed an innovative system of controlled lighting for the vertical farming and cannabis industries.  Based on their adaptive spectrum control capability, their systems have been adopted to great benefit by large-scale leafy green and cannabis growers and by researchers. XtremeLUX’s open lighting control interface is designed to be interoperable with industry-standard communication protocols, including Modbus, MQTT, and USB-to-I2C, for easy integration with previously installed climate control, power management, fertigation, and other systems.

About Triple Ring Technologies

Triple Ring Technologies is a co-development company headquartered in Silicon Valley, with offices in Boston, Toronto, and Copenhagen. They partner with clients in medtech, life sciences, and sustainability & the environment to create new technologies, launch innovative projects, and start new ventures. Their capabilities span early R&D, product development, manufacturing, regulatory approval, market access, strategic investment, and incubation. For more information, please visit www.tripleringtech.com.

Contact for XtremeLUX:  Chiamin Cheng, chiamin.cheng@xtremelux.com.  Contact for Triple Ring Technologies:  Tracy Li, tli@tripleringtech.com.

Matt Ryan Soli Organic

Organic, Sustainable, Affordable, Accessible: Q&A With Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan

Soli OrganicIndoor Ag-Con is excited to announce that Soli Organic CEO Matt Ryan has joined our CEO keynote line-up for the February 28-March 1, 2022 edition of Indoor Ag-Con. During his keynote presentation on March 1, 2022, 8 – 8:50 AM, Matt Ryan will share more about his company’s plans to change the world of organic produce by “Bringing Nature Indoors”™ with its soil-based, certified organic biofarms.

Soli Organic, formerly known as Shenandoah Growers, Inc., is the nation’s only soil-based, controlled environment agriculture company delivering 100% USDA certified organic produce to more than 20,000 retail stores nationwide We checked in with Matt ahead of his keynote to learn more about the company’s latest developments and plans for future growth in this month’s CEO Q&A.

Soli Organic
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Given your proven leadership background in branding /marketing with companies like Starbucks and Walt Disney, how did your outside perspective come into play with the Soli rebranding and what do you hope to accomplish with the new branding?

I’m very grateful for the incredible experiences I’ve had leading up to this point in my career and the lessons I’ve learned at each stop proved to be valuable as we went through our re-branding process in 2021. The new branding is a reflection of Soli Organic’s commitment to growing indoors, in real soil, and we’re aiming to convey to consumers the company’s vision to produce fresh products that are organic, sustainable, affordable and accessible to all.

Soli Organic 3Congratulations on the recent news about the $120 financing arrangement with The Decennial Group.  How does this play into your growth plans?

This is a very exciting time for Soli Organic as we continue on a track of accelerating growth to build on our company’s 30-plus year history of strong financial performance. The arrangement with Decennial – one of the largest of its kind for a controlled environment agriculture company – will help to support that growth, providing financing for three new indoor Biofarm facilities that will enable us to continue to scale the growth of our operations and meet the growing demand for fresh, sustainably-grown, organic produce that is affordable.

 

Soli OrganicSpeaking of news, can you also share a little more about the new partnership between Soli Organic and Rutgers University and how you will be working with its plant breeding experts?

Over the next five years, we’ll be working with the world-leading plant breeding experts at Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences to select and advance the next generation of commercial organic, indoor-grown produce. Specifically, we’ll be analyzing the chemistry of new crop lines to optimize flavor, aroma, nutrition and yield traits for indoor cultivation. The partnership is an example of Soli Organic’s deep commitment to a “biology first, technology to scale” philosophy as we work to provide consumers with great-tasting and affordable organic produce.

Soli OrganicWhat’s next for Soli Organic?

Right now, our focus is on executing against current product timelines and continuing on our growth track to enhance our ability to meet the growing demand for fresh products that are organic, sustainable, affordable and accessible to all. To that end, we have plans in place to build eight new high-tech indoor Biofarm facilities, in addition to the seven farms in operation today. We’re very excited about the future at Soli Organic.

To learn more about Soli Organic, visit the website at www.soliorganic.com 

Jim Pantaleo

Jim Pantaleo To MC Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas 2022 Educational Conference

We’re pleased to announce long-time indoor farming advocate and operator, Jim Pantaleo, will be joining the 9th annual edition of Indoor Ag-Con as MC of our educational conference, February 28 – March 1, 2022 at  Caesar’s Forum.

As a pioneer in indoor farming in Southern California and a part of the Indoor Ag Con family, Jim has been instrumental in creating content and gathering credible and dynamic speakers over the years — a role held today by our Conference Program Developer Kyle Barnett.

In his new role with the USDA-funded AI Institute for Next Generation Food Systems located on the campus of UC Davis, the focus is on how artificial intelligence and machine learning can help CEA and the broader food system address inefficiencies, cost, yield, quality, food safety and other critical areas of operations and production.

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