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CEA food safety group adds members, prepares metrics

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-25 Fri 10:32

The CEA Food Safety Coalition, which represents controlled-environment agriculture operations that include greenhouses and indoor vertical farms, has added members and is preparing to release food safety metrics by the end of the year.

“The coalition’s members collaborate by establishing standards and sharing insights to protect consumers,” Paul Lightfoot, coalition founder and chairman, and president of BrightFarms. “The more members, the safer the industry, so I’m thrilled that all the major players in our space have joined the coalition.”

The group is developing food safety standards tailored to controlled environment growing, and the group plans to release this year a set of criteria supporting a “no need to wash” label for members, and food safety metrics for members (in addition to underlying external food safety audits), according to a news release.

“Along with the growth of the CEA leafy greens industry comes the need to evaluate food safety risks specific to these commodities,” Jennifer McEntire, senior vice president of food safety and technology at the United Fresh Produce Association. “The coalition is playing a critical role in convening the industry and facilitating these discussions, and United Fresh Produce Association is pleased to contribute to this public health-focused effort.”

The newest members are:

Food safety in CEA systems

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-22 Tue 10:04

In the webinar 'Food Safety in CEA Systems', presented by GLASE on September 24, 2020, Dr. Gioia Massa, plant scientist at NASA, will highlight some of the unique aspects of space crop production and the microbial food safety considerations of space-grown produce. Data will be presented on space-grown leafy green vegetables, as…

'We are developing a sustainable technology that uses 75% less LED lighting'

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-08 Tue 10:13

Verde Compacto, a Mexican start-up, producer of container farms and indoor farming growing technologies, has seen significant demand for their growing systems during the pandemic.  'COVID is driving this market forward because people want to know what is behind their food and their diets. Logistic chains in…

CEA Lite: tech and opportunities for Controlled Environment Agriculture

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-07 Mon 13:45

Environmental challenges, technological advances and changing consumer demand have increased demand for controlled environment agriculture solutions. Agri-TechE is hosting CEA Lite to keep the conversation going around the technologies and opportunities in this vibrant space until everyone can meet again…

Sakata Seed America starts division for indoor-grown varieties

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-04 Fri 13:47

Sakata Seed America, Morgan Hill, Calif., has a new department that focuses on controlled environment agriculture, including traditional greenhouse operations and the newer wave of indoor production through vertical farms.

The move will boost Sakata’s role in developing produce to be grown in the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facilities, according to a news release. “We have been focused on this segment for a number of years, especially in the leafy greens category,” Justin Davis, Sakata Seed America’s director of sales and marketing, said in the release. “The timing is ideal for Sakata to create this group to hone our efforts on CEA in order to bring more products to the market for Indoor ag.”

Tracy Lee, who joined Sakata Seed America 11 years ago, will lead the new division. She has also been involved in product management at Geo. W. Park Seed Co. Inc. and W Atlee Burpee.

At Sakata Seed America, she has been involved in product development for multiple categories, and handling home garden and farm market vegetable seed sales.

“I think there is tremendous growth opportunity in serving the controlled environment agriculture segment, and I’m very pleased that Sakata is continuing its leadership in the market,” Lee said in the release. “This is something that I’m passionate about and have been active in for the past several years.”

Far-red light enhances density of tomato seedlings

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-03 Thu 09:28

Brandon Huber, a Ph.D. candidate of Horticultural Science, shared some of his tomato research to help people better understand indoor controlled environmental horticulture and its impact on young plant production. While studying indoor controlled environmental horticulture under the direction of Ricardo…

CubicFarms announces sale of control rooms to Terramera

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Sep-01 Tue 09:19

CubicFarms is pleased to announce the sale of three Control Rooms to Terramera. Terramera is a British Columbia-based company on a mission to reduce global synthetic pesticide use by 80 percent by 2030 with its revolutionary Actigate technology platform, named a 2020 World-Changing Idea by Fast Company.  In…

'There are challenges to growing food indoors, many of which have been figured out by cannabis producers!'

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-31 Mon 09:05

Mark Doherty, Executive VP of Operations with urban-gro talks about how he got into Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) with food crops, then into cannabis, and how he would now like to help new ‘food entrants’ in the CEA world with the knowledge he has gained. “Ten years ago, I started an indoor…

Multivac identifies controlled environment ag as key market

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-24 Mon 09:37

Controlled-environment produce packaging has become a new market focus for Multivac Inc., a German equipment manufacturer with U.S. headquarters in Kansas City, MO.

Multivac sells packaging equipment and materials to create the ideal produce packages. It specializes in food packaging and in recent years, Cem Yildirim, national sales manager for produce, has aggressively built a presence in the fruit and vegetable market segment.

The firm’s German-engineered technology applies a variety of options in forming and sealing equipment to create highly advanced modified atmosphere consumer packages.

Yildirim cites many advantages for controlled environment agriculture — "CEA" — to use Multivac technology. These operations produce and sell product 12 months a year through hot houses, hydroponics, and aquaponics.

Yildirim notes that even in the idyllic environment of some California growing areas, it is generally rare for a farm to produce and pack every day of the year. “When you’re harvesting and packing every day, it’s more like a dairy operation. The product just keeps coming and your packaging operation must be able to keep up. Every day there is more to harvest.”

Thus, it becomes highly cost-effective to invest in top-level, efficient packaging technology.

Autonomous greenhouse forum

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-19 Wed 10:22

Autonomous greenhouse is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) in CEA, which will become critical for the future development of CEA technologies, including applications to low and high tech CEA.  Please sign up if would like to join the conversation. This will be the first step to build a community to identify R&D needs…

New session joins Indoor Ag-Conversations webinar series

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-18 Tue 10:03

As the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry grows, companies are facing greater shortages in qualified talent. How can innovation in training and education accelerate the industry to the benefit of all? Hosted by the Farm Tech Society and Indoor Ag-Con, LLC,  "The Future of Farming: Educating…

Indoor growing vs. traditional greenhouse growing

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-18 Tue 10:02

Today, in theory, there is enough food on the planet to feed approximately 12 billion people, but the way it is distributed around the world is inefficient and unsustainable. As food is transported across the entire globe, its shelf life or freshness tends to deteriorate considerably and a lot of food…

Is the future of wheat farming inside and up?

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-17 Mon 07:54

What would happen if we grew wheat not on acres of land but in multistory structures that look like office buildings? The answer: yields as much as 600 times greater than those of traditional farming methods, according to a study just published by researchers at the University of Florida Institute of…

How can crop production data advance the controlled environment agriculture industry?

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Aug-10 Mon 06:37

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Open Data project aims to advance controlled environment research, machine learning and artificial intelligence through the collection and dissemination of crop production data. by David Kuack There is a considerable amount of data being generated by both private…

Feeding the world with controlled environments

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-24 Fri 09:41

This case study, written by Gene Giacomelli and Eric Roth for Agritecture, takes a look at how CEA has emerged as a viable, contemporary agricultural practice over the past 50 years. Here’s how it happened! The fallout from increasing global temperatures, a worldwide pandemic, and political unrest is…

Exploring the costs and benefits of indoor agriculture

Submitted by Elsewhere on 2020-Jul-24 Fri 09:41

Yesterday, the Indoor Agtech kicked off its virtual event, joined by many participants. One, of the many seminars, was about 'Exploring the costs and benefits of indoor agriculture'. Robert Colangelo, Founding Farmer at Green Sense Farms, kicked off the seminar by asking what CEA means to Matt Roy, VP…