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[l] at 1/19/22 8:47am
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced today a $9 million investment in new Cooperative Extension and USDA Climate Hubs partnerships to bolster climate research and connect and share climate-smart solutions directly with the agricultural community. “The Cooperative Extension system and the USDA Climate Hubs have unmatched capacity to reach agricultural, Tribal and underserved communities, as well as educators and students, and our nation’s farmers directly,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This partnership will strengthen climate research efforts and accelerate the development, adoption and application of science-based, climate-smart practices that benefit everyone.” This investment is part of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the nation’s leading competitive grants program for agricultural sciences. This new AFRI program area provides effective, translatable and scalable approaches to address climate change through regional partnerships, including the USDA Climate Hubs, and further extends outreach through organizations such as the Cooperative Extension Service. “These new NIFA-funded projects will work toward net-zero emissions in agriculture, working lands and communities adapted to climate change, training a diverse workforce that can communicate and incorporate climate considerations into management and climate justice that is appropriate for unique U.S. agronomic conditions,” said NIFA Director Dr. Carrie Castille. The initial six funded projects include: University of California (Davis) will develop multifaceted pathways with the California Climate Hub to climate-smart agriculture through stakeholder needs assessments, climate-smart agriculture trainings for technical service providers, regional workshops for farmers and ranchers, and student education with Extension service-learning opportunities. Participatory program development and delivery through extensive network of stakeholders, collaborators and supporters are at the core of this integrated proposal. ($1,500,000)Pennsylvania State University will create an education program to help private forests adapt and mitigate climate change, prepare minority owners to take advantage of carbon market opportunities, and prepare the forestry extension workforce to better serve their clients in forest carbon and climate issues, in collaboration with the Northern Forests and Southeast Climate Hubs. ($1,500,000)Montana State University will collaborate with the Southwest and Northern Plains Climate Hub staff and regional education and extension stakeholders to develop improved educational materials, modes of communication, and issue expertise that will help in assisting farmers and ranchers to better assess the sources of past crop and livestock production losses due to weather and climate disruption, as well as explore future projections for these causes of loss. ($1,500,000)Ohio State University is partnering with the Midwest Climate Hub and multiple universities to increase Midwest adoption of regionally scalable climate-smart activities. The project will improve shared understanding of needs of the Midwest’s diverse stakeholders, develop shared roadmaps for livestock and cropping systems, elevate perspectives and voices of historically underserved communities including black and indigenous communities, and strengthen climate science infrastructure through a re-imagined Extension-Midwest Climate Hub partnership. ($1,500,000)The Desert Research Institute Native Climate (Reno, Nevada) project team will strengthen the role of USDA Climate Hubs in Indian country by enhancing Native agroecosystem resilience through expansion of climate services and outreach in the Southwest and Northern Plains Climate Hub regions. Activities are designed to foster trust between Climate Hubs and Native farmers, ranchers, and resource managers through equitable and culturally appropriate information sharing, putting community at the center of solutions for climate change and food and nutrition security. ($1,500,000)The USDA Caribbean Climate Hub is partnering with minority-serving universities, including the University of Puerto Rico and the University of the Virgin Islands Extension, and non-profits to help historically underserved communities throughout the U.S. Caribbean and other coastal areas adapt to a rapidly changing climate and extreme weather events. They will develop education and Extension programs aimed at increasing climate literacy as well as helping land managers employ climate-smart agriculture and forestry techniques. Educational materials will be created in Spanish and English. ($1,500,000) AFRI BackgroundAFRI was established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and re-authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. The program was re-authorized to be funded at $700 million a year, with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 funding AFRI at $435 million. NIFA provides AFRI grants to support research, education and Extension activities in six Farm Bill priority areas: plant health and production and plant products; animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition, and health; bioenergy, natural resources, and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities. Learn more about AFRI. USDA Climate Hubs BackgroundUSDAs Climate Hubs are a unique collaboration across the Departments agencies. They are led by the Agricultural Research Service and Forest Service located at 10 regional locations, with contributions from other USDA agencies including the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Service Agency, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Risk Management Agency. The Climate Hubs link USDA research and program agencies in their region with the delivery of timely and authoritative tools and information to agricultural producers and professionals. USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

[Category: Industry News, Business, Education, Technology]

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[l] at 1/18/22 12:48pm
Capsum and iFarm Launch Sustainable Vertical Farming R&D Project to Create Innovative Cosmetics Marseille (France), Helsinki (Finland) Scientific cosmetics manufacturer, Capsum (France), and agricultural technology company, iFarm (Finland) have signed a cooperation agreement and are set to launch a cutting-edge farm-laboratory to enhance the creation of innovative beauty products. As part of a pilot project, a small farm-laboratory using iFarm technologies will be built inside the existing R&D site at Capsum’s plant in Marseille. The leading microfluidics cosmetics manufacturer only uses natural ingredients to create its products and will evaluate the potential of large-scale cultivation of plants in a closed environment as an environmentally sustainable, safe and predictable growing method. The on-site installation of an iFarm laboratory will enable scientists to cultivate plants free from pesticides and other harmful chemicals and facilitate the year-round production of high-quality microfluidic cosmetics ingredients. The Marseille farm-laboratory will consist of four rooms: an engineering room, which will house an automation control system, and three growing rooms. Plant growth and technical controls at the scientific mini-farm will be monitored using iFarm Growtune software. Alexey Novokreshchenko, iFarm Automation Director: “We’re excited to create a universal farm-laboratory for Capsum, where it will be possible to grow almost anything – microgreens, flowers, plants – suitable for the production of microfluidic cosmetics. The farm-laboratory will also provide the ideal environment for creating, testing and experimenting with new ‘plant growth recipes’, available via the iFarm Growtune IT platform.” Now, iFarm specialists are preparing equipment for the engineering room, with the vertical structures and technical equipment for the growing rooms to be delivered to the Capsum plant in the first quarter of 2022. Anthony Briot, COO Capsum: “Capsum uses only natural ingredients to create its beauty products. The company plans to build its own industrial vertical farm in order to produce environmentally friendly raw materials all year round.” As well as growing plant ingredients for its cosmetics, Capsum will use the farm-laboratory at Marseille as an R&D platform. Here, Capsum will develop and experiment with new ‘plant growth recipes’ for its revolutionary skincare products.  Kirill Zelenski, CEO of iFarm Europe: “We are very pleased to launch our partnership with Capsum, which is known for its innovative approach to cosmetics production. Our team believes that vertical cultivation technologies are exactly what’s needed in an industry where the quality and environmental impact of ingredients is extremely important. iFarm is pleased to support Capsum in this groundbreaking endeavour and looks forward to a fulfilling and exciting partnership. Company Information About Capsum (France): Capsum is a large research and production start-up founded in 2008 in Marseille (France). The key direction of the company is the research, development and manufacturing of microfluidic cosmetics for skin care. Microfluidics is a branch of science that studies fluid management at a microscopic level. Thanks to this revolutionary technology, Capsum creates cosmetics that are highly penetrating and, therefore, more effective than conventional cosmetics. About iFarm (Finland): iFarm is an international technology development company specialising in solutions, platforms and innovative tech for plant growth and agricultural production in a controlled environment. Founded in 2017 with headquarters in Helsinki (Finland), iFarm has operational and in-construction farms in Europe, the Middle East, Russia and the CIS, with a total cultivation area of ​​more than 18,000m2. One of the companys products is Growtune, a cloud-based IT platform that provides automated climate control to optimize growing conditions for fast and abundant crop maturation on vertical farms.   iFarm technologies are recognized worldwide: the project is included in the TOP 500 food startups of the world and is a member of the EIT Food Accelerator Network; iFarm also became the best agricultural startup in Europe in The Europas Awards 2020. In 2021, iFarm received a Solar Impulse Efficient Solution label that certifies environment-friendly technologies that have proven to be profitable and economically viable. 

[Category: Industry News, Business, Indoor Ag Technology, LED Grow Lights, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 1/13/22 9:17am
At CEAtech, we owe our success to the efficiency of our organizational processes. To help maintain and grow this standard, we’re seeking an experienced operations manager to oversee daily activities. As an ideal candidate, you’ll have a sharp business mind and proven success managing multiple departments toward maximum productivity. You’ll be highly skilled in human resources, finance, and IT management. Additionally, you’ll display a proven ability to develop and maintain an environment of trust, diversity, and inclusion within your team. Your ultimate responsibility is to increase our operational efficiency in the assembly and installation of the Robotic Fan and Modular Farms system. Objectives of this Role Maintain constant communication with management, staff, and vendors to ensure proper operations of the organizationDevelop, implement, and maintain quality assurance protocolsGrow the efficiency of existing organizational processes and procedures to enhance and sustain the organization’s internal capacityActively pursue strategic and operational objectivesEnsure operational activities remain on time and within a defined budgetTrack staffing requirements, hiring new employees as neededOversee accounts payable and accounts receivable departments Daily and Monthly Responsibilities Lead, motivate, and support a team within a time-sensitive and demanding environment, including setup and implementation of career development plans for all direct reports and problem resolutionManage timely data collection to update operations metrics to achieve productivity targets, reduce cost per unit, eliminate errors, and deliver excellent customer servicePartner with cross-functional support teams in improving the proprietary tools and systemsWork closely with legal and safety departments to make sure activities remain compliantOversee materials and inventory managementConduct budget reviews and report cost plans to upper management Skills and Qualifications Bachelor’s degree in operations management, business administration, or related field5+ years’ proven experience in an operations management positionStrong budget development and oversight skillsExcellent ability to delegate responsibilities while maintaining organizational control of branch operations and customer serviceHighly trained in conflict management and business negotiation processesKnowledge of general business software and aptitude to learn new applications; proficiency inMicrosoft Office (Word, Excel, Outlook) Preferred Qualifications Working knowledge of management software programs, including QuickBooks, MS office, and BoxStrong IT skills, including database developmentMultiple years of financial and account reporting

[Category: Industry News, Business, Jobs, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 1/13/22 7:36am
AppHarvest CEO Jonathan Webb To Lead CEO Keynote Presentation At Las Vegas 2022 Indoor Ag-Con Press Release AppHarvest Founder and CEO Jonathan Webb will lead the Indoor Ag-Con keynote presentation, “How Tech In Farming Can Build A Resilient Food System,” on Monday, February 28, 2022 from 11:00 am – 11:50 am. A headliner event at the February 28 – March 1, 2022 edition of the trade show and conference for the indoor|vertical farming industry at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, Webb’s discussion will focus on what needs to be done to truly fix the world’s food system. And that, according to Webb, is the Farm of the Future, which he is creating at AppHarvest by investing in robotics, artificial intelligence and tele-operation, while developing the types of technologies that were required for Amazon to transform retail. Themed “Growing Your Business,” Indoor Ag-Con will give attendees the opportunity to explore new resources on the expo floor and hear from Webb, other CEOs, thought leaders and industry experts from today’s cutting-edge farms and other innovative companies. During his keynote presentation, Webb will dive deep into what new technologies can deliver quality produce with safe, more efficient growing methods which is good for all stakeholders and how AppHarvest’s AI and robotic technology allows the company to make data-driven decisions on plant health, productivity and better predict crop yield. Webb will also discuss how AppHarvest is bringing these technologies to market with its TechCo business, which is expected to serve the entire controlled environment agriculture sector. Jonathan Webb is the Founder & CEO of AppHarvest, a sustainable foods company developing and operating some of the world’s largest high-tech indoor farms to build an efficient food system. Before founding AppHarvest, he spent years developing massive solar projects for the U.S. Department of Defense. During this time, Webb learned about the Netherlands’ modern, tech-forward system of hydroponic agriculture. This research, coupled with reports that global food production would need to nearly double by 2050 and news of expanding drought and wildfire across the country, led him to realize that the American food system required change – fast. He returned home to Kentucky to start AppHarvest. Jonathan knew that, by harnessing the best of nature’s capabilities with future-forward technology to grow delicious produce at scale, we could tackle systemic supply chain issues while also advocating for modern methods of sustainable farming. He also knew that AppHarvest could reduce environmentally costly diesel emissions incurred during the shipping process by locating closer to consumers, all while delivering more reliably fresh and nutritious fruits and vegetables. Learn more about Jonathan Webb and his Indoor Ag-Con keynote session here. “Jonathan Webb’s vision for the future of agriculture and the steps he is taking with AppHarvest to get there are inspiring and exciting, “ says Brian Sullivan, partner/owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC .”We are thrilled to have him join the Indoor Ag-Con keynote stage in February and know our audience will be eager to hear from him.” ROBUST 2022 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT Webb’s presentation joins the Indoor Ag-Con 2022 CEO keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with Steve Platt, CEO, BrightFarms and Steven Bradley, VP, Cox Cleantech, Cox Enterprises. Look for additional announcements coming soon on other headliner keynote presentations planned for the February edition. The 2022 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Grower, Business & Technology. Attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore in February, including: CO-LOCATION WITH NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCATION SHOW New for 2022, Indoor Ag-Con will co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading trade show and conference for independent grocers, offering even more networking and business opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike. The NGA Show and Indoor Ag-Con visitors will have access to all exhibits, and discounts will be available for cross-over educational event attendance. Look for more details and other joint networking opportunities coming soon. SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDED EXPO FLOOR 2022 will also welcome the largest expo floor yet for Indoor Ag-Con. From irrigation and LED lighting to environmental control systems, substrates, greenhouse equipment, energy solutions, business services and more, attendees will have the chance to see the latest introductions and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as emerging leaders. MORE NETWORKING Exhibitors and attendees can enjoy complimentary luncheons on the show floor each day, a show floor cocktail reception, breakout sessions, networking opportunities with NGA Show attendees and other opportunities to reconnect with friends and meet new business partners. QUICK FACTS: WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 WHERE: Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101 INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag

[Category: Events, Industry News, Business, Greenhouse, Indoor Ag Con, Indoor Ag Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 1/11/22 7:35am
The Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS) will provide CEA growers with a means of doing a self-evaluation of their operations to achieve sustainability certification. The Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS) certification program will enable CEA growers to identify those areas within their companies that are operating sustainably and where improvements can be made to improve efficiencies and lower costs. An increasing number of consumers are asking for and purchasing products that have been produced sustainably, including fruits and vegetables. The Hartman Group reports in its recently released “Sustainability 2021: Environment and Society in Focus” that nine out of 10 consumers consider at least one environmental or social well-being issue when choosing foods and beverages. The research and consulting company found that nearly 50 percent of the 2,000 U.S. consumers it surveyed indicated they are more concerned about the environment, and four in 10 are now more worried about social well-being, compared to 18 months ago. Most of the survey participants identified the environment and social well-being as two separate but equally important areas of need. When shopping for food and beverages, the survey found consumers’ sustainability priorities are nearly evenly split between environmental and social well-being issues. Eighty-two percent considered environmental issues, especially waste reduction, sustainable packaging and pollution, to be priorities. In the case of social well-being issues, 86 percent pointed to support for the economy, safe working conditions and good wages/benefits as priorities. Making CEA more sustainable Companies in all industries are announcing their plans and promoting their efforts to become more sustainable. Whether it is reducing their dependence on fossil fuels, lowering greenhouse gas emissions or switching to more sustainable packaging, companies are trying to show consumers they are working diligently to lower their impact on the environment. In September 2019 following the USDA/NIFA Az-CEA Conference in Oracle, Ariz., representatives from academia, the agriculture industry and USDA met to identify and discuss cross-disciplinary areas of synergy, opportunity and need for the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) industry. One of the objectives of the conference was to identify research priorities for USDA to focus on. Cornell University defines controlled environment agriculture as “an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture where plants grow within a controlled environment to optimize horticultural practices.” CEADS has established a pilot project to work with a group of growers including greenhouse, indoor, vegetable and cannabis production, to identify differences in the areas where CEA crops are produced. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas “Out of the CEA meeting in Arizona there were discussions about the environmental impact of controlled environment agriculture,” said Gary Stutte, founder and president at SyNRGE LLC. “As we were discussing the state of the agriculture industry the term sustainability kept coming up. Conference speakers talked about agriculture and sustainability related to a number of issues including the amount of water being used to produce food crops and the inefficiencies of land use. Controlled environment agriculture will be part of the solution for sustainable agriculture. Controlled environment agriculture will help feed the three billion people living on the planet. “Currently there are no metrics to define what sustainable agriculture is. There are metrics related to efficiency of lighting and HVAC systems and the amount of water that is recirculated, but for production systems per se, what is really sustainable?” Development of CEA sustainability standards Follow up discussions after the conference lead to the formation of a committee that decided to determine what sustainable meant in regards to controlled environment agriculture. The committee, which included members from the private sector, government and academia, recognized the need to define goals for the advancement of the CEA industry. An external review process was conducted for nearly a year resulting in the formation of the Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS). “A concept was presented that what was really needed is a means for CEA growers to do a baseline self-evaluation to achieve some external certification as to just how sustainable their operations are,” Stutte said. “The committee put together a metric with a model that follows the LEED’s (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system, which is recognized worldwide.  “CEADS enable a production facility to be ranked how sustainable it is, not just on any one process or any one product or portion of it. A CEA facility may replace a lighting system with one that is more efficient, but that is only one aspect of the operation. An operation isn’t going to be sustainable based on one system.” The CEADS standards have been assessed by growers, academicians and industry representatives. The initial standards were sent out for external review and adjustments were made based on numerous comments and inputs that were received. CEADS includes the management and stewardship of energy, water, materials, byproducts, pests, safety and finances. Growers who participate in the CEADS program will be able to benchmark their operation’s performance in seven CEADS domains: Resource Utilization, Materials and Waste, Crop Quality, Integrated Pest Management, Automation and Labor, Equity and Localness, and Profitability. “CEADS certification is a voluntary effort,” Stutte said. “This is not a regulatory program. Where there is state or federal regulations, CEADS standards will have to match what the growers are expected to achieve.” Resolving unforeseen issues CEADS has initiated a pilot project to determine what issues may arise in the sustainability certification process. “We are initially looking at four growers in the pilot project,” Stutte said. “We are limiting the number in order to work out any kinks before the certification program is open to more growers. The pilot project will help us identify the areas that we thought might need some additional work across the industry. There’s a chance to recognize that there are differences in the areas where CEA crops are produced. “CEADS is crop and facility agnostic. It is recognized that there are some very different energy and water management issues that would go into producing a greenhouse ornamental crop vs. hydroponic lettuce vs. drip cannabis. We have established the pilot project to work with a group of growers including greenhouse, indoor, vegetable and cannabis production. From this pilot project we look to gain a sense of what changes may need to be made in the certification standards.” The CEADS program will assist in identifying areas within a growing operation for increased cost savings, including lighting, water and labor efficiency. Benefits of sustainability certification Stutte said the benefits of what the CEADS standards and certification will bring to growers are three-fold. 1. The CEADS program will assist in identifying areas within a growing operation for increased cost savings, including lighting, water and labor efficiency. “The CEADS program can help to identify areas within a growing operation that can be focused on in order to reduce costs and improve the sustainability and profitability of a facility,” he said. “Ultimately if an operation is not profitable, it is not sustainable. The CEADS standards are a tool to allow growers or managers to do complete assessment of their facilities.” 2. Achieving CEADS certification allows a differentiation of a market. “Obtaining this certification indicates a CEA facility is operating sustainably because it has an external certification by CEADS that is good, better or best,” Stutte said. “This is an external validation of the ethos of a company.” 3. Obtaining CEADS certification can lead to an enhanced ability to receive classification that would increase the attraction of a particular investment community that is focusing on sustainability, especially within the agriculture sector. “CEADS certification would make a company more in line with what an investor or investor group is looking for,” he said. “CEADS certification is an indication to the investor community that a company is operating at a particular level of sustainability and what is needed to achieve the next level, whether that is an investment in A, B or C.” For more: Controlled Environment Agriculture Design Standards (CEADS), board@ceads.ag; https://ceads.ag/. Gary Stutte, SyNRGE LLC, gstutte@synrge.com; https://synrge.com/. This article is property of Urban Ag News and was written by David Kuack, a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas.

[Category: Exclusives from Urban Ag News, Industry News, Business, Greenhouse, LED Grow Lights, Sustainable Agriculture, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 1/5/22 9:36am
Agritecture Designer Workshop Set For February 27, 2022 | 2 – 5 PMCaesars Forum, Las Vegas, NV Press Release Urban and controlled environment agriculture advisory firm Agritecture will host the pre-event workshop, “Planning Your Commercial Urban Farming Business,” on Sunday, February 27, 2022 – the day before Indoor Ag-Con opens February 28 – March 1, 2022 at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, NV. Focused on providing participants with a clear understanding of how to think strategically and avoid mistakes when planning an urban farming business, the three-hour workshop will run from 2 – 5 pm. Participants will receive access to Agritecture Designer, Agritecture’s proprietary urban farm planning software. This workshop will utilize Agritecture Designer and participants will work in teams to complete a design workshop to explore how urban agriculture might fit in with their current projects or long-term goals. Workshop participants will also meet and hear from some Agritecture Designer Partners and Indoor Ag-Con exhibitors, including Ceres Greenhouse Solutions and Montel. The Agritecture workshop is an optional pre-event workshop add-on available to Indoor Ag-Con attendees for just $150. To learn more and sign up, visit www.indoor.ag/agritecture-pre-event-workshop/ “We are excited to partner with Agritecture to bring this comprehensive educational opportunity to our grower audience,” says Brian Sullivan, owner|partner, Indoor Ag-Con, LLC. “Participants are sure to find this workshop to be a great way to kick off their Indoor Ag-Con experience. Not only will it help them strategically navigate the concurrent Indoor Ag-Con and National Grocers Association Show events that start the next day, the workshop adds even more networking, market research, and partnership development opportunities to help grow their businesses.” Led by Agritecture’s Director of Digital Strategy, Ricky Stephens; Marketing & Sustainability Lead, Briana Zagami; and Director of Consulting, Djavid Amidi-Abraham, the workshop outline includes: Lesson 1 | Introduction to Commercial Urban Farming • Understanding the full spectrum of urban agriculture solutions & impact categories • Key lessons learned from current case studies and past failures • How to position your farm for success Lesson 2 | Choosing Your Equipment, Crops & Marketing • Greenhouse vs. Vertical Farm considerations • An introduction to hydroponic systems • Understanding lighting options, nutrient solutions, air flow, and CO2 enrichment • How to conduct proper market research • Marketing & selling your product • Evaluating various sales channels Lesson 3 | Presentations from Partners, including • Ceres Greenhouse Solutions • Montel Design Workshop | Participants will be broken into teams Teams will develop an urban farming concept based on a selected site location and parameters using Agritecture’s proprietary urban farm planning software, Agritecture Designer. INDOOR AG-CON 2022 QUICK FACTS WHAT: Premier trade show & conference for indoor |vertical farming and controlledenvironment agriculture industry WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 WHERE: Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101 INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag or email suzanne@indoor.ag

[Category: Events, Industry News, Business, Conference, Indoor Ag Con, Indoor Ag Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 12/27/21 7:17am
Amsterdam, The Netherlands  Infarm, a rapidly growing urban farming company with a global presence, announced today that it has raised $200 million in a Series D funding round. The investment included participation from existing and new investors, including the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) which will support the companys expansion to countries in the Middle East Partners in Equity, Hanaco, Atomico, Lightrock, and Bonnier. The additional capital will serve to expand the deployment of the company’s vertical farms in the U.S., Canada, Japan and Europe, and to enter new markets in Asia-Pacific and the Middle East with both in-store farming units and Infarm Growing Centers. In 2023, Infarm will open its first Growing Center in Qatar, where it will harvest tomatoes, strawberries and other fruiting crops besides herbs, salads and leafy greens.  Erez Galonska, co-founder and CEO of Infarm, said: “The current food system is broken. Vertical farming and the Infarm system provide a sustainable solution to feed a growing population in a way that’s much better for the planet and is far more resilient and flexible in the face of climate uncertainty and supply chain disruption.  “Building a global farming network of our climate-resilient vertical farms is a core mission at Infarm, which is why we’re excited to announce this latest funding round. This strategic investment will support our rapid global expansion and bolster our R&D so that we can grow more varieties of crops close to consumers across Europe, Asia, North America and the Middle East. It’s another step towards meeting our ambition of growing the entire fruit and vegetable basket in the near future, providing premium products at affordable prices to everyone.”  His Excellency Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, said: “QIA aims to have a positive impact through all our investments. We continue to increase our exposure to leading innovators globally and we are actively targeting themes including the climate transition and technology. “As a responsible, long-term investor, QIA’s purpose is to create value for future generations. We see vertical farming as a way to enhance food security in every part of the world. We look forward to working with Infarm to develop their first Growing Centre in Qatar, which will contribute to Qatar’s own food security and economic diversification.” Infarm Growing Centers are Infarm’s flagship production units. The spaces connect multiple vertical farming modules, offering the equivalent of about 110,000 square feet of growing capacity, with a distribution center that ensures quick delivery to supermarkets. Infarm also builds smaller in-store farming units for grocery stores, making the shopping experience more dynamic for consumers. Both designs were developed to maintain superior freshness while consuming considerably fewer resources than soil-based agriculture. In addition to the more than 75 different varieties of herbs, salads and leafy greens Infarm currently produces, the company is working to expand its portfolio with 40 new crops next year such as mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, peas and strawberries. Infarm’s cloud-connected farming network can be scaled rapidly and requires less upfront capital than its peers. The company’s proprietary modular technology can be deployed in as little as six weeks to transform a space the size of a living room 430 square feet into an urban vertical farm that produces more than 500,000 plants per year the equivalent of a football field-worth of crops. This new farming model can be as much as 400 times more efficient than soil-based agriculture and uses no chemical pesticides. It requires 95% less land and uses 95% less water by recycling water and nutrients and using the evaporated water of the plants. Because crops are grown directly in cities, they also require 90% fewer food miles to get to consumers’ plates.  Each farm is equipped with numerous lab-grade sensors that have collected more than 60 billion data points from its global farming network. The farms upload information to the company’s cloud, the so-called “farm brain.” Infarm’s crop science team analyses the data to continuously update the growing environment in each module and improve factors like yield, quality and nutritional value through the use of artificial intelligence and its patented technology. In the last three years, through the analyses made possible by the “farm brain”, the company reduced production costs by 80% and improved yield by more than 250%.  Goldman Sachs Bank Europe SE and UBS acted as financial advisors to Infarm on this transaction. About Infarm Infarm was founded in Berlin in 2013 by Osnat Michaeli and the brothers Erez and Guy Galonska. Passionate to become self-sufficient and eat better, they were growing their own food, enjoying all the flavor and nutrients, without the chemical pesticides and transport kilometers. With the aim to share the goodness of own-grown produce with everyone, they developed a smart modular farming system, that allows distribution of farms throughout the urban environment, growing fresh produce in any available space, and fulfilling any market demand. Today, with cutting-edge R&D, patented technologies, and a leading multi-disciplinary team, Infarm is growing a worldwide farming network helping cities become self-sufficient in their food production, while significantly improving the safety, quality, and environmental footprint of our food.  With a multinational team of more than 1000 people globally, Infarm has partnered with more than 30 of the major food retailers including Aldi Süd, Amazon Fresh, Auchan, Casino, E.Leclerc, Edeka, Empire Company Ltd (Safeway, Sobeys, ThriftyFoods), Farmdrop, Intermarché, Irma, Kaufland, Kinokuniya, Kroger, Marks & Spencer, Metro, Carrefour, Migros, Selfridges, Selgros, Summit and Whole Foods Market in Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Switzerland,  deployed more than 1400 farms in stores and distribution centers, saved more than 16,000,000 gallons of water and 600,000 square feet of land. For more information, please visit www.infarm.com.

[Category: Uncategorized, Business, Greenhouse, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 12/15/21 11:00am
Platt & Bradley Headline Full Roster of Education, Networking & Expo Floor Innovations for Feb. 28–Mar. 1, 2022 Edition In Las Vegas PRESS RELEASE BrightFarms CEO Steve Platt and Cox Enterprises VP Steven Bradley will lead the opening morning keynote address for the 9th annual edition of Indoor Ag-Con, scheduled for Feb. 28 – Mar. 1, 2022, at Caesars Forum, Las Vegas, Nev. Themed “Growing Your Business,” the premier trade show and conference for indoor|vertical farming will give attendees the opportunity to explore new resources on the expo floor and hear from Platt & Bradley, other CEOs, thought leaders and industry experts from today’s cutting-edge farms and CEA companies. “When Cox Enterprises acquired BrightFarms earlier this year, the industry took notice,” says Brian Sullivan, co-owner, Indoor Ag-Con LLC. “We are thrilled to welcome Steve Platt and Steven Bradley to our keynote stage to share their exciting growth plans and vision for the future of our industry. It promises to be an inspiring kick-off to this year’s conference!” During the opening morning keynote – 8:00– 8:50 am on Monday, Feb. 28, 2022 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. Steve Platt is CEO of the mission-driven indoor farming leader BrightFarms, and a veteran Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) executive with a proven record of growing brands. Under Steve’s leadership, BrightFarms was acquired by lead investor Cox Enterprises in 2021, resulting in a clear roadmap for future growth and a positive exit for initial investors. His passion for BrightFarms mission and products led him to the company, which grows pesticide-free leafy greens in its six high-tech facilities across the country. BrightFarms grows and delivers its greens to local retailers as soon as 24-hours from harvest, producing fresher and more nutritious salads, and significantly reducing overall environmental impact compared to West Coast farms. As Vice President of Cox Cleantech for Cox Enterprises, Steve Bradley is responsible for building new cleantech verticals that tackle sustainability challenges while driving profitability, topline growth and diversification of the core business. With Bradley’s leadership, the Cox Cleantech team is investing in and acquiring solutions that positively transform key sectors including food, waste and energy to more sustainably meet the needs of the world’s rapidly growing global population. ROBUST 2022 CONFERENCE SCHEDULE NOW IN DEVELOPMENT In addition to Platt & Bradley’s opening morning keynote, look for additional announcements coming soon on other headliner keynote presentations planned for the February edition. The 2022 conference will also include a full roster of panel discussions offering a deep dive into three core tracks – Grower, Business & Technology. Attendees will find more new initiatives and show highlights to explore in February, including: CO-LOCATION WITH NATIONAL GROCERS ASSOCATION SHOW New for 2022, Indoor Ag-Con will co-locate with the National Grocers Association (NGA) Show, the leading trade show and conference for independent grocers, offering even more networking and business opportunities for attendees and exhibitors alike. The NGA Show and Indoor Ag-Con visitors will have access to all exhibits, and discounts will be available for cross-over educational event attendance. Look for more details and other joint networking opportunities coming soon. SIGNIFICANTLY EXPANDED EXPO FLOOR 2022 will also welcome the largest expo floor yet for Indoor Ag-Con. From irrigation and LED lighting to environmental control systems, substrates, greenhouse equipment, energy solutions, business services and more, attendees will have the chance to see the latest introductions and innovations from some of the biggest names in the business, as well as emerging leaders. MORE NETWORKING Exhibitors and attendees can enjoy complimentary luncheons on the show floor each day, a show floor cocktail reception, breakout sessions, networking opportunities with NGA Show attendees and other opportunities to reconnect with friends and meet new business partners. QUICK FACTS: WHEN: Monday, Feb. 28 – Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 WHERE: Caesars Forum, 3911 Koval Lane, Las Vegas, NV 89101 INFO: For information on exhibiting or attending visit www.indoor.ag ABOUT INDOOR AG-CON LLC 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 event. More information: www.indoor.ag

[Category: Events, Industry News, Business, Indoor Ag Technology, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 12/15/21 7:35am
SOUTH BEND, Indiana —Pure Green Farms is a greenhouse operator  growing leafy greens in South Bend, Indiana. They recently received investment from Taylor  Farms, the leading North American producer of salads and healthy fresh foods with over 122,200  acres of field grown products and 16 salad producing facilities across North America.   Pure Green Farms operates one of the most efficient, automated greenhouse systems and selected  iUNU to provide artificial intelligence and computer vision technology to automate operations  and steer better crop performance at scale. iUNU’s LUNA Platform provides growers the most  advanced horticultural technology on the market and helps greenhouse operators drive higher  yields and produce better crops.   Growers at Pure Green Farms have already begun utilizing components of LUNA such as Time  Travel to improve crop health. In one instance, growers in South Bend collaborated with iUNU  remotely through LUNA to identify issues in the facility and take immediate action based on  actionable data and in-field observations. LUNA helps growers scout remotely and Time Travel  allows growers and crop consultants to go back in time to see every plant at any point in time.  This ensures there is no ambiguity as to when issues arise and what happened in the past to  correctly root cause.  “With LUNA, I can get best-in-class experts from across the globe looking at our crops all at  once. This means instant collaboration and better results. The team at iUNU has been incredible  to work with already and this is just the beginning. I believe in the future of AI. LUNA is going  to get us there as we continue to scale the functionality in our facility,” said Joe McGuire, CEO  of Pure Green Farms.  Pure Green Farms uses innovative technology and proprietary data to grow high quality produce  that consumers can trust. With LUNA, Pure Green Farms gives comfort to retailers with visual  plant provenance, establishing a high bar of safety for its products. “Today, LUNA is our system  of record and we’re excited to continue adding automation and AI on top of this as we  continuously roll out more functionality,” continued McGuire.   “The results of our collaboration show what can be done when innovative producers, established  growers, and cutting-edge technology companies focus on what really matters – your crops.  iUNU is focused on using our products, like LUNA, to deliver constant value to growers, and  this is a great example of the benefits growers get when they implement LUNA,” said Adam  Greenberg, CEO of iUNU.   _____________________ About Pure Green Farms  Pure Green Farms grows, packs and ships leafy greens hands-free in the Midwest. Their purpose  is to grow responsible fresh produce through innovative farming. Located in South Bend,  Indiana, the farm uses environmentally friendly practices to grow their greens through its high tech, climate-controlled space. Pure Green Farms’ vision is to reimagine the way of farming with  their innovative technology to provide fresh, high quality produce consumers can  trust. www.enjoypuregreen.com  About iUNU  Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Seattle, iUNU aims to close the loop in greenhouse  autonomy and is focused on being the worlds leading controlled environment specialist. iUNU’s  flagship platform, LUNA, combines software with a variety of high-definition cameras — both  fixed and mobile — and environmental sensors to keep track of the minutiae of plant growth and  health in indoor ag settings. LUNA’s goal is to turn commercial greenhouses into precise,  predictable, demand-based manufacturers that optimize yield, labor, and product quality. www.iunu.com

[Category: Industry News, Business, Greenhouse, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 12/10/21 4:00pm
Vertical farming can deliver guaranteed yield and quality anywhere in the world Interest in vertical farming is growing worldwide. This method of cultivation offers great advantages: local, fresh production that is possible at any location in a very sustainable way. On the negative side are the high electricity consumption and investment costs. Scientists from Wageningen University & Research, together with international colleagues, provide a balanced view of the current situation in a review article published in the renowned scientific journal Nature Food. Vertical farming is an umbrella term for a method of growing in a variety of structures, such as empty buildings, specially constructed growth chambers or containers. The common characteristic is the closed nature of the system. This makes it possible to attune the conditions (light, climate, water, fertilizers) precisely to the needs of the crop. As a result, the crop grows evenly and can be planned. It is also possible to control the level of healthy nutrients in the crops. “Vertical farming is still a specialised niche, but the potential is great. Interest is growing all over the world. Initially, there were some critical comments about its feasibility, but we have really moved beyond that phase. That is why we’ve honestly listed the pros and cons of vertical farming”, says Sander van Delden, first author of the article in Nature Food. The article was written at the journal’s request. The Wageningen researchers involved many colleagues at home and abroad to produce a complete picture of all aspects of this growing method. This ranges from cultivation and technology to sustainability, health, social aspects and related policy. Cultivation is possible everywhere “It’s a solution for high-quality local production of fresh fruit and vegetables, close to consumers in urban areas. It can be done anywhere, regardless of climate or soil type. Cities can become independent of production in other areas; that’s useful as supply problems in times of crisis can cause dire situations. That scenario can be resolved with vertical farming”, says Van Delden. “Production and quality can be planned every day of the year. You have complete control, also over the nutrient content, although our understanding of this field still needs to grow”, says co-author Leo Marcelis, Professor of Horticulture and Product Physiology at Wageningen University & Research. “The system also has many sustainability benefits. Compared to all other methods of cultivation, the consumption of water and nutrients is low and it requires little space. In theory, you can grow without pesticides. On the other hand, the electricity consumption and the necessary investments are high.” Yet the high investments are not an obstacle at this stage. Large investors are queuing up. However, it is not only a question of technology and finance, both scientists emphasise. Only an interplay between crop experts, technicians, marketers and investors can take vertical farming to the next level. That is necessary and certainly possible. Marcelis: “We are only at the beginning; there is still a lot of room for improvement. Growers will learn to get much more out of the cultivation system. Breeders are working on special varieties for this method of cultivation. At the moment, you mainly see lettuce varieties and herbs such as basil in daylightless cultivation, but in time you will certainly see tomatoes and strawberries as well. Technically, any crop can be grown, but I expect that it will remain difficult to make this kind of cultivation economically viable for bulk crops like cereals, rice, or cassava.” Healthy vegetables guaranteed Van Delden sees many opportunities for improving the quality of fruit and vegetables: for instance, vitamins, antioxidants, flavourings or health-promoting substances. It is difficult to control quality in outdoor crops and greenhouses because of the ever-changing conditions. But in a vertical farm, it is always the same perfect spring weather. The Nature Food article also looks at socio-economic impacts and policy aspects. Vertical farming could provide employment in inner cities and repurpose unused buildings. It would enable food production in countries that for various reasons cannot be self-sufficient now, such as Singapore or Arab countries with a desert climate. Government policy, especially in Europe, has so far been poorly prepared for the new developments. Little thought has been given to the impact and, if policy exists, it varies from region to region. Directing more attention to the developments and moreover to the new types of healthy (and virtually organic) products from vertical farms would make the transition easier. www.wur.eu

[Category: Education, Industry News, LED Grow Lights, Leo Marcelis, Plants, Vertical Farming, Wageningen University]

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[l] at 12/7/21 7:13am
Next month, the University of Arizona Controlled Environment Agriculture Center will be hosting Hydroponic Tomato Intensive Workshop- January 7th-9th (Friday-Sunday) both in-person and online. This workshop is perfect for novice growers and will be packed with tons of critical information. You will get access to numerous lecture materials, personal question follow-ups, hands-on applications, a certificate of completion, and tons of knowledge! The last day to purchase tickets is January 2nd, 2022.   Click here to register! View the 2022 UA-CEAC Hydroponic Tomato Intensive Schedule. What you get: • Access to lecture materials that have been crafted from CEACs research and educational programs and fine-tuned over the last 10 years. • Personal question follow-ups • Certificate of completion • Tons of knowledge!!! Limited seats are available for both in-person and online attendance. For more information visit ceac.arizona.edu/events or email us at arizona.ceac@gmail.com

[Category: Education, Events, Industry News, Courses, Greenhouse, Hydroponics, Tomatoes]

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[l] at 12/6/21 3:43pm
The Ohio State University GREENHOUSE MANAGEMENT WORKSHOP Integrated Disease and Insect Management January 26-28, 2022 A virtual workshop from 9 am to 1 pm (ET) daily Insects and plant diseases can be a challenge for growing ornamental and food crops in a controlled environment. This 3-day virtual workshop will address greenhouse production fundamentals for controlling these pests as well as the latest integrated pest management practices, including identifying outbreaks, applying pesticides, and controlling mites. Attendees will also learn about methods for controlling root zone diseases. For program details, go to https://fabe.osu.edu/greenhouse. Cost is $60.00 per person. For program and registration details, click here. Agenda Wednesday, January 26 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (ET) Fundamentals Controlled environment agriculture: An overview | Dr. Chieri Kubota, OSUPerennial problems of annual plants: Identification & management | Dr. Francesca Hand, OSUImportant guidelines for developing a strong insect management program | Dr. Luis Canas, OSUBest practices for effective and efficient pesticide application | Dr. Erdal Ozkan, OSU Thursday, January 27 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (ET) Integrated Approaches Humidity management | Dr. Peter Ling, OSUNew spray technologies to benefit growers and the environment | Dr. Heping Zhu, USDA-ARSNew Advances for the Management of Mites in Controlled Environments | Dr. Luis Canas, OSUOrnamental viral diseases: Overview, prevention, & management | Judit Monis, Ball Horticultural Friday, January 28 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm (ET) Root Zone Diseases Identification and biology of Pythium root rot and other diseases | Anna Testen, USDA-ARS Research Updates: Crazy Root Disease | Chris Taylor and/or Cecilia Chagas, OSUAcidic hydroponics | Chieri Kubota, OSUSurfactants | Josh Amrhein, OSUDemonstration and Hands-on TrainingFrancesca Rotondo, OSU | Josh Amhrein, OSU | Anna Testen, USDA

[Category: Education, Events, Industry News, Greenhouse]

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[l] at 12/6/21 8:19am
By Chris Higgins, President of Hort Americas During the very early months of the pandemic, our friends at AppHarvest came to us with a challenge. They wanted to know if Hort Americas could help them source lights that were: 1. Made in the USA. 2. Made in the Appalachian region. 3. Made at a cost equal or less than the competition offers. In May 2020, this was a BIG ask.  Most companies were not thinking about new initiatives, especially anything that might add cost or require major investment. Due to the pandemic, most U.S.-based companies were more focused on applying for PPP or cutting costs as protection from an uncertain future and shrinking sales. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Hort Americas (@hortamericas) Thankfully, we all had plenty of time at our desk. So we placed a few phone calls to see what we could make happen. Our first call was to GE current, a Daintree company (when it comes to lighting, they are always our first call).  Truth be told, we expected a quick “no” and possibly a more emphatic “hell no.”  Instead what we heard was, “well (long pause), maybe (long pause) let us make some phone calls.” This then led to a crazy 12 months. During this time,  we assessed and identified needs while uncovering what was possible. To say that any of the parties knew exactly what they were agreeing to would be completely misleading. Everyone was simply saying yes to an amazing opportunity. “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”Richard Branson So what does AppLit mean? It means that food production in the Appalachian region is now lit by lights built in the Appalachians by companies focused on bringing excellent opportunities to their communities by focusing on the economic condition, health and happiness of the people who power the region. Read the full story at https://applit.farm/

[Category: Business, Industry News, Community, Technology]

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[l] at 12/3/21 9:31am
GAINESVILLE, Fla. Mohammad Yazdi from Ohio State University School of Environment and Natural Resources presents five tips for designing and managing irrigation reservoirs based on his research with James Owen (USDA-ARS), Steve Lyon (OSU), and Sarah White (Clemson University) in a new YouTube video (https://youtu.be/VKnIoVdy-0A). This video is hosted by Dr. Paul Fisher of the University of Florida IFAS Extension, for the series “Five Tips for Horticulture” (https://tinyurl.com/ufgto). The series highlights technical topics from university and industry experts. The channel is sponsored by the Floriculture Research Alliance (https://floriculturealliance.org/). Nutrients, substrates, and water topics are covered in our upcoming Greenhouse Training Online courses for growers, including Irrigation Water Quality and Treatment which starts in Fall 2022. Visit our website (https://hort.ifas.ufl.edu/training/) for more details. Course are offered in English and Spanish. The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human, and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents. ifas.ufl.edu | @UF_IFAS

[Category: Education, Industry News, Greenhouse, University of Florida]

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[l] at 12/2/21 8:16am
Geographic location is a major driver in who qualifies for a utility rebate and how many rebate dollars are available for specific projects. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas Article originally published by Hort Americas Hort Americas is working with Current to ensure their customers receive the maximum utility rebates for their LED grow light purchases. The benefits of using LED grow lights with controlled environment crops are well documented. One of the reasons some growers are reluctant to make the investment in these grow lights is affordability. Horticultural distributor Hort Americas is working with LED grow light manufacturer GE Current, a Daintree company, to ensure its customers are making the right choices to meet their lighting, production and profitability requirements. “Hort Americas and Current are continually monitoring what kind of financing solutions are available for our customers and their projects,” said Lee Levitt, North American utility director at Current. “This includes utility rebates, grants and loans through federal, state and local municipalities or helping to solve energy supply issues in deregulated markets with the potential ability to leverage a creative financing solution. Our team is supporting and educating the horticulture market by keeping our fingers on the pulse of what is happening in that marketplace. “In my role at Current and in my dozen plus years of experience doing utility rebates, we deliver with Hort Americas an approach that maximizes the customer experience in utility engagement. We can leverage with our customers the greatest rebate dollars that might be available to them. We have a proven track record of rebate award success with countless clients across the U.S. and Canada. Over the years, with the support of our partners like Hort Americas, we have delivered millions of dollars in utility rebates back to our customers who completed lighting and/or lighting controls for renovation or new construction projects.” As the market becomes more saturated with traditional lighting upgrades, indoor grow is a new space that is very appealing to utility companies trying to achieve their annual energy-savings goals. Photo courtesy of Current Geography is a rebate driver Levitt said geographic location is a major driver in who qualifies for a utility rebate and how many rebate dollars are available for specific projects. “Geography is absolutely a driver of these rebates,” Levitt said. “Agencies, whether they are state or federal, or electric utility companies, and the traditional rebate type programs that people are familiar with, present different opportunities for growers depending upon what they’re producing, what the scope of their work looks like and where their facility is located across North America.” Levitt said scope of work refers to what the project might look like. “This could be a greenhouse, warehouse, a renovation or new construction,” he said. “This also includes whether LED lamps or tubes are being replaced or new fixtures are being installed. We also help support our customers to make sure they leverage all eligible rebate measures. A project could have a much larger scope where a whole building analysis might make sense where it is affecting HVAC or is it just lighting and controls. “Current works with Hort Americas to support and leverage the greatest rebate eligibility opportunity based upon what the customer might qualify for. This applies to whatever type of facility it is or where it is located and what barriers, if there are any, based on the facility’s geography that might be present.” Levitt said the utility rebate program landscape continues to evolve. There are about 20 states with at least one utility company within that state that offers a specific horticulture program incentive. There are also about a dozen states that do not have a specific horticulture rebate program, but will evaluate energy-savings grow projects through a custom or other mechanism of evaluation to determine eligibility. “My analysis of horticulture grow light rebates has a wide range of award opportunity depending on geography,” he said. “Geography can be a major influential factor on how and if a program recognizes a horticulture project or not. Issues that influence rebate eligibility and award values are wide ranging and can include things like day light harvesting, energy savings, renovation vs. new construction, hours of operation, type of indoor grow facility, replacing lamps/tubes vs. whole fixture upgrade and more. “Utilities can be very complex around how their rebate program algorithms operate meaning they could be built around a one-for-one fixture change out or they may be based on energy savings calculations around kW or kWh. It’s not really black-and-white. Those are some of the factors that can determine what the rebate amount will be. For all these reasons Current and Hort Americas help support growers maneuver the process so they can maximize their rebate awards.” Current works with Hort Americas to support and leverage the greatest rebate eligibility opportunity based upon what the customer might qualify for regardless of the type of production facility. Photo courtesy of Hort Americas More rebate opportunities for horticulture Levitt said there is rebate program eligibility for growers just like any other energy-efficiency project. “Horticulture is a unique space and there are and can be significant rebate program dollars available to growers,” he said. “Depending on the size of a project, a greenhouse or warehouse that is considered smaller in scope could qualify for a hundred thousand dollar rebate which could be a lot of money based on project costs. There could be multi-million dollar farms that are massive in size and scope where much larger rebate opportunities can deliver significantly more rebate dollar awards. “Utility rebates have been around for years, and the traditional low hanging fruit was always lighting. As the commercial market landscape becomes more saturated with traditional to LED upgrade solutions, indoor grow which is a new space is very appealing when it comes to energy-saving goals that utilities are trying to achieve on an annual basis.” Utility companies can be very complex around how their rebate program algorithms operate. The programs could be built around a one-for-one light fixture change out or they could be based on energy-savings calculations. Photo courtesy of Current Levitt said utility companies are always looking for energy-savings opportunities that can be recognized within the guidelines of their rebate programs. “Utility companies are becoming more aware of the horticulture industry and controlled environment agriculture,” he said. “Some of these projects can generate a unique whole-building type of analysis that can affect someone who is doing lighting or lighting controls. The benefits in lighting can also lead to benefits for HVAC utility rebates. There is the potential to stack energy-savings opportunities for all stakeholders around a whole building depending on theproject leading to significant rebate dollars for the customer.” Even though significant rebate dollars may be available, Levitt said utility rebate programs can be difficult to maneuver because of their complexity. “Many utilities require pre-approval and engagement with the utility in the early stages of advancing energy-efficiency projects,” he said. “The benefit in engaging with utility programs early helps to make the utility knowledgeable that a potential energy-efficiency project is being completed in their territory. Utility programs are structured with a limited amount of dollars. When those dollars run out, rebate awards end. Achieving pre-approvals where applicable and addressing pre- and post-inspections are all requirements in most utility rebate programs. “We offer rebate processing solutions and support that allow growers to stay focused on growing. Each project and scope of work is unique and so are the rebate processing needs and support that is required depending upon each customer, what they’re working on and the customer’s unique needs. Current and Hort Americas are familiar with their customers’ needs and goals and help support them so that they can complete and submit the rebate paperwork to leverage those utility rebates and accelerate LED adoption.” This article is property of Hort Americas and was written by David Kuack, a freelance technical writer in Fort Worth, Texas.

[Category: Industry News, Business, Hort Americas, Technology]

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[l] at 11/30/21 10:13am
December 9–10, 2021 The 2021 Texas A&M Controlled Environment: Urban Agriculture Conference is designed for new and prospective growers interested in specialty crop production under controlled environment and for experienced growers who want to learn more about the nuts and bolts of crop production in a controlled environment. This conference is also suitable for hobbyists and gardeners interested in hydroponic production.  Presented for in person at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research & Extension Center-Water Education Bldg. (17360 Coit Rd., Dallas) or virtual participation. Registration fee includes:  Thursday reception & dinner and donuts & coffee Friday morning.  You are encouraged to make your own hotel reservations.  At the end of the conference, a tour of our greenhouses can be arranged for interested participants. Speakers & Presenters (click to access agenda) Dr. Gene Giacomelli – University of ArizonaAaron Field – Eden Green TechnologyBrian Harris – Hort AmericasDr. Daniel Leskovar – Texas A&MDr. Azlan Zahid – Texas A&MDr. Genhua Niu – Texas A&MLing Sun – Texas A&M Register Now Sponsorship Opportunities Available

[Category: Education, Events, Industry News, Conference, Greenhouse, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 11/29/21 8:10pm
Morgan Hill, CA  – Sakata Seed America announces the appointment of Eduardo Flores to the role of Chief Operations Officer (COO) for Sakata Seed America, effective November 29th, 2021. Ed will assume responsibility for all of Sakata’s logistics, operations and seed production activity in North/Central America, reporting to John Nelson, Executive Vice-president, and administratively to Dave Armstrong, President-CEO. Ed will be based in Sakata’s Morgan Hill, CA headquarters.   Ed has extensive experience leading supply chain operations for vegetables seeds, having served as Regional Operations Director for Monsanto’s North American vegetables business. He was also the commercial lead for De Ruiter, a global leader in hi-tech greenhouse tomato seeds and other crops, acquired by Monsanto and, most recently, Ed led global strategy for Dummen Orange, the Netherlands-based ornamentals company. Ed holds a B.S. (Honors) in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from The Institute of Technology and Higher Education of Monterrey (Mexico) and an MBA from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is fluent in Spanish and English.  “We are excited to have Ed join Sakata,” says Dave Armstrong. “Ed’s strong operational background and cross-cultural experience is a great fit for Sakata”.  “Ed will be an immediate contributor to Sakata,” says John Nelson. “Ed brings the ability to enhance Sakata’s industry leading supply chain team.”  “Across my career, I’ve shared Sakata’s belief that seeds have the potential to improve lives and create healthier communities,” says Ed Flores. “This is a remarkable opportunity to combine my passion for seeds and merge it with my professional business experience to contribute to Sakata and our colleagues.”

[Category: Business, Industry News, Greenhouse, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 11/24/21 7:41am
On Tuesday, November 9th, Bloomberg hosted a virtual roundtable to discuss how decision-makers in the AgTech industry are utilizing technology to give business and society new tools to tackle the world’s most perplexing issues. Through the lens of emerging technologies, we will examine how local economies can utilize technology to become more self-sufficient in agriculture, strengthen the global food supply and combat world hunger. PARTICIPANTS Jocelyn Boudreau, Chief Executive Officer, Hortau Lais Braido, Chief Financial Officer, Solinftec Mitch Frazier, Chief Executive Officer AgriNovus Indiana Erik Josefsson, Chief Executive Officer, R-evolution (a subsidiary of Hexagon) Allison Kopf, Co-founder, Artemis Lindsay Suddon, Chief Strategy Officer, Proagrica Cécile Tartarin, the Vice President of Products and Solutions at Geosys HOST Michael Hirtzer, Bloomberg News Agriculture Reporter

[Category: Industry News, Business, Greenhouse, Greenhouse Technology, Hydroponics, Indoor Ag Technology, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 11/23/21 7:00am
New partnership marks the first-of-its-kind industry collaboration to identify CO2 e emissions across supply chains Tuesday, November 16th, 2021 (San Francisco, CA) – BRF, Raízen, Rumo, AMAGGI and SINAI Technologies, announced today a first-of-its-kind collaboration to collect, calculate, forecast and share primary emissions data across the global supply chain to drive industry mitigation and decarbonization.  Through this collaboration, the companies reinforce commitments to the global agenda, understanding that engagement is essential to reach decarbonization. This is the first time – in any industry – for a collaborative initiative with the shared goal of identifying decarbonization opportunities throughout all supply chain operations. While this first partnership focuses on the agriculture industry, the goal is to accelerate the deployment of low carbon solutions across any and all supply chains. These companies will connect emissions from seed processing to agricultural production, trading, logistics, feed and food production and operation, and finally distribution from Brazil to global markets using SINAI Technologies’ decarbonization platform. From a consumer perspective, this yields the potential to see carbon-neutral food products available at your local supermarket. The companies are utilizing SINAI Technologies’ decarbonization platform to allow industry experts to develop emission allocation frameworks based on the primary data provided while prioritizing data privacy. The goal is for software to provide automated allocation methodologies that are developed and reviewed by sustainability experts to guarantee that the primary data in this way will provide accuracy and transparency which may incentivize the adoption of low carbon solutions, and contribute to the liquidity and reliability of off-sets and in-sets in a voluntary market. All data collected will be audited by a third party to validate the data, allocation methodologies, and calculations in SINAI’s decarbonization platform. “It is pivotal that we continue to find moments to collaborate across global supply chains and enable cross-industry collaboration. Initiatives like this, and the Carbon Transparency Partnership from the WBCSD and the RMI, add substantial value to global adoption and collaboration, and set the tone for others to follow,” said Maria Fujihara, CEO & Founder, SINAI Technologies. SINAI Technologies, a San Francisco-based startup that provides organizations with the technology tools needed to build effective decarbonization strategies, is acting as the technology partner. SINAI’s newly-launched Value Chain Module calculates Scope 3 emissions for participating companies using the same accounting methodology across the chain. The software also demonstrates how to allocate emissions at the product-level, from the facility-level (GHG inventories), without using common outdated product databases. Quotes from Supply Chain Leaders Taking part in such an initiative with key players within our value chain strengthens AMAGGIs project to start soon offering carbon-neutral soy to the market, positively impacting the GHG emissions of the products offered to consumers,” said Juliana de Lavor Lopes, AMAGGIs ESG, Communication and Compliance Director. “We understand that agriculture has a fundamental role in combating climate change. Therefore, offering climate solutions to global challenges is in line with our sustainability strategy, which includes commitments to decarbonize our operations by 2035 and to neutralize net emissions by 2050 (NetZero emissions), according to the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and the global Race to Zero movement, which we are a part of. Grazielle Parenti, Vice President of Institutional Relations and Sustainability, BRF said, “we are one of the largest food companies in the world and we are aware of our responsibility to people and the planet. We believe that engagement and cooperation between companies are essential for us to reach the common, necessary and urgent good: decarbonization. We are advancing on our sustainability journey and joint action between different players drives the global challenge of combating climate change. Here at BRF, we are part of this agenda and we are committed to being Net-Zero by 2040, with a focus on zero net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from our operations and our chain. Fernanda Sacchi, People, ESG and Communication Director at Rumo, said, “the partnership with SINAI offers a platform to centralize data on greenhouse gas emissions from the companys activities, allowing the targeting of mitigation strategies for the impacts caused, as well as defining goals to reduce these emissions. It is also possible to share data with stakeholders, as part of the monitoring of the value chain, providing transparency to the process. ### About SINAI TechnologiesSINAI Technologies Inc. is a software platform built to help organizations to build decarbonization strategies. Their decarbonization platform enables more intelligent carbon emission measurement, reporting, mitigation and scenario analysis for organizations using science-based methodologies. To learn more, visit: www.sinaitechnologies.com or follow us on Twitter @SINAICarbonTech or on LinkedIn @SINAI Technologies Inc. About BRFOne of the largest food companies in the world, BRF is present in over 117 countries and owns iconic brands such as Sadia, Perdigão and Qualy. Its purpose is to offer quality food that is increasingly tasty and practical, to people and their pets all over the world, through the sustainable management of a living, long and complex chain, which provides a better life for everyone, from farm to fork. Guided by the fundamental commitments of safety, quality and integrity, the Company bases its strategy on a long-term vision and aims to generate value for its more than 100 thousand employees worldwide, more than 350 thousand customers and approximately 10 thousand integrated workers in Brazil, all its shareholders and for society. About Rumo Rumo is the largest railway operator in Brazil and offers logistical services for rail transport, port elevation and storage. The Company operates 12 transshipment terminals, six port terminals and manages approximately 14 thousand kilometers of railways in the states of Paraná, Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo, Mato Grosso do Sul, Mato Grosso, Minas Gerais, Goiás and Tocantins. The asset base is made up of 1,200 locomotives and 33,000 wagons. About RaízenRaízen is a global benchmark in bioenergy with an integrated business ecosystem: from the cultivation and processing of sugarcane in our bioenergy parks, to the sales, logistics and distribution of fuels, we continually invest in innovation to reshape the future of energy. Through advanced technologies, we seek to play a leading role in the energy transition by expanding our portfolio of renewable energy sources, such as second-generation ethanol (2GE), biogas, bioelectricity and solar energy. By doing so, Raízen has already avoided the emission of 5.2 million tonnes of C02 per year (reference: 2020); by 2030, we aim to avoid twice this amount. About AMAGGI Founded in 1977, AMAGGI is the largest Brazilian grain and fiber company. Present in several stages of the agribusiness chain, AMAGGI operates in the agricultural production of grains, fibers and seeds, origination, processing and commercialization of grains and inputs, grain river and road transport, port operations, in addition to the generation and commercialization of renewable electric energy. AMAGGI produces circa 1.1 million tons of grains and fibers per year including soy, corn, and cotton and has a commercial relationship base of approximately 6000 rural producers. In 2020, it sold approximately 13.9 million tons of grain worldwide. Headquartered in Cuiabá (MT), AMAGGI is present in all regions in Brazil, with farms, warehouses, offices, factories, river and road fleet, port terminals and hydroelectric plants. There are 74 units located in 42 municipalities in 9 different states. Abroad, the company has units and offices in Argentina, China, Netherlands, Norway, Paraguay, and Switzerland.

[Category: Industry News, Business, Greenhouse, Sustainable Agriculture, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 11/19/21 1:08pm
Media, PA – The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture, a U.S. based  company that supports the growth and development of the vertical and indoor farming industry,  is partnering with a leading television and network production company, ITV, which is making a  documentary series on indoor farmers. The show will follow the stories of American farmers  who are in need of a farm transformation.  That means if you own a greenhouse, indoor vertical farm, urban farm, aquaponics facility,  mushroom farm or similar farm in the NYC and Philadelphia metro areas, you may be  eligible to apply for this casting call for aspiring early-stage farmers. The winner will be  featured on network television in a series that shows the successful transformation of the farm.  More Info: To apply and obtain more information on the requirements, please go to:  https://mailchi.mp/b89b548109bc/casting-call-indooragcenter  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, networking, knowledge development and research. Its annual  Best in Class Indoor Farming Awards (TM) recognize top indoor growers and manufacturers.  The Center is located in the Philadelphia metro region.

[Category: Industry News, Business, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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[l] at 11/18/21 5:54pm
Image above: Algae production using a geothermal energy source. Image credit: Algaennovation, Iceland. Who fancies some blue food? Really?  The theory of food colour confusion may originate from us being strongly aroused by foods on the red spectrum. Research published in Nature recently showed that we are more attracted to red coloured foods as they appear to signal better nutrition with higher calories in comparison to blue or green foods. Trichromatic vision evolved in humans as a response to improve foraging and may explain why we rely more on sight than scent when locating the most nutritious foods and fruits that are ripe and ready to eat. This is surprising to us as ‘leafy green’ farmers when we readily assume a green colour relates to health but the Nature study was more assigned to calorific colour arousal. Although our brains may not easily accept the blue colour as natural, our bodies will probably thank us if we do as blue-green algae also known as cyanobacteria has some of the best health benefits. Superfoods: Yogurt with blue Spirulina, Scottish Damsens, Blueberries and Sloes. One particular cyanobacteria has been studied extensively over the years Spirulina grows naturally in alkaline waters and was recognised and farmed by ancient civilisations for its medicinal qualities. The Aztecs of Mexico have a long historical relationship with Spirulina. They farmed Spirulina in large lakes, then harvested and air dried the algae to form a hard edible ‘cake’. This was often mixed with other foods and used as an energy source as these ancient people recognised it as an important functional food.  Massive health benefits that many people have still to discover People who move beyond the colour tend to use blue-green algae for supercharging the immune system, controlling muscle spasms, detoxing heavy metals, eliminating candida, improving memory and increasing energy levels to improve exercise performance. It may also lower cholesterol and blood sugar, acting to prevent heart disease, heal wounds and improve digestion. Pretty impressive qualities for this single celled life form billions of years old.  There are two main species of the blue green algae Spirulina, Arthrospira platensis and Arthrospira maxima.  As the image demonstrates, they are made up of single cells containing chlorophyll filled vesicles that react to light and photosynthesize like plants. Cultivation of commercial algae usually starts the life cycle in lab culture tubes, doubling quickly under controlled conditions. This helps to eliminate contaminants. Spirulina is the largest single celled blue green algae and it forms spirals visible to the human eye which bunch together to allow a quick harvest and is now cultivated worldwide as a nutritional supplement.  Spirulina is high in iron, calcium, magnesium, copper, beta-carotene and B-vitamins. Apart from the high content of protein, Spirulina contains B vitamins, particularly B12 and provitamin A (β-carotenes), and minerals, especially iron. It is also rich in phenolic acids, tocopherols and γ-linolenic acid. Spirulina does not have a cellulose cell wall so it is more easily digested. Most people selling dried Spirulina suggest 1-8g per day to boost the immune system but be careful as too much can have negative effects so it’s best to start with the lowest dose.  Some suggest Spirulina has the power to tackle world wide problems like malnutrition. The UN and WHO recommend Spirulina for it’s extremely high nutritional value and sustainability.  It has even been called the ‘world’s most sustainable food’ with the potential to end world hunger. The Pole Pole Foundation in the Congo were finalists in the Earthshot Prize recently. They are leading the way to teach communities in developing countries how to grow Spirulina as a supplement to prevent childhood malnutrition. Could Spirulina be an alternative vegan protein source? Would you drink blue milk?  Many vegans are looking for alternative sources of protein. Spirulina might even be a protein source of the future and a substitute for cow’s milk.  Spirulina platensis stands out for being one of the richest protein sources of microbial origin having similar protein levels when compared to meat and soybeans. Not to be confused with regular green Spirulina in its basic form, blue Spirulina is an extract of the active ingredient phycocyanin in its purest form. This concentrates the dried extract with higher levels of antioxidants without so much of the fishy taste of fresh Spirulina.  But if you don’t mind using fresh Spirulina (it’s fishy so it’s much better to mix with stronger flavours) it will provide protein that is quickly and easily absorbed in the body compared to animal proteins which is a bonus as it contains many essential amino acids that the body cannot synthesize alone and are essential for tissue renewal. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Fresh Spirulina is high in antioxidants, especially phycocyanin, the pigment which causes the blue green colour. Phycocyanin can promote blood cell regeneration, improve lymphocyte activity and improve the lymphatic system. Studies have shown this antioxidant scavenges and fights the free radicals that cause oxidative damage. Spirulina is known to be alkalizing to the body which boosts beneficial microflora in the gut. Liver function is improved and this greatly increases detoxification levels in the body. Fresh Spirulina contains chlorophyll and phycocyanin both of which help to remove toxins such as heavy metals and other pollutants from the blood. One remarkable study in children who lived close to Chernobyl after the nuclear disaster in 1986 found that giving them a small 5g dose of Spirulina a day could reduce radionuclide rates by half in less than two months.  Spirulina has Cancer fighting benefits  Spirulina has been hailed as an anticancer superfood, but reading further into peer reviewed literature is important as there are some extrapolated and conflicting reports from doing a simple google search. So here we only present peer reviewed data. From our research low dose Spirulina has anti-proliferation effects on stomach cancer cells, human leukaemia cells and B lymphoma cells, inhibiting carcinogenesis.  Eating Spirulina daily may lead to increased energy levels   Fresh Spirulina is particularly good for energy owing to its high nutrient density. Since the algae has no cell wall to break down, digestion of all those nutrients is fast and efficient. It can make a difference to energy levels quickly after consumption. Fresh Spirulina contains constituents such as polysaccharides (Rhamnose and Glycogen) and essential fats that are absorbed easily by cells and theoretically aid energy release. More studies are needed to be truly conclusive though but with low toxicity levels in the body, it’s well worth your own trials.  Spirulina enhances energy performance because it unlocks sugar from our cells. If you are suffering from memory loss, this bacteria added daily to your routine appears to have significant effects. It does this by protecting the brain from free-radical damage by increasing the activity of two enzymes: catalase and glutathione peroxidase, which fight free radicals and make the brain more resistant to aging. But It’s not all good news  Spirulina may exacerbate autoimmune reactions in some people who are susceptible. As such it may worsen symptoms of multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions linked to overactive immune systems. It’s also not recommended for pregnant women or children or people on blood thinners like warfarin. Be cautious where you purchase Spirulina, as it may be contaminated if not bought from a quality source, leading to additional side effects. Bioavailability: Should it be dried or is live culture better?  Image credit: Ecoduna, Austria  If you search for Spirulina online you are mainly going to encounter powdered products. There is nothing wrong with these as most research was conducted on using powdered forms which still showed positive results. However some reports suggest fresh Spirulina has up to 95% bioavailability. This means that 95% of the nutrients including essential amino acids, all the B vitamins and antioxidants are absorbed straight into your bloodstream increasing potency by 45% compared with powder.  How difficult is it to cultivate and commercialize? Spirulina cultivation requires sufficient aeration, agitation and proper light intensity for enhanced biomass yield, cell productivity, specific growth rate and protein content. Biomass yield has the potential to reach up to 12g/l biomass in a closed reactor system. Urea seems to be a promising alternative source of low-cost nitrogen for Spirulina cultures and addition of mechanised aeration will significantly increase yields.  Spirulina vats in a hothouse, Mexico But what about algal blooms? Are they the same Cyanobacteria? Spirulina itself is non toxic but other forms of blue green algae including Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, grown and harvested in the wild, is often contaminated and leads to toxic conditions when out of control.  Blue-green algae occurs naturally in lochs, ponds, reservoirs, rivers and the sea. This summer in Scotland it became a real issue. When the conditions are right, blue green algae will create massive blooms so large they can be captured by satellite imaging from space. Blooms are accelerated by leaching of fertilisers, with nitrogen and phosphorus runoff into the water course which becomes detrimental to other life forms by blocking oxygen and releasing toxic microcystins. So it’s a logical step to grow these in a controlled environment and if market conditions continue to accelerate consumer demand for functional foods then growing these super algae in CEA could be highly profitable for farmers. Image credit: Earthrise The largest US producer of Spirulina is based in California and they produce on an open 108 acre site, exporting to over 20 countries worldwide. There are disadvantages of open ponds as they do not reach high biomass productivity due to the difficulty of maintaining the optimum temperature and so they are restricted to tropical and subtropical regions. This is mitigated to some extent with large paddles constantly moving the ponds. Despite this hefty competition, CEA could be the perfect vehicle for growing a crop that has incredible health properties, sequesters CO2 and can be grown in tubing to eliminate contamination. With LED lights and agitation, enhanced yields could be harvested year round.  This could be particularly useful between the shoulder winter months to increase profits and farm skills where wholesale prices have the potential to return profits of up to $15/Kg . A rough estimate of 12g/L biomass can be achieved with a photobioreactor system incorporating PPFD 166 μmol photons m−2 s−1 with potential doubling every 2-6 days depending on the algal species chosen. Based on this, and assuming you harvest 50% at each doubling time, a microfarm running 100L tanks could harvest 0.6Kg every 2 days, giving a total annual yield of 106.2Kg and a potential maximum annual return of $1593.  Scaling up production will make more economic sense. Optimizing and automating additional technology (LED lighting, CO2 enhancement and state of the art infrastructure as seen with Algaennovation) may boost production but this must be carefully managed to balance a return on investment. Image credit: Algaennovation Learning and applying new ideas food, fuel & carbon trap Image courtesy of Energy Futures living laboratory project, Lille France We like to get people talking about the future diversity of CEA. This helps drive innovation and creates wider jobs and skills. At the same time we aim to help you better understand the science and health prospects of plants that could be grown in CEA. Of all the ideas out there, maybe our favourite is the idea of an algae curtain. Glow in the dark tubes of algae obscure prying eyes from your space while producing your own superfood or fuel.  Could plants literally fuel plants in a completely carbon neutral circular economy? Biodiesel produced using algae contains no sulfur, is non-toxic and highly biodegradable. This could have potential in offsetting CEA energy outputs and algae fuel cells could make home farms more economically sustainable in the future. There are so many applications for algae, some are even using it to extract CO2 from brewing.  Whatever reason you have for growing Spirulina and others (chlorella) there is no doubt about this being classed as a superfood.  Closer to home we like the way CEA farmers are looking to diversify their product range and kudos to On the Grow farms in Rockwall, Texas, growing spirulina alongside their microgreens. They grow in demijohn bottles adjusting the salinity to 2 and pH 10.5-11, harvesting and topping up fresh water every day. In order to maintain high pH and avoid fluctuations, high amounts of sodium bicarbonate must always be included in the culture medium to buffer the solution. The water needs aeration and temperature needs to be tightly regulated to 80F. LED lights will speed up production and your farm will literally bloom. Image credit: On The Grow Farms, Texas Spirulina first rose to fame as a potential space food. Maybe in space our brains are altered by gravity to be more accepting of blue food. Or maybe we will discover a whole new superfood bacterial species on Mars or deep in the ocean. So who’s got a spare shelf in their vertical farm for this blue superfood and space age protein milk shake?  Janet Colston PhD is pharmacologist with an interest in growing ‘functional’ foods that have additional phytonutrients and display medicinal qualities that are beneficial to human health. She grows these using a range of techniques including plant tissue micropropagation and controlled environmental agriculture to ensure the highest quality control. You can follow The Functional Plant Company on Instagram.  More from Janet Colston and Functional Food Who will be the first in CEA to challenge the future of medicine? Can plant phytonutrients grown in a controlled environment help people recover from Covid-19 and long Covid? Do produce farmers actually hold the answers to better health?

[Category: EatThis, Functional Food, Technology, Vertical Farming]

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