Over 800 visitors, approximately 100 exhibitors, hours and hours of conference and thousands of handshakes, boxes, elbows and contact details being exchanged. The last two days, the Indoor Ag-Con connected the Northern American CEA industry - and the industry itself proved to be open to learning from each other. A sign of maturation?
The challenges of upscaling debated by Gabe Youtsey Chief Innovation Officer , UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Viraj Puri, Co-Founder and CEO, Gotham Greens, Matt Lingard, Vice President of Agriculture & Science, BrightFarms and Austin Webb CEO and Co-Founder, Fifth Season
It was only a couple of years ago when most vertical farmers, when asked about their company, would only share their growing system being unique, of high quality, and enabling them to grow with 90 percent less water and no chemical crop protection. During this year's Indoor Ag-Con, the annual show for the CEA industry, growers addressed different topics. Water recirculation, energy use, brand building, cost price - it's no longer only the cheering story the industry shared in its infancies, it's a market developing. The industry is not only growing rapidly but is also maturing. It was also evident that it was part of the event: a couple of years ago LED startups tumbled over each other and dozens of cannabis growing enthusiasts decided to have a look at what's going on. Now, in addition to the traditional horticultural suppliers, growing companies with at least a couple of years of history were present, combined with suppliers that are still young but have outgrown their start-up phase.
In addition, the greenhouse market in North America is expanding at a high speed. The pandemic, showing the vulnerability of the food system, combined with investors finding its way to the CEA industry and retailers choosing indoor-grown produce all drive the market.
On top of all of this, there has been a pandemic, resulting in many suppliers, growers, and other industry partners not being able to meet up or share knowledge. Now that quarantine rules are lifted and everybody's hoping to soon leave the pandemic behind, it turned out to be the perfect moment for the industry to get together and the Indoor Ag-Con show held in Las Vegas this week harvested the fruits.
Tomorrow we'll provide you with a full photo report. Please find a sneak peek below.
The Smithers-Oasis team
The NETLED team is present as well
KUBO Greenhouse Projects team