As FarmTech Society is preparing for the upcoming Vertical Farm World Congress in Brussels event together with Zenith Global, FTS is requesting all CEA stakeholders to send in feedback for a common voice by filling out a survey.
"The CEA Policy survey has been borne out of the general inconsistencies of the narrative in our emerging fledgling sector. With maturity, it will become more and more important to engage with regulators and policymakers to create a level playing field and recognition of the different CEA 'best' practices and standards," says Thomas Zoellner, Co-founder of the FTS.
Designing a narrative
The survey is executed in order to develop a smart policy narrative, anticipating confirmed high-level regulators and policymakers from the US and the EU. FTS would like to ask stakeholders to send in CEA growers their key interests and preferences to design a narrative for the important audience in regulatory bodies and policy developers in agriculture, bio-economy, health, and energy. The outcome of the survey is critical to everyone's growth potential, Thomas puts it.
"The sector increasingly recognizes that it needs an international body that would be the umbrella focused on these needs and wants," Thomas adds.
As it happens, vertical farming has become a lively segment with investors, suppliers, and operators trying to scale up rapidly. According to Thomas, they are vying for recognition as a sustainable and efficient way of growing local food!
The potential of vertical
However, it is important to recognize that vertical farming alone does not represent "any" market share that will draw the attention of regulators and policymakers. "Thus, including all types of controlled environment agriculture, such as horizontal greenhouses, mushrooms, alternative proteins based plants and insects as well as indoor fish farms have a substantial footprint and are all projected to grow exponentially. CEA is actually a practice that engages a cross-sectoral approach," Thomas affirms.
He continues, last but not least, that one of the main drivers of the political challenges in the Western markets is renewable energy, employment, and public health. All of which, CEA has significant solutions to offer, either in a stand-alone solution for individual growers.
"However, most likely as an integrated cluster (planned Westland) as part of the development of green infrastructure. Green infrastructure means access to low-risk financing, securing circular principles, and meeting the ESG targets that make only sense with cluster development and integration based on the cross-sectoral approach."