The inaugural edition of CEA Summit East attracted 200+ attendees from more than 20 US states, including growers, educational institutions, researchers, government representatives, manufacturers/suppliers, real estate/developers, start-ups, technology providers, and others. The one and one-half day event featured keynote sessions; breakout sessions in the CEA Skills, Business Tips & Regulation; and Teaching, Extension & Workforce Development tracks; CEA industry & Research showcase sessions and an array of networking opportunities, including a reception among the tabletop exhibits at the end of day one. The event culminated with tours of the CEA Innovation Center.
Day two opened with a keynote address from Virginia Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry Matthew Lohr. Secretary Lohr shared more about Virginia’s vision for the future of fresh produce and how he and his team are working with industry partners to achieve it during his speech, “Reorienting Our Fresh Produce Supply Chain: Behind Virginia’s Push to Become a National Indoor Farming Industry Leader.”
The CEA Summit is co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con and the VT-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center. Event partners pictured with Virginia Secretary of Agriculture & Forestry -- (L-R) Telly Tucker, President, IALR; Kaylee South, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Controlled Environment Agriculture, Virginia Tech; Matthew Lohr, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry; Michael Evans, Ph.D., Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Director, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con; Scott Lowman, Ph.D., Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President, Applied Research, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
Following the keynote address, the audience gathered for a special panel discussion titled “Building The Future Of CEA.” From opening lines of communication and greater transparency to sharing resources, research, and best practices, this session explored how we can all work together to ensure that regulation represents our industry properly, that health competition thrives, and that all sectors can grow successfully – together.
Panelists in the photo above (L-R): Scott Lowman, Ph.D. , Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President, Applied Research, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research; Jennifer Waxman, Founder/Managing Partner, Seed2Source; Carl Gupton, President, Greenswell Growers; Michael Evans, Ph.D., Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Director, School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
In addition to attending panel discussions, breakout sessions, and networking events, the CEA Summit featured 17 tabletop exhibits from a variety of CEA industry suppliers.
Dr. Paul Edmondson of HYVE
Jordan Goulet and Brian Harris of Hort Americas
Luis Ampudia of INNIO Jenbacher
Ferd DeSantis of Landmark Plastic
Juan Gonzales of PRIVA
Louisa DeCesari and Scott Walker of Walker Bros Inc
Earl Chipman of Haifa North America
Robert Gribben and Avery Brickles of Koppert
The event wrapped up with group tours of the CEA Innovation Center. 60+ conference attendees took advantage of the unique opportunity to get an inside look at the CEA Innovation Center’s hydroponic and soilless systems/production systems and facilities, including indoor growth rooms, greenhouse, growth chambers, and vertical growing racks. They also got to hear more about some of the Center’s exciting research projects.
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CEA Summit East