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US: Virginia is cultivating indoor ag to force a brighter future

Virginia has long understood the importance of nurturing promising new industries, and indoor agriculture is no exception. Despite some recent skepticism about the industry's relevance, we in Virginia see it differently. Here, indoor agriculture represents more than just a tech trend; it signifies a source of skilled horticultural and manufacturing jobs, rural development, and cutting-edge technology that can complement outdoor agriculture, providing fresh, locally grown produce.

Similar to other growing industries, indoor agriculture holds immense potential. While not every company will thrive, it's an early-stage sector, and those who fail to support it may miss out on a unique opportunity.

Several years ago, Virginia laid the groundwork for a different revolution. Despite early critics, Virginia invested in the budding technology that grew into Data Center Alley, which now spans Fairfax and Loudon counties. It evolved into a vital ecosystem powering global digital infrastructure and turned the commonwealth into 'the internet capital of the world.'

Today, we find ourselves at a critical juncture, faced with the urgent need to shape and diversify the future of our economy. Just as we foresaw the potential of the internet amid doubt, we are now turning our attention to a new frontier.

As an economic powerhouse enhanced by our rich agricultural history, manufacturing leadership and recent growth in technology, life sciences and professional services, Virginia is well-equipped to meet this challenge. Our renowned universities, skilled workforce, strategic location and commitment to innovation are the ideal ingredients to cultivate indoor farming.

Indoor agriculture represents a remarkable fusion of innovation and technology to address the age-old challenge of providing ample food with minimal land and resources. Over the last 15 years, companies such as AeroFarms, Beanstalk, Better Future Farms, BrightFarms, Greenswell Growers, Plenty Unlimited, Red Sun Farms and Soli Organic have invested in operations across the state, making Virginia the country's largest hub for indoor agricultural operations.

Read the entire article at the Virginian Pilot

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