- The 2nd annual CEA Summit East was held on September 19-20, 2023, at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Virginia.
- Themes of alliance-building, information sharing, and forging new connections were prominent.
- The event had 240 attendees from various countries, representing a broad spectrum of the CEA industry.
- Highlights included keynote addresses, educational tracks, tabletop exhibits, a graduate student poster competition, and a tour of the CEA Innovation Center.
Gone are the days when agriculture meant only open fields under the sun. The Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Summit East, co-hosted by Indoor Ag-Con and the Virginia Tech- IALR CEA Innovation Center, underscored the industry’s momentum in harnessing technology and collaboration for agricultural advancement.
“This event exemplifies what can happen when we pool our resources, expertise, and insights for the betterment of an entire industry,” Brian Sullivan, CEO of Indoor Ag-Con, observed. The convergence of growers, educators, tech specialists, and other key industry members clearly shows an industry keen on synergy.
In his keynote address, Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Matthew Lohr reinforced Virginia’s commitment to leading the indoor farming revolution. The commitment was echoed by the subsequent keynotes and educational tracks that covered topics from the future of CEA crops to aquaponics.
Amidst the sharing of insights, the event was also a testament to the ongoing innovations in the sector. The 21 tabletop exhibits provided a window into the latest tools and technologies shaping CEA.
Furthermore, introducing the CEA Poster Competition highlighted the link between academia and the industry. With Nelda Hernandez from Auburn University securing the top prize for her research on hydroponics for strawberries, it was clear that the future of CEA is not just about technology but also about harnessing academic intellect.
One of the unique elements was the opportunity for attendees to take a guided tour of the CEA Innovation Center. The tour offered insights into the hydroponic systems, facilities, and the various groundbreaking research projects underway.
As the curtains came down on the CEA Summit East 2023, eyes are now set on the 2024 edition. But before that, industry members have another rendezvous at the Indoor Ag-Con, slated for March 11-12, 2024, in Las Vegas.
Indoor Ag-Con has been steering the course for indoor farming since 2013, bringing together industry luminaries and pioneers under one roof. With a focus on vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture, it continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of agriculture.
A joint venture between IALR and Virginia Tech, the CEA Innovation Center embodies the spirit of partnership. By bridging the gap between industry and academia, the center aims to spearhead research and educational endeavors that push the boundaries of CEA both in the U.S. and globally.
Image provided by Indoor Ag-Con