Cancel OK

New season of PMA Takes on Tech podcast focuses on Controlled Environment Agriculture

Controlled Environment Agriculture or CEA is not new, but it has been growing in investment and consumer interest.

CEA is based on a growing space where temperature, moisture, lighting, and overall climate are controlled to promote optimal plant growth.

Vertical farms have seen the most recent investment and growth in using a small amount of vertical space with optimal lighting, machine learning and automation to reduce the square footage and crop inputs for maximum outputs.

Not only can indoor farming help us adapt to a warming planet, but it has the potential to help slow down climate change by using less water and producing fewer emissions. The space is attracting interest from outdoor growers as well as a way to diversify and mitigate climate risk.

Of the many aspects of CEA, PMA Takes on Tech we will tackle as many important topics as we can fit in with industry leaders. We challenge some of the industry dogma around sustainability and costs.

The innovation leaders at Plenty and AeroFarms will speak about their path to success and what makes them unique. The season kicks off on November 10 with Nate Storey CTO of Plenty speaking about the advantage of their vertical towers and some intriguing thoughts on the value of plant breeding.

This season we will also hear from thought leaders in the industry with broad visions about the challenges to the industry.

A big topic in CEA is business model structure and funding. With SPACs and IPOs and lots of money flowing from VCs, we will discuss what business models are working and which are not with Sonia Lo, past CEO of Sensei Ag and experts from Wells Fargo.

The refrain I hear from outdoor growers is that they actually have to grow a product, sell it to a satisfied customer and make a profit. What is the path for the new indoor farms to this level of financial sustainability?

With the current focus on climate change, the guests will also cover sustainability and carbon footprint of CEA. What is the carbon footprint of CEA? How is the industry keeping itself honest? How is the industry evolving to be more sustainable?

Our guests also touch on packaging, the effect on outdoor ag, future crops and much more.

Tune in to the podcast wherever you get your podcasts on Wednesday mornings starting November 10 through the end of the year. We will finish the season with a group of leaders discussing where they see the industry heading!

Vonnie Estes is Vice President, Technology for the Produce Marketing Association, and she hosts the PMA Takes on Tech Podcast.