Controlled Environment Agriculture – The Industry is Growing Up
Conference: Wednesday 18th March 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, The John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park
Kindly sponsored by The John Innes Centre.
Consumer appetite for year-round supply of a diversity of produce has highlighted the vulnerability of urban populations to supply chain issues, and opened minds to alternative scenarios.
- Could a vertical ‘SkyFarm’ feed 40,000 people?
- Would a food computer in the kitchen offer personalised diets?
- Can indoor cultivation overcome limited resources and enable a re-think of food logistics?
Provocative questions are being posed at the Agri-TechE Controlled Environment Agriculture conference, which is exploring emerging technologies for vertical farming and growing crops in a secure indoor spaces.
The industry is growing up, it was worth £1.72bn in 2018, with experts predicting that will rise to £9.84bn by 2026 fuelling innovation.
Masters of the sun, the rain and the wind
“Until we get a really serious narrative about economics, technical challenges and the range and quality of things we can grow sustainably, the industry will never move forward.” says David Farquhar, CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions, which is developing robotics and advanced control system for managing vertical farms at scale.
In addition to all year production of an increasing range of high value crops IGS is also supporting traditional farmers seeking a reliable supply of pest- and disease-free seedlings. What do you think? Join us for the discussion.
Plant factories for urban populations
‘Plant factories’ – or vertical farms – can outperform even the most efficient greenhouses and achieve higher productivity for all other resources, research by speaker Luuk Graamans of the Wageningen University has found.
The opportunity to radically rethink food production systems in geographies with scare resources is one of the drivers for the rapid growth of CEA.
Vertical farming offers intensive production on a small footprint
This futuristic ‘Urban Sky Farm’ clears air pollution and produces beans and pulses. “At full capacity the tower would sustainably feed 40,000 people,” claims Thomas Cox – one of the visionaries expanding horizons and debate at the conference.
From micro-production to autonomous farms - tech exhibition
Micro-urban farms show small can be beautiful. Camden Town Brewery has teamed up with GrowUp Farms to grow its own strawberries on-site with an innovative Aponic vertical soilless growing system that uses 90% less water than traditional growing methods.
Others believe scale-up is the way to go. LettUs Grow has developed its Ostara management software to enable remote management of fully automated growing systems.
Growpura technology is designed for big production facilities. It uses hydroponics in a clean room environment and features an automated moving system to allow movement of the plants.
These are just some of the technologies to be discussed in the exhibition; see some of the highlights here.
Sustainable communities - food in the city
Johnathan Ransom of Square Mile Farms started with the concept of ‘flat pack farms’ for urban areas and now offers farm installations to big businesses, to help them achieve their sustainability and employee engagement goals.
After receiving an invitation from British Land, the company opened its flagship farm in February 2019 at Paddington Central and he will be unveiling his ‘next big thing’ at the conference.
Hear from thought leaders and connect with innovators
“I think CEA will provide a solution, but not on its own, it has to be part of the bigger picture. We are not leaving land-based food production behind” – Kiryon Skippen of investment firm Capital Agri International – read more here.
“Lighting recipes are designed to optimise plant growth” – Mira Merme, co-founder of Netherlands-based OneFarm – read more here.
“CEA in cities will develop more on a cellular basis, with urban farmers influencing their local supermarket” – John Oswald of Method – read more here.
- Cambridge Consultants
- John Innes Centre
- Plater Bio
- Green Lab
- Home Harvest
- Vertical Future
- Cranfield University
- Food Enterprise Park
- G’s Fresh
- Lincoln Institute for Agricultural Technologies (LIAT)
- Intelligent Growth Solutions
- JP Trett
- One Farm
- Pro-Lite Technology
- Redfox Executive
- Rothamsted Enterprises
- Saturn Bioponics
- Square Mile Farms
- MMP Tax
Wednesday 18 March
9:00 – 17:00
The John Innes Centre,
Norwich Research Park
Norwich, Norfolk NR4 7UH