US: Growers, investors discuss horticultural opportunities at 'Realities of Growing Plants Indoors' short course

Attendees at the first “Realities of Growing Plants Indoors” Short Course learned what it takes culturally to produce controlled environment crops as well as how to finance and market their businesses.

Based on the phone calls Gene Giacomelli receives at the University of Arizona he said growers and would-be growers aren’t talking enough to the people who are interested in investing in the industry. Giacomelli, who is director of the university’s Controlled Environment Agriculture Center and a professor in Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering, saw an opportunity to bring the two groups together at the first “Realities of Growing Plants Indoors” Short Course, which was held in Tucson in July.

“I receive phone calls regularly from investors wanting to know about the possibilities of putting their money into production in controlled environment agriculture,” Giacomelli said. “They feel they don’t know enough about the industry. I was trying to get them together with growers so that they could have some discussion. They had the opportunity to share their vocabulary, their activities and the things that need to be done if they want to invest in a successful business.

“This also applies to the growers, who are looking for potential investors. Growers need to know how to make presentations and be able to provide the information investors need in order to satisfy their stakeholders if they are going to lend money or invest in a business.”

For the first 1½ days of the Short Course participants were provided with the basics applied “how-to-grow” controlled environment agriculture.

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