Agrown is building a new CEA R&D center for commercial greenhouse production at the Vermont Agriculture Business Education Center. According to Agrown's CEO Sue Raftery, it will become the first research center in the US that will solely focus on the commercial production of edibles in a controlled environment setting. At the same time AGrown is organizing the first dedicated investor conference for commercial scale CEA in the US. "Many investors in the US are aware of the fact that the future of food production is controlled environment agriculture, but there is a need for more background and education."

With the recently announced plans, Agrown targets US investors that want to enter the CEA industry and who are looking for a place where they can meet experts, suppliers and other entrepreneurs. Raftery: "With the conference and the new R&D center in Vermont, we want to create a place that can help them understand the industry, how to get in it, and create a synergy between our network and investors."

Raftery said that investors need to learn more about this industry, which is why they will organize an investor conference from October 21-23 at the Ohio Agriculture Research & Development Centre in Wooster, Ohio. This event will bring together top global experts of the controlled environment agriculture and commercial greenhouse industry at one location, to provide a small group of attendees with close interaction learning of technology and economics.

"The conference will become a small event, with no more than 20-25 investors," said Raftery. "It will help investors to go home with a blueprint and guidelines from where they can start evaluating and decision making in the CEA industry. This is just a foundational event, but we hope that we can create an annual event to help US investors and foreign investors that are looking to enter the US industry."

Currently Raftery's company is also involved in the realization of a dedicated CEA research center in Vermont. "This should become a demonstration site, where possible investors can see all kinds of business plans and methods, while at the same time suppliers and developers of technology can trial new ideas and demonstrate the potential of their systems."

The center is designed to meet the growing need for the indoor agriculture industry to have a North American facility dedicated to CEA research and technological innovation. The facility currently has four renovated buildings and the center is adding a custom greenhouse designed to meet the needs of commercial scale research/demonstration – quarter-acre discrete fully functioning sections to allow a variety of crops and testing. Participating firms will be able to own quarter-acre units or may lease space for their corporate research. Industry firms have noted the need to test yields of multiple crops, compare lighting, sensors, pumps, growth media etc. before deployment into commercial builds.

Register online for the conference!- Early Bird $2350; after August 30 $2595. Room costs not included. Conference website:

Those interested in attending the Research Center Showcase September 8, should contact

For more information
AGROWN/CEA Worldwide
Sue Raftery, PhD

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