Indoor Ag-Con Done, Next Up…Lighting up ICCEA 2015

The 2015 Indoor Ag-Con Las Vegas was (like always) an excellent event.  It was a chance to hear from business leaders from outside the industry, leaders from within the industry as well as (many) new comers and innovative thinkers with goals of revolutionizing the world of fresh produce.

There were two presentations that I really enjoyed.  The first one was from Meiny Prins of Priva.  For those of us in the industry, we are all familiar with Priva and the products and services they have been offering greenhouse vegetable and ornamental growers for years.  But, how many know how Priva looks at the future of controlled environment agriculture?  If you want to know, you can download Meiny’s presentation here.  For me, her presentation was exciting because it showed that at least a few of our corporate leaders are looking to see how their companies can play a role in re-shaping the food system of tomorrow and not simply focus in how they can re-pack or re-market the products or services they sell/offer today.

The second, was the Q & A with Mike Degiglio of Village Farms.  This is the second year that Mike has presented at the Indoor Ag-Con and as always the audience was glued to his views and experience as a leading greenhouse vegetable grower.  What I appreciate most is his no nonsense advice based on years of fresh produce industry experience as well as his ability to relate to new entrepreneurs in controlled environment agriculture.  You will be able to read more on Village Farms, Mike and his views in Issue 10 of UrbanAgNews.

So, whats the next big event?  For me it will be the International Conference on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA) in Panama City, Panama.

Many people have been asking me whats the difference between Indoor Ag-Con and the ICCEA 2015.  That answer is simple.  The Indoor Ag Con is all about “what could be” and the ICCEA 2015 is all about “how do we get it done.”  We need both events.  We need people to inspire and develop ideas, but we must also understand the science behind those ideas.  Together the two events make for a strong pair.

An example of this difference is (and something I am really looking forward to) the discussions on light at the ICCEA.  While at the Indoor Ag-Con I had the chance to listen and hear about many different lighting concepts from a variety of different lighting companies which included:  Philips, Illumitex, Bios, Heliospectra, California Light Works, BML, Sunlight Supply and others.  There were so many choices (LED, HPS, plasma, induction) and there are so many of them told me that “theirs” was the best, the cheapest or the most innovative.

The ICCEA is set-up to help me understand the science behind horticultural lighting, help me develop the right questions to ask and then finally make sense of the answers I get.  Those in attendance will share this opportunity with me as we listen to presentations and panel discussions on horticultural lighting from Dr. Leo Marcelis (Wageningen University), Dr. Ricardo Hernandez (University of Arizona), Dr. Erik Runkle (Michigan State) and Dr. Roberto Lopez (Purdue.)  As a group these professors represent many of the leading research institutes in horticultural sciences.  As a group they will also be able to provide us attendees with the knowledge needed to make the educated decisions necessary in order to make a wise investment.

I look forward to seeing many of you at ICCEA 2015 in Panama at the end of May.

Chris Higgins – UrbanAgNews.com