Early History of Indoor Agriculture & Associated Technology Development

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By Dr. Cary Mitchell (Purdue University)

This month’s Indoor Ag Science Café was about the history and current technology status of indoor farming. The beginning seems to be in Syracuse, NY, where General Electric developed an indoor hydroponic farm funded by DoD in 1973. Then there was a large commercial indoor farm for leafy greens in Dekalb, IL, owned by General Mills, which was closed in 1990s. The longest survived may be the one in Japan (TS Farm by Kewpie Co.) where they use HID lamps and aeroponics since 1989. Most significant technological improvement are two ways – one in lighting and another in rack/shelving systems. Dr. Mitchell also introduced the contributions that NASA indoor farming studies made over past 30+ years, as one of the contributors in the space.

Indoor Ag Science Café is supported by USDA SCRI grant program and designed to create a precompetitive communication platform among scientists and indoor farming professionals. The Café presentations are available from YouTube channel.   Contact Chieri Kubota at the Ohio State University (Kubota.10@osu.edu) to be a Café member to participate. 

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