I am writing this post from my flight to Panama for the International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (for those following on social media #ICCEA or #ICCEA2015.)
My excitement for this unique event is really starting to build as I review the 3 day program. It is clear that this will be a great opportunity to learn and network with some of the leading minds in horticulture. It is also clear that the theme of the event could or should be “control”. Why you ask?
As we continue to search for innovative ways to produce food and feed “9 billion by 2050”, many of our goals are focused on control. From controlling climate through a structure like a greenhouse or a vertical farm to controlling light through technology like LEDs, the simple fact is that we are looking for a way to maximize production by controlling all the variables important to producing high yielding crops profitably. (As an example, below illustrates everything you want to consider and then control in the production of greenhouse tomatoes.)
This is why I am so excited about the #ICCEA in Panama. The focus of this event is understanding the science and current technologies being used in controlled environment agriculture. Common sense would tell you that the only way to truly understand how to use/build technology or futuristic farms focused on control is to understand the horticulture sciences behind crop production. Without this understanding we would spend a lot of time re-creating the proverbial wheel. With this understanding we have more than a fighting chance to truly innovate and ultimately reach our goal(s) (regardless of what that goal is: a profitable farm, a nonprofit foundation, technology company or feed 9 billion by 2050.)
A few of the talks I am most excited to hear are:
Dr Kozai’s 6 Key Components of a Controlled Environment Ag Enterprise
Dr Sabeh’s presentation on HVAC
Dr J-E Son’s presentation on Hydroponic Growing Systems
Dr Wilkersons’s discussion on Innovative CEA Technologies
Dr Yang’s discussion on Why Vertical Farms are Essential to the Development of Urban Areas
Dr Hernandez’s discussion on Vegetable Transplant Production in Controlled Environments
Dr Goto’s presentation on Plant Based Pharma in Vertical Farms
I hope to see and meet many of you in Panama, and if you are unable to make it please make sure to follow on social media and at the UrbanAgNews.com Blog. I will do my best to make at least 2 updates during the Congress and 1 following the event.