Farm Tech Society, Indoor Ag-Con partner to present ‘Future of Farming | Educating the next generation to make CEA scalable’

Events Industry News

New Session Joins Indoor Ag-Conversations Webinar Series,
August 19, 2020 From 2-3 pm EST

Press Release — As the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry grows, companies are facing greater shortages in qualified talent. How can innovation in training and education accelerate the industry to the benefit of all? Hosted by the Farm Tech Society and Indoor Ag-Con, LLC, “The Future of Farming: Educating the Next Generation To Make CEA Scalable,” will bring together a panel of top educators to explore viable answers to this pressing challenge. The latest topic to join the Indoor Ag-Conversations free webinar series, the program will be held on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 from 2-3 pm EST.

Moderated by Farm Tech Society Chairman Ian Kanski, Director, Center for Advanced Agriculture & Sustainability, Harrisburg University of Science & Technology, the panel will include Dr. Laura Vickers, Senior Lecturer in Plant Biology, Harpers Adams University; Sonny Ramaswamy, president, Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities; and Dr. Marito Garcia, Fellow, Darden School of Business, Center for Global Initiatives (DCGI), University of Virginia.

“We’re excited to partner with the Farm Tech Society to foster discussion around this vitally important topic,” says Brian Sullivan, co-owner, Indoor Ag-Con, LLC. “The Covid crisis has certainly brought attention and increased awareness to the myriad benefits CEA can offer — from local food/supply chain solutions to year-round production. Attracting and educating a younger generation are critical to helping CEA reach its full potential.”

“Strengthening and securing the future of the CEA industry are key to the Farm Tech Society mission. The new Indoor Ag-Conversations webinar series offers a wonderful platform to exchange ideas and spark new ones. We’re looking forward to a great discussion,” adds Farm Tech Society Board Chairman and program moderator Ian Kanski. “

During the 60-minute program, the panel will discuss a range of topics, including:

  • Upskilling and retraining from challenged industry sectors
  • Skills gaps, labor challenges and automation
  • Micro-credentialing and industry certifications
  • Portability of skills learned in CEA operations
  • Public-private partnerships for training and education

The program is free and attendees can register at

The Indoor Ag-Conversations panelists will bring a wealth of educational industry experiences and insights to the discussion.

Ian Kanski is a social entrepreneur with a career dedicated to human development and sustainable technology. He is the Director of the Center for Advanced Agriculture and Sustainability at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology, Board Chair for FarmTech Society in Brussels, Belgium and co-founder of INTAG. Ian is also Co-Founder of the STEM Education consultancy B Theory Inc and is the former Chief Product Officer of Zoetic Global.

Dr. Laura Vickers gained her Ph.D. in 2012 from the University of Birmingham before working as a postdoc at Harper Adams University (HAU). She took up her role as Lecturer at HAU in 2014 and was also awarded a NERC Knowledge Exchange Fellowship in Horticulture, where she worked with the Horticulture Innovation Partnership in producing a R&D strategy for the Ornamental industry. She is now a Senior Lecturer at HAU and a leading member of the Urban Farming Group.

Sonny Ramaswamy assumed the presidency of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in 2018 after six years of service as President Obama’s appointee as the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Washington, DC. Prior to this position in the federal government, he worked for 30 years at several Land-Grant Universities, rising through the ranks from assistant professor to dean.

Dr. Marito Garcia is a Fellow at the Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA. He is a Board Director at Learning Equality, a non-profit education technology company based in San Diego, CA. He is co-founder of Italpinas Development Corporation, a green-building development company in Asia, based in Manila, Philippines; and Orenko Ltd (Cambridge, UK), an energy development company. He also served as senior staff at the World Bank, Washington, DC in various capacities.

Indoor Ag-Con LLC created the new Indoor Ag-Conversations series to share content originally planned for its May 2020 in-person annual conference that was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To learn more about this session, as well as other upcoming programs on the schedule, visit

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con, LLC produces the premier event for the indoor | vertical farming industry touching all sectors of the business — produce, legal cannabis, hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. In December 2018, three event industry professionals – Nancy Hallberg, Kris Sieradzki and Brian Sullivan – purchased Indoor Ag-Con LLC, setting the stage for further expansion of the events globally. For more information, visit:

The Farm Tech Society (FTS) is an international non-profit industry association that unites and supports the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry, seeking to strengthen the sector through the development and implementation of resilient and future proof methods and technologies for indoor growing For more information, visit

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