As members of Agri-techE, we were delighted to take our place as part of a select panel of industry leaders to speak  at this year’s CEA Lite conference.  The event, which took place on 10th September, brought together organisations and individuals that share a passion for improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture.

CEA Lite was a digital platform for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) technologists, producers and investors to discuss the current landscape and highlight the most promising developments.

Our own Jock Richardson took centre stage with fellow peers all looking to answer the conference’s hot topic:  ‘Are automated indoor growing facilities the future for fresh produce?’

Putting the microscope firmly on the innovation challenges faced in UK hydroponics, Jock looked at the innovation drivers including food security, market education and Brexit as well as the impressive technology solutions available as he presented on the ambitious plans for GrowPura’s new growing operation in Bedford, set to open in 2021.

He shared our vision to become a provider of hydroponics expertise for those seeking to license our vertical technology, with our Bedford plant acting as a key demonstrator and training facility; before looking at what the future holds for the industry in 20 years’ time which he believes will be a vibrant ecosystem of producers and suppliers.

The CEA Lite online event was a huge success during lockdown with Dr Belinda Clarke, director at Agri-techE saying: “Environmental challenges, technological advances and changing consumer demand have increased the need for controlled environment agriculture solutions.  Our CEA Lite event certainly kept the conversation going around the technologies and opportunities in this vibrant space and I look forward to keeping a watchful eye on the exciting developments as they unfold.”

The CEA Lite conference also featured other topics for delegates who heard from speakers on disruptive business models, the technologies underpinning the movement, the appetite for investors and the training and transferable skills needed for vertical farming in a series of highly engaging presentations, discussion and Q and A sessions.