PRESS RELEASE – After leading a year-long study of two hundred indoor agriculture stakeholders that confirmed the need for a Center of Excellence, Eric W. Stein, Ph.D., co- founder and Executive Director is pleased to announce the launch of phase one of the Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture, which includes a membership-based networking platform and marketplace exchange web site that brings together 21st century farmers, entrepreneurs, technologists, suppliers, communities, universities, and government. The Center’s new features are available at indooragcenter.org
The goal of the Center is to accelerate growth and innovation in the industry through leadership, knowledge sharing, marketplace exchange, investment, programs and services, training, R&D, and advocacy. Phase two of its development includes raising capital and building a COE headquarters and technology demo facility in the greater Philadelphia area.
The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture offers free Individual membership as well as paid Business and Institutional (e.g., university, non-profit, government) annual memberships based on size. Membership benefits include access to the following:
Social Networking Platform Communities of Practice The COE Indoor Agriculture Supplier Marketplace Discounts on Products, Services, and Events Access to Partner Programs for Energy Savings and Job Search Access to an evolving library of Best Practices, Cases, Research, and Testing Promotion of Products and Brands
All indoor agriculture stakeholders are encouraged to join and discounts on memberships are available through the end of 2019.
“We are really excited to launch the new web site,” according to Eric W. Stein, Ph.D., co-founder and Executive Director of the Center of Excellence. “The site offers an opportunity to create a highly networked community for indoor agriculture that is available to the members throughout the year. We expect it will help investors find farms to invest in, help growers find the products and services they need, highlight key conferences and events, and develop a knowledge base of best practices, solutions, cases, and research. We invite all types of indoor growers to participate regardless of technology or product type; e.g., from greenhouses to plant factories and from leafy greens to mushrooms.”
According to Michael Guttman, co-founder and Director of Sustainable Development for Kennett Township, “The recent launch of the Indoor Agriculture Center of Excellence marks a turning point in the industry’s history. From now on there will be a comprehensive one-stop platform that provides news, education, social networking, and e-commerce for the whole industry – vertical farms, greenhouses, and mushroom farms, as well as facilities builders, equipment manufacturers, and a wide variety of service providers. The possibilities are endless.”
The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture anticipates building its presence in the greater Philadelphia area, which affords proximity to the “Mushroom Capital” of the U.S. in Southern Chester County, PA as well as Philadelphia, Wilmington, Baltimore, Washington, DC and New York. The area boasts advanced cold storage, packaging and distribution, a green-tech workforce, proximity to universities and schools, access to large consumer markets, and availability of land, capital and intellectual capital.
About Indoor Agriculture
Indoor agriculture is a means of growing produce and leafy greens indoors under controlled environmental conditions employing advances in lighting, automation and information management. Nearly $500 million dollars of venture capital has gone into the industry in the past five years (e.g., Hortidaily, 12/4/2017; Forbes 4/5/19). Indoor Ag is predicted to be a multi- billion-dollar industry that alters the way food is grown.
About Eric W. Stein, Ph.D.
Dr. Eric W. Stein is Associate Professor of Business at Penn State and CEO of Barisoft Consulting Group. Dr. Stein has a Ph.D. in Managerial Science from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Physics from Amherst College. He has published numerous books, articles and academic papers in business. He has served as an advisor to municipalities including Kennett Township and the City of Philadelphia as well as advised businesses interested in setting up indoor farms. Dr. Stein has spoken at conferences including Indoor Ag-Con and FreshTech, and run workshops for the USDA on indoor farming. Dr. Stein designed and operates an indoor vertical farm (e3garden) to conduct applied research on the economics of indoor farms.
About Michael Guttman
Mr. Guttman is Director of Sustainable Development for Kennett Township (PA) and co-founder of the Center. He has been a visionary in the field of indoor agriculture by highlighting the contributions of mushroom farming to indoor agriculture. Mr. Guttman has spoken at several indoor farming conferences including FreshTech, Indoor Ag-Con and Agtech NYC.