Greenhouse Growers | Vertical Farms | Indoor Agriculture

CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE SUMMIT EAST - OCT 1-2, 2024

Held at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research Conference Center in Danville, Virginia, the CEA Summit East focuses on bringing business and academia together, including greenhouse growers, vertical farm and container farm operators, educators, scientists, other indoor growers, field growers, extension specialists, suppliers, and others interested in the promise and new business opportunities offered by controlled environment agriculture (CEA). Join us!

Conference Starts in

For Information On Attending & Exhibiting In 2024

Call +1.404.991.5186 | email: hello@indoor.ag

2024 CEA Summit East

The Virginia Tech-IALR Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center, a partnership between the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and Indoor Ag-Con invite you to join us for the 3nd annual CEA Summit East in Danville, Virginia.

We are excited to build on the momentum of the 2023 2nd annual event and continue to bring together leaders in the CEA industry for 2024! Learn more:

What is CEA Summit East?

It is a conference featuring speakers highlighting different aspects of the CEA industry in keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions.

It is a networking event featuring tabletop exhibits from suppliers showcasing the latest CEA innovations and services with a host of opportunities to meet with peers and potential new business partners during meals, coffee breaks, and an evening social event.

The CEA Summit East co-hosts are uniquely qualified to bring the CEA industry and academia together to boost growth opportunities for all:

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center is a joint project between the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), Virginia Tech’s School of Plant and Environmental Sciences, and the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Housed primarily within a modern indoor agricultural complex on the campus of IALR in Danville, VA, the center features hydroponic and soilless systems/production systems and facilities including indoor growth rooms, greenhouses, growth chambers, and vertical growing racks. The center’s scientists and technology teams are working closely with the industry’s top growers and suppliers on a number of key projects.

The Indoor Ag-Con team of seasoned event professionals produces the premier trade show and conference for indoor |vertical farming | controlled environment agriculture. Experiencing record growth each year, its events touch all sectors of the business — covering produce, legal cannabis |hemp, alternate protein, and non-food crops – and attract decision-making growers, investors, real estate developers, agtech leaders, produce buyers, academics, policymakers, industry suppliers and advocates from across the US and 28+ other countries.

Who Should Attend?

Everyone interested in controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

  • Indoor & Greenhouse Growers
  • Facility Owners & Operators
  • Researchers
  • Educators
  • Government Officials
  • Real Estate Developers
  • Architects, Construction Specialists
  • Sales & Marketing Teams
  • Industry Manufacturers & Suppliers

Why Attend CEA Summit East?

  • Attend educational sessions – Come hear from and interact with speakers through panels, breakout sessions, and industry and research updates.
  • Network with industry suppliers showcasing CEA innovations at tabletop exhibits – Enjoy a great opportunity to get to know individuals with different perspectives within CEA throughout the event and at our evening social gathering!
  • Compete in the poster competition – Graduate students in CEA-related topics are invited to present their work in a poster competition.
  • Ignite ideas – One of the best ways to bring about new ideas and solve problems is by taking a trip and having great discussions to gain a new perspective.
  • Learn – CEA is growing, and so is the need to fill positions with talented individuals. This is an opportunity to teach new talent and on the other end, learn from CEA experts.

2024 Conference Schedule

A day-and-a-half event full of keynotes, breakout sessions, and networking opportunities.

8:00 AM - 8:30 AMAtrium

Registration, Coffee/Breakfast Pastries & Networking

Get your badge, explore tabletop exhibits, view research poster display and network with industry peers.
8:30 AM - 8:45 AM101ABCD

Welcome/Event Overview & Mission

8:45 AM - 9:30 AM

Keynote Address – TBA

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM101ABCD
Paul Brentlinger
Paul Brentlinger

CEO, CropKing, Inc.

What IS CEA: Its Definition, Mission and Purpose

The term controlled environment agriculture (CEA) encompasses various innovative farming practices, such as greenhouse cultivation and vertical farming, which harness controlled environments to optimize crop growth. Join our panel of experts as they unpack the concept of CEA, exploring its role in supporting/supplementing traditional farming, enhancing crop quality, and ensuring year-round production. You'll gain a comprehensive understanding of why CEA is vital for addressing modern agricultural challenges, including climate change, resource scarcity, and food security. Whether you're new to CEA or seeking a deeper insight into its significance, this panel offers a valuable opportunity to grasp the essence of controlled environment agriculture and its mission for a sustainable future.
10:00 AM - 11:00 AMAtrium/102/103

Coffee Break and Mid-Morning Networking

Explore tabletop exhibits, view research poster display and network with industry peers.
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Sessions 1

 
Auditorium
Neda Vaseghi
Neda Vaseghi

Founder, Microclimates

Ensuring Safe Harvests: A Primer on Food Safety in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Production Track This session will provide an introduction to the critical aspect of CEA food safety. Gain valuable insights into foundational principles, regulatory requirements, and best practices for maintaining food safety standards in greenhouse and vertical farming operations. The session will cover essential topics such as sanitation protocols, hazard analysis, and preventive controls specific to CEA environments. Additionally, attendees will receive guidance on initiating food safety programs tailored to their operations and access to a curated list of resources for further support and information. Whether you're a seasoned grower or new to CEA, this session offers essential knowledge and practical tools to ensure the safety and integrity of your harvests.
101E

Charting the Course: Identifying Education and Training Needs in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Education and Workforce Training Track

Join a discussion aimed at understanding the current landscape of educational resources, gaps in training programs, and emerging skill requirements across various sectors of CEA, including greenhouse management, vertical farming, and hydroponics. Industry experts will share insights on the latest advancements in technology and production methods, and their implications for workforce development. Whether you're an educator, employer, or industry stakeholder, this session offers a platform to collectively identify and address the educational needs essential for fostering innovation and sustainability in CEA.
101F
Xander Yang
Xander Yang

Co-Founder, Farmbook Project

Kelly Reavis
Kelly Reavis

VP of Controllership & FP&A, Plenty

Founder, USDA Connect
Founder, USDA Connect

Understanding the Economics of Controlled Environment Agriculture

Business Track Explore the financial considerations and market dynamics shaping the profitability and sustainability of CEA operations, including greenhouse farming and vertical cultivation. Topics covered will include production costs, pricing strategies, market trends, and the impact of technological innovations on economic outcomes. Whether you're an investor, entrepreneur, or industry professional, this session offers valuable perspectives and actionable strategies for navigating the economic landscape of CEA and maximizing returns on investment.
11:50 AM - 12:45 PM102/103/101ABCD

Lunch & Networking Roundtables

12:45 PM - 1:45 PM101ABCD

CEA Industry & Research Showcase – Part One

From grower success stories to the latest research findings, hear 3 insightful, idea-packed briefs from some of the CEA industry's leading innovators.
Tessa Naughton-Rockwell
Tessa Naughton-Rockwell

Soil Scientist, Area 2 Farms

Showcase 1: Created Soil Management

Created soils allow growers to cultivate a diverse basket of crops available for market beyond the typical leafy greens and herbs production found in the Controlled Environment Agriculture industry. At Area 2 Farms, we invest in created soil as the foundation of an organic farm and a key differentiator in the crops we can grow. This talk will provide an overview of growing organically with a created soil, including its benefits, characteristics, and challenges, with data and examples from our experience at Area 2 Farms.
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM101ABCD

CEA Industry & Research Showcase – Part Two

From grower success stories to the latest research findings, hear 3 insightful, idea-packed briefs from some of the CEA industry's leading innovators.
Ian Howard
Ian Howard

R&D Project Manager, Soli Organic

Showcase 2: Organic Nitrogen for Indoor CEA: Ammonia Gas Collection

As a Certified Organic CEA producer, one of Soli’s main challenges is to find sustainable sources of nitrogen to fuel profitable plant growth.  Our partnership with Farmer Focus, an organic poultry alliance in Harrisonburg, VA and Dorset Green Machines in the Netherlands seeks to provide a local and sustainable liquid ammonium source for CEA fertilizer production.  With our partners, we can extract valuable nitrogen vapors from the exhaust gases of poultry barns, industrially concentrate nutrients into transport friendly forms, and utilize them in our local fertilizer production plants for our grow operations.
3:15 PM - 4:00 PM

Breakout Sessions 2

Auditorium
Joe Swartz
Joe Swartz

VP, AmHydro

Branching Out: Crop Selection and Diversification for Controlled Environment Agriculture Production

Production Track   This session focuses on the strategic selection and diversification of crops in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) to maximize yields, market potential, and environmental sustainability. Learn about the considerations involved in choosing crops suited for greenhouse and vertical farming environments, including factors such as climate control, space utilization, and consumer demand. Industry experts will share insights on innovative crops, emerging trends in specialty crops, and techniques for crop planting to optimize resource use and minimize risk. Additionally, the session will explore the economic implications of crop diversification and strategies for market differentiation to capture niche markets and enhance profitability.
101E

Collaborative Pathways: Industry, University, and State Partnerships in Workforce Training for CEA

Education and Workforce Training Track

This session explores the opportunities that arise when industry, university, and state programs collaborate to train the future workforce in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Attendees will learn about successful partnership models that bridge the gap between academic learning and industry needs, ensuring that students are equipped with the knowledge and skills required for career success in CEA. Expert speakers will share insights into effective strategies for curriculum development, internship programs, and industry-sponsored research initiatives that provide students with hands-on experience and exposure to real-world challenges and opportunities in CEA. Additionally, the session will highlight the role of state-level initiatives and funding support in facilitating collaboration and fostering innovation in workforce training for CEA.
101F
Gretchen Schimelpfenig, PE
Gretchen Schimelpfenig, PE

Senior Energy Engineer, ERI

Daniel Howland
Daniel Howland

Business Dev Mgr, Array Industries

Strategies for Cost-Effective Energy Management in CEA

Business Track   This session dives into practical strategies for mitigating energy costs and reducing consumption in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) operations. Explore innovative approaches to optimizing energy efficiency across greenhouse and vertical farming systems, including technology adoption, facility design considerations, and operational best practices. Expert speakers will share insights into energy auditing techniques, renewable energy integration, and incentive programs aimed at incentivizing sustainable energy practices. Additionally, the session will address the economic benefits of energy conservation and offer guidance on navigating regulatory requirements and financing options for energy efficiency upgrades.
4:15 PM - 5:00 PM

Breakout Sessions 3

Auditorium

Effective Insect Pest and Plant Pathogen Management in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Production Track

Join us for insights into the unique challenges posed by pests and diseases in greenhouse and vertical farming environments, as well as practical techniques for prevention, monitoring, and control. We’ll discuss integrated pest management (IPM) approaches, including biological controls, cultural practices, and the safe and judicious use of pesticides in compliance with regulatory standards. Additionally, the session will address emerging threats and innovative solutions for managing pest and pathogen pressures in CEA systems, emphasizing the importance of proactive management strategies to ensure the health and productivity of crops.
101E
Angela Cottrell, Ed.D.
Angela Cottrell, Ed.D.

Dir. Research & Institute Programs, UMKC

Melanie Yelton, Ph.D.
Melanie Yelton, Ph.D.

Founder, Grow Big CEA Consultants

Crystal Huff
Crystal Huff

Director, Commonwealth Charter Academy

Cultivating Leadership: Training the Future Leaders of CEA

Education and Workforce Training Track   This session focuses on developing the next generation of leaders in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Attendees will explore strategies for fostering essential leadership skills and preparing aspiring leaders to navigate the challenges and opportunities within the industry. We’ll discuss the role of mentorship, professional development, and education programs in cultivating effective leadership. Whether you're an educator, employer, or aspiring leader in CEA, this session offers valuable insights for driving innovation and growth in the industry.
101F
Jennifer Polanz
Jennifer Polanz

Managing Editor, Inside Grower

Nick Genty
Nick Genty

CEO, AgEye Technology

Bridging Innovation In CEA: Collaborative Research & Development Between Academia & Industry

Business Track   Join us to explore the dynamic partnership between academia and industry in driving research and development (R&D) initiatives within Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA). Expert speakers will share insights into establishing effective partnerships, navigating intellectual property considerations, and securing funding for joint R&D projects. Additionally, the session will highlight the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration, knowledge transfer, and commercialization opportunities that arise from academia-industry partnerships in CEA. Whether you're a researcher, industry leader, or policymaker, this session offers valuable perspectives and practical guidance for fostering mutually beneficial collaborations that advance the frontier of CEA technology and practices.
5:00 PM - 6:00 PMAtrium

Networking Reception & Tabletop Exhibits

Join us as we top off day 1 with a networking reception to connect with fellow growers, researchers, educators and industry members, explore the latest innovations from our tabletop exhibitors and view research poster display.
8:30 AM - 9:00 AMAtrium/102/103

Coffee, Breakfast Pastries & Networking

Enjoy coffee, pastries, explore tabletop exhibits, view research poster display and network with industry peers.
9:00 AM - 9:30 AM101ABCD

Day 2 Welcome & Keynote Address – TBA

9:30 AM - 10:15 AM101ABCD
Andrew Brooks
Andrew Brooks

Business Dev. Manager, Priva

Horizon Ahead: Navigating the Future of Controlled Environment Agriculture

Join our panelists as they explore emerging trends, technological advancements, and transformative innovations shaping CEA today. From AI-driven automation to sustainable energy solutions, we'll touch on key drivers propelling CEA towards a more resilient and productive future. Gain insights into the opportunities and challenges on the horizon.
10:15 AM - 11:00 AMAtrium/102/103

Coffee Break and Mid-Morning Networking

Explore tabletop exhibits,view research poster display and network with industry peers.
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Breakout Session 4

Auditorium

Aquaponics Deep Dive

Production Track

Learn more about the principles and practices of aquaponic cultivation, which combines aquaculture (fish farming) with hydroponics (soilless plant cultivation) in a symbiotic environment. Expert presenters will cover topics such as system design, water quality management, species selection, and crop choices optimized for aquaponic systems. Attendees will gain insights into the ecological benefits, resource efficiency, and potential economic advantages of aquaponics in CEA operations. Additionally, the session will address practical considerations such as regulatory compliance, troubleshooting common challenges, and scaling up aquaponic systems for commercial production.
101E

Onboarding New Employees: Company Training Programs For Success

Education and Workforce Training Track

Discover essential components of effective company training programs designed to facilitate successful onboarding of new employees in Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) operations. Speakers will share strategies for developing comprehensive onboarding plans, including orientation processes, job-specific training, and ongoing professional development opportunities. Additionally, the session will explore the role of technology and digital tools in enhancing training delivery and tracking employee progress. Whether you're an HR professional, manager, or industry stakeholder, this session offers valuable guidance and practical tips for building robust training programs that empower new hires to thrive in CEA environments.
101F

Building International Partnerships in Controlled Environment Agriculture

Business Track

Whether you're a grower, supplier, or industry leader, this session offers valuable perspectives and actionable strategies for leveraging international partnerships to unlock new opportunities and address global challenges in CEA. Gain insights into the strategic considerations and best practices for establishing collaborations across borders to drive innovation, market expansion, and knowledge exchange. We’ll share success stories of international partnerships, highlighting key factors for success, such as regulatory alignment, and market access. Additionally, the session will address practical considerations such as navigating trade agreements, intellectual property rights, and logistics in global CEA collaborations.
11:50 AM - 12:45 PMAtrium/102/103/101ABCD

Networking Roundtables and Box Lunch

12:45 PM - 1:30 PM101ABCD

CEA Industry & Research Showcase

From grower success stories to the latest research findings, hear 3 insightful, idea-packed briefs from some of the CEA industry's leading innovators.
1:30 PM - 2:00 PM101ABCD

CEA Summit Takeaways

This session will bring together individuals representing the various groups who participated in the conference - a grower, academic, student and supplier -- to highlight key themes and takeaways. Bringing a range of perspectives to the table, the discussion will provide an opportunity for everyone to gain insights into the challenges and opportunities for innovation in CEA. Ultimately, the conversation will aim to inspire all of us to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of controlled environment agriculture.
2:15 PMMeet in the Atrium

CEA Innovation Center Tour (Optional)

A unique opportunity to get an inside look at CEA Innovation Center’s hydroponic and soilless systems/production systems and facilities, including indoor growth rooms, greenhouse, growth chambers and vertical growing racks. Hear more about some of the Center's exciting research projects, too!

In addition to a first-hand look at cutting edge research projects happening now, you can also explore ideas for collaborations with Virginia Tech and IALR researchers.    

2024 Speaker Roster Grows Daily!

Hear from 45+ industry leaders, including growers, researchers, educators and more! We're adding new speakers to the roster daily so check back regularly for latest updates.

  • Evans, Ph.D.

    Michael

    Evans, Ph.D.

    Director, School of Plant & Environmental Sciences, VA Tech College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

  • Lowman, Ph.D.

    Scott

    Lowman, Ph.D.

    Co-Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center and Vice President, Applied Research, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research

  • Schwarz Ph.D.

    Michael

    Schwarz Ph.D.

    Associate Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center Director, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Virginia Tech

  • South, Ph.D.

    Kaylee

    South, Ph.D.

    Assistant Professor of CEA, Virginia Tech and IALR | CEA Innovation Center Team

  • Swartz

    Joe

    Swartz

    VP of AmHydro - Controlled Environment Ag Consultant and Horticultural Advisor

  • Dusci

    Josh

    Dusci

    Climate Smart Agriculture Extension Associate,Virginia State University

  • Brooks

    Andrew

    Brooks

    Bus. Dev. Mgr, Priva

  • van Senten

    Jonathan

    van Senten

    Assistant Professor, Virginia Seafood AREC

  • Howard

    Ian

    Howard

    Senior Project Manager, Soli Organic

  • Vaseghi

    Neda

    Vaseghi

    Founder, Microclimates

  • Naughton-Rockwell

    Tessa

    Naughton-Rockwell

    Soil Scientist, Area2Farms

  • Yang

    Xander

    Yang

    Co-Founder, Farmbook Project

  • Polanz

    Jennifer

    Polanz

    Managing Editor, Inside Grower

  • Schimelpfenig, PE

    Gretchen

    Schimelpfenig, PE

    Senior Energy Engineer, ERI

  • Cottrell, Ed.D.

    Angela

    Cottrell, Ed.D.

    Dir. Research & Inst.Programs, UMKC

  • Yelton, Ph.D.

    Melanie

    Yelton, Ph.D.

    Founder, Grow Big CEA Consultants

  • Reavis

    Kelly

    Reavis

    VP Controllership | FP&A, Plenty

  • Howland

    Daniel

    Howland

    Business Dev. Mgr, Array Industries

  • Brentlinger

    Paul

    Brentlinger

    CEO, CropKing, Inc.

  • Genty

    Nick

    Genty

    CEO, AGEYE Technologies

  • Johnson

    Mark

    Johnson

    Founder, USDA Connect

  • Huff

    Crystal

    Huff

    Director of Aquaponic Programs, Commonwealth Charter Academy

Sneak Preview | Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center

  • We look forward to sharing the technology and research we're working on here at the Innovation Center with CEA Summit East attendees.

    Dr. Scott Lowman

    Dr. Scott Lowman

    Director, Controlled Environment Agriculture Innovation Center

CEA Summit East Registration - Save With Early Bird Rate!

Standard Pass - Early Bird Rate

$495
  • All conference sessions
  • Networking event with tabletop exhibits
  • All-day coffee/snacks
  • Lunch on days 1 and 2
  • Day 1 evening refreshments
Register by August 23, 2024

Graduate Student Pass

$395
  • All conference sessions
  • Networking event with tabletop exhibits
  • All-day coffee/snacks
  • Lunch on days 1 and 2
  • Day 1 evening refreshments
  • Register by August 23, 2024

Need additional information on pricing? Get in touch with us here dawn@indoor.ag

2024 Tabletop Exhibitors & Sponsors

Our 2024 roster of tabletop exhibitors and sponsors is filling up with some of the top names in the CEA industry!

2024 Sponsors & Marketing Partners

VDACS 2025
Aquaponics Assocciation
Vertical Farming Podcast

2024 Tabletop Exhibitors To Date

VDACS 2025
Anden
Atlas Greenhouse
Bartlett Instrument Company
Canna 2024
Dynamic Ag Solutions
Ingersoll Rand
Jasa
Kappa AgTech
Microclimates
Pace 49
Priva
Rimol Greenhouse Systems
Sonoco
Viscon Group

2024 Graduate Student Poster Competition


The CEA Summit East is pleased to announce the 2024 Graduate Student Poster Competition. The goals? To provide an opportunity for graduate students to share high quality Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA)-related research; to expose commercial companies to qualified candidates; to foster collaboration between individuals in academia and in private industry.

2024 Cooperative Extension Scholarship


The CEA Summit East is pleased to announce that the 2024 Cooperative Extension Application period is now open through August 15, 2024. We know that time and budgets can be limiting for cooperative extension personnel. That’s why we’re offering 10 scholarships to the 2024 edition! Each scholarship will cover the cost of a full registration. Travel cost is the responsibility of scholarship winner. Preference is given to first-time attendees.

Latest News

Conference Venue

Danville, Virginia

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is excited to host the 2023 CEA Summit East in Danville, VA. Check out the information below for location details and travel recommendations.

Get Directions:

Enter Destination From input field below to get directions to our event location

Destination From

Destination To

Venue

IALR Institute Conference Center

150 Slayton Avenue

Danville, Virginia 24540

Phone: (434) 766-6700

Getting Here

Airport information:

Piedmont Triad International Airport (airport code: GSO) located in Greensboro, NC

Raleigh-Durham International Airport (airport code: RDU) located in Morrisville, NC

Lynchburg Regional Airport (airport code: LYH) located in Lynchburg, VA

Train information:

Amtrak train station located in Danville, VA (code: DAN)

Parking at IALR:

Free parking at IALR!

Hotel Rooms

Here are a number of hotels conveniently located near the Summit venue:  

For Information On Exhibiting or Attending Our 2024 Edition

Call 1.404.991.5186 | email: hello@indoor.ag

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