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Organic Produce Summit to Educate Retailers on Controlled-Environment Agriculture

Educational session to address how producers, grocers and consumers are responding to fresh produce grown indoors
Marian Zboraj, Progressive Grocer
CEA session panelists (from left to right) Philp Karp, Eric Cusimano, Pierre Sleiman and Todd Linsky

The continued growth of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) and how producers, retailers and consumers are responding to fresh produce items grown indoors will be the subject of the first-revealed educational session at Organic Produce Summit, which is scheduled to take place July 12-13 in Monterey, Calif.

The two-day event is specifically designed to bring together organic fresh produce growers, shippers and processors with retailers and buying organizations from across North America. 

[Read more: "CEA Alliance Aims to Unite Indoor Growers"]

Panelists for the CEA session include Philp Karp, president of Soli Organic; Eric Cusimano, global produce principal buyer for Whole Foods Market; and Pierre Sleiman, CEO and founder of Go Green Agriculture. The session will be moderated by Todd Linsky, host of Todd-versations.

“CEA continues to alter the landscape of food production and provide consumers a variety of new items that will evolve in the years ahead,” said Susan Canales, president of Organic Produce Summit (OPS). “There continues to be significant financial investment from within and outside of the produce industry that fuels CEA growth. OPS attendees will hear from leaders of two of the most progressive organic CEA producers and a leading retailer who is front and center offering these products to their customers, exploring what is going right and needs work for the future of CEA.”

According to OPS, over the past four years, production of fresh produce in CEA has become a $100 billion-plus industry. Growing indoors while using less water and no pesticides, CEA incorporates innovative and efficient technologies to provide fresher produce to consumers.

“The CEA space has successes and failures that ebb and flow daily — sometimes hourly. The mercurial nature of the shifts can be attributed to overzealous investors, lack of institutional knowledge of the produce business, and how companies are defining their value in the food supply chain,” Linsky said.

The educational session focused on CEA is the first of five educational sessions and a pair of keynotes available for attendees. The seventh annual event will also include a selection of field tours for retailers and buyers, a gala opening-night reception, and a sold-out trade show floor featuring more than 170 producers and processors of organic fresh produce from across North America and the globe. Additionally, several new activities are planned for OPS attendees and will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Retailer registration for OPS 2023 is now open, with qualified individuals from retail and direct-to-consumer buying organizations eligible for complimentary registration and hotel accommodations. General registration to attend will open Monday, Feb. 13.

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