Maximum Yield USA April 2018 - Page 86

cycl controlled environment agriculture the value of CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE training & certification The modern gardening movement is experiencing radical growth and evolution. This progress has led to the beginning of a novel industry operating under the umbrella term “controlled environment agriculture,” or CEA. Within the field of CEA are several sub- categories (these are not mutually exclusive): urban agriculture, vertical farming, indoor gardening, aquaponics, and greenhouse cultivation. And they all need qualified employees. by Kent Gruetzmacher 86 grow cycle T he progression of modern ga rdening from a home- based, hobbyist pursuit to full-scale commercial agricultural can be attributed to several factors. For starters, rapid technological advancements in CEA equipment are making large-scale crop production possible for the first time, on both logistical and economic fronts. Secondly, facets of the CEA movement—such as urban agriculture—infuse farming operations with both societal and environmental awareness. It goes without saying, notions of sustainable agriculture are popular for political, moral, and ecological reasons. Finally, the USDA’s proposed Urban Agriculture Act not only legitimizes CEA in the eyes of the mainstream, it sets forth to subsidize and support the industry in a way that stimulates rapid business development.