indoor farming by Driscolls-Plenty

Aug 30, 2022
Fresh produce association forms CEA leadership council

The International Fresh Produce Association is forming a leadership council focused on Controlled Environment Agriculture.

The volunteer council, led by Abby Prior, chief commercial officer at Bright Farms, and Vonnie Estes, vice president of agfood tech innovation at the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), will focus on opportunities available in the growing Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) market. Estes is the staff liaison for IFPA on the council.


“Controlled environment agriculture is not only a market with incredible business potential but also is a sustainable solution to meet the demand for fresh produce year-round,” Prior said in a news release. “I’m looking forward to working with other leaders in the industry to collaborate and build the strength of our segment within the industry.”

Farmers historically contend with unpredictable field conditions caused by weather, pests and more. CEA allows growers to customize the environment for the plant, removing the stress of pests and disease and also the need for secondary products used to eliminate these threats.


“CEA allows breeders to shift their focus towards discovering new crops and developing the traits in new or current crops that allow for longer shelf life along with improved, flavor and nutrition,” Estes said in the release. “Any opportunity to grow consumption and remove barriers to access and preference for fresh produce is a critical segment for our industry.  I look forward to working alongside our industry volunteers as we explore and learn more about this new market.”

Estes will be leading panels at the upcoming Washington Conference, Sept. 26-28, and The Global Produce & Floral Show in Orlando, Florida, Oct. 27-29.

IFPA will open applications for volunteer opportunities this fall. Those interested in joining the council can find more information at on the IFPA volunteer opportunity website.

—International Fresh Produce Association

TOP PHOTO: Driscoll’s and Plenty are using new technology to grow strawberries indoors through vertical farming. Photo: Plenty

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