Dec 28, 2022
New CEA members aid group’s mission

The Controlled Environment Agriculture Alliance (CEA) has elected new board members. The association welcomed eight new members at its Dec. 21 annual membership meeting.

New board members include these producer members:
• Local Bounti,
• Mastronardi Produce, and
• Upward Farms

New business service provider members:
• Jiffy Group,
• Qfresh Labs, and
• Unfold

New retail/foodservice members:
• Brookshire Grocery, and

The association represents vertical farms and greenhouse producers growing fruits and vegetables in controlled indoor production environments.

During the meeting, AeroFarms’ Marc Oshima, CEA Alliance chairman, presented a “State of the Association” report. He cited the organization’s 2022 transition from a leafy greens food safety organization to a multi-commodity group supporting the CEA sector in public policy, sustainability, education and market growth.

Executive director Tom Stenzel reviewed the work of three member committees, working to expand food safety guidance and best practices, leading public policy initiatives and defining and measuring the unique benefits that characterize the CEA category.

In recent weeks, CEA members have carried the sector’s message of sustainability, freshness and quality to produce trade events from New York to California.

CEA Alliance members AeroFarms, Bowery and Gotham Greens were featured speakers at the New York Produce Show, while member company Plenty and Stenzel were speakers at the Organic Grower Summit in Monterey, California.

“It’s clear that the entire produce industry, from growers to retail and foodservice, wants to learn more about indoor CEA production,” Stenzel said in a news release. “Our goal with the CEA Alliance is to share the story of what our growers are doing to deliver the freshest, best-tasting, and most nutritious fruits and vegetables to consumers, with the least environmental impact; reduced use of water, land and other scarce resources; and employing the most rigorous practices to ensure the safety of our products.”

In January, member companies AeroFarms, Bowery and Upward Farms, as well as Stenzel, are scheduled to speak at a USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Internal Advisory Committee meeting. The committee, which includes 67 members from 11 mission areas and 21 agencies and offices, advises USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and senior leaders on CEA-related policy.

The alliance also plans to host its first Washington, DC, Fly-In on Jan. 24-25 to introduce member companies to new congressional leaders as well as administration officials.

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