Consumer demand for fresh and local produce is propelling the growth of the Controlled Environment Agriculture produce segment. With advancements in technology, facility design and operational models, the industry is trying to keep pace with the growth with this demand.
The path to successful, profitable operations is complex for indoor produce production. Beyond the traditional challenges—e.g. optimal light, energy use and its costs, temperature, and humidity—profitability can also be a factor. Competing with traditionally grown produce at retail on price is extremely challenging, particularly for commodity crops. Successful indoor growers need to carefully manage a range of factors to optimize their yields and profitability to ensure that their operations are sustainable and environmentally responsible.
- Lean into automation. Savvy owners and operators understand that automation is essential for optimizing efficiency and reducing labor costs.
- Increase purchasing power through a volume procurement model. Procurement teams can take advantage of bulk purchasing power with experts well-versed in the technical aspects of complex equipment purchases.
- Many of the largest A/E/C design firms lack controlled environment agriculture design expertise. This inexperience may lead to increased costs, often at the most expensive stage of the project: construction. Turnkey service providers have all the necessary in-house design and construction expertise, allowing them to manage the entire construction process from concept through operation.
With so many factors to consider, if you're not sure where to start, here are three pieces of advice:
- If you have not started your project, assembling the right team and addressing any knowledge gaps or lack of specialized experience is essential. This ensures that your project is set up for success from the beginning.
- If you are in the design phase of your project, it is a good idea to ask for a peer review. A peer review is a recommended best practice that allows for another set of eyes on your project design. Taking advantage of feedback from others in the industry can help you improve your project and catch any potential issues before they become significant problems.
- Questions about your project? urban-gro can help whether you're in the design, construction, or operations phase. Contact us to get the conversation started.