Our GREENandSAVE Staff is pleased to post this Press Release about an initiative that has the potential to improve sustainability across the food supply chain.
Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture Feasibility Study Completed
Kennett Township, PA, June 18, 2018
Barisoft Consulting Group has just released a feasibility study to establish a Center of Excellence (COE) for Indoor Agriculture in the Kennett region of Pennsylvania. This region, located near Philadelphia, PA, has long been considered the “Mushroom Capital” of the U.S. The proposed Center of Excellence would serve as an international hub and knowledge base for investment, production, operations, distribution, research & development, training and workforce development for all forms of indoor agriculture.
Indoor agriculture is a means of growing crops year round under tightly controlled conditions. Kennett’s massive mushroom growing infrastructure, which produces nearly half a billion pounds yearly, has fit that definition for over one hundred years. Over the past five years, more than $500 million dollars of venture capital has been invested nationally in efforts to grow other crops such as leafy greens indoors on a commercial scale, which is predicted to become a multi-billion industry according to the study.
The Kennett COE feasibility study was commissioned by Kennett Township with additional support from neighboring New Garden Township and Kennett Square Borough. It is part of a larger initiative to leverage the Kennett area’s extensive mushroom industry infrastructure to support a variety of other indoor crops.
This two-hundred page feasibility study report is grounded in extensive primary data and is not another “white paper.” Methods of data collection included over 35 hours of interviews with industry executives, senior university administrators, and local and state officials. An online survey was distributed to select segments of industry and to local leaders by invitation only. Over sixty high quality responses were received.
Dr. Eric W. Stein, who conducted the study, is an Associate Professor of Business at Penn State and CEO of Barisoft Consulting Group. He also runs an indoor vertical farm named e3garden for R&D and local production. According Dr. Stein, “Our findings show strong support for the Center’s feasibility according to multiple criteria and for locating it in the heart of mushroom country. We expect the Center to accelerate commercialization of indoor agriculture and to help businesses reach profitability sooner.”
Michael Guttman, Director of Sustainable Development for Kennett Township (the town which commissioned the study), states, “This study represents a milestone in the evolution of indoor farming and will validate our position that Kennett can serve as a future home for both the Center and for all kinds of indoor agriculture facilities. It’s a win-win for the industry and the Kennett area.”
More information about the study can be found at www.KennettIndoorAg.info, the study’s website.