Controlled Environment Agriculture



Food production takes place at a large distance from the customer, with inefficient and unsustainable food systems as a result. Countries depend on import and export for fresh products. When the supply of fresh products is disrupted for a longer period of time, such as during a pandemic, problems might arise.

Fresh produced fruits and vegetables are transported around the world and this affects the freshness and nutritional value. The solution is controlled environment agriculture (CEA): a technology based approach toward the production of fresh foods, which can be located near big cities or even next to your local supermarket. 

What is meant by controlled environment agriculture? Production in a (semi-)closed cultivation construction like a greenhouse or building to provide protection and set the perfect growing conditions during the entire growing process. In other words: cultivation with full control of every aspect of the growing process of the crop. This comes with multiple benefits, like sustainable cultivation and a high quality product. 

Within the Controlled Environment Agriculture, there are two ways of growing: vertical/indoor farming and greenhouse cultivation. The greenhouse technology for controlled environments and the technology for indoor/vertical cultivation both depend on LED lights for the best results. Using Oreon’s CEA LED-lights has an additional benefit: you’ll save energy costs for lighting and cooling, which are the highest costs for most growers.
 

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Controlled environment agriculture: suitable for different crops

Benefits of CEA for plants

The benefits of using CEA LED-lights for the grower are mentioned, but what are the plant benefits of growing in a controlled environment? Both types of controlled environment agriculture are executed in protected areas. This means that there are no influences from outside like unwanted insects, so no need for chemical pesticides on the plants. In a (semi-)closed greenhouse, you can create additional lighting on a cloudy day and meet the lighting needs of the crops. With indoor farming, you don’t have to deal with natural lighting or climate because you are in full control. In both ways, the plants grow in a stable environment which benefits the quality of the crops and can grow an extra cycle a year.

The plants grow in a stable environment which benefits the quality of the crops."
It ensures the perfect control the grower needs in a controlled environment."

Controlled environment agriculture systems

You might be wondering which LED lights are most suitable for controlled environment agriculture. If the (semi-)closed greenhouse is located in a relatively cold location, a hybrid installation with LED-lights and HPS can be the perfect match. It enables growers to reach the desired light level of that day without heating up the greenhouse. Oreon’s fixtures are designed with an active water cooling system. This means that the heat of the lights is actively extracted from the fixtures and stored outside the growing area. The climate won’t be affected by the heat the lights produce, which ensures more control for the grower in a controlled environment. This makes Oreon’s lights suitable for indoor farming as well, where there are no influences from natural lighting or climate and the need for control is even higher to generate a successful yield. 

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CEA LED-lights in practice: Little Leaf Farms

Little Leaf Farms’ vision is to supply locally grown, fresh leafy greens throughout the East Coast of America. Their goal is to locally produce vegetables in the most sustainable way and deliver the lettuce within 24 hours after harvesting. The greenhouses are semi-closed to keep the influences from outside to a minimum. Their system is 100% closed: they also reuse all flush water and all the rainwater from the roofs for irrigation, in addition to the standard closed irrigation systems. The cooperation of Oreon and Little Leaf Farms has made them one of the most innovative and efficient baby leaf lettuce producers in the world.

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Their sustainable way of growing locally will become the new standard in horticulture"

Why is controlled environment agriculture sustainable?

Why is controlled environment agriculture sustainable?

 

  • The solution for unsustainable food systems is to locate the production near cities. Close to the customer to decrease transportation costs and waste of unusable crops caused by transportation. 

  • Furthermore, because the grower is in control of every aspect of the growing process, a stable and constant supply of food is ensured and no longer weather-dependent. 

  • Additionally, Oreon’s LED fixtures are designed with an active water cooling system. The excessive heat the lights produce is taken away and stored outside the cultivation area and can be reused at a later time. For irrigation water or to heat the crops from underneath, for example. 

  • CEA vertical farming is by definition sustainable in several ways: you need less space to grow the crops and it enables growers to cultivate near or even in a city. 

To be able to take advantage of all these benefits, the grower needs full control. Oreon’s LED grow lights are designed to provide this level of control and to ensure high quality and higher yields. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to answer your questions and to create a custom-made light plan, without any obligation. 
 

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