More than 30 members of the CEA Alliance, a trade association representing and serving indoor growers and their partners, came to Washington, D.C., January 30-31 to educate members of Congress and the Administration about the rapidly growing indoor farming sector of U.S. agriculture.
CEA Alliance Members meet with USDA officials to advocate for indoor farming.
“At a time when the U.S. is importing more fresh food than ever before, this year’s Washington, D.C. fly-in served as a critical reminder that indoor farming will be one of the strategies we need moving forward to expand domestic production of nutritious and healthy fresh food,“ said Colin O’Neil, Senior Director of Public Policy & Social Impact for Bowery Farming and Chair of the CEA Alliance Public Policy Working Group. “Policymakers heard loud and clear this week that indoor farming is at an important inflection point, and there are commonsense opportunities in the farm bill, tax arena, appropriations, and ongoing labor discussions that could be a catalyst for driving further innovation in U.S. agriculture and making the domestic indoor farming sector more competitive on the global stage.”
CEA Alliance members met with Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow and Ranking Member John Boozman, House Agriculture, Appropriations, and Ways and Means Committee leaders, and some 30 additional Congressional offices.
In addition, the CEA Alliance members met with USDA leaders, including Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie, Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics Sanah Baig, Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Bruce Summers, and Director of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Brian Guse.
The Alliance meetings concluded with an open information exchange with Food and Drug Administration officials to ensure that industry and government continue to work together to drive strong food safety practices. The Alliance recently released a new best practices document, Commodity Specific Food Safety Guidelines for Controlled Environment Agriculture Produce Production of Leafy Greens and Herbs, which is a helpful document to industry members around the world.
“As indoor farming continues to expand, it’s important that our national leaders recognize a new day in U.S agriculture,” said Tom Stenzel, CEA Alliance Executive Director. “Indoor farming is here to stay and will continue to play a rapidly growing role in feeding America.”