While the Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) industry is expansive, the UC Davis website breaks it down like this, “the term controlled environment agriculture (CEA) encompasses a variety of systems that take a technology-based approach to farming. CEA can range from simple shade structures and hoop houses through greenhouses to full indoor or vertical farms. The most advanced systems are fully automated, closed loop systems with controlled lighting, water and ventilation.” Importantly, rapid advances in technology like LED lighting and smart controllers have made CEA production commercially viable for food crops and ornamentals.
The CEA industry is still young, but shows increasing growth on a year-after-year basis. In fact, the CEA market saw a major boost during COVID-19, as the pandemic uncovered major weaknesses in the global food supply chain. The CEA market did about $75 billion worth of business in 2020 and is expected to grow to $172 billion by 2025.