Workshop draws international interest in controlled environment agriculture

July 14, 2020
Plant Empowerment Workshop

Nearly 215 people in 13 countries learned cutting-edge greenhouse management concepts online at the recent Plant Empowerment Workshop.

Hosted by The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES), the workshop had been planned for on-campus but moved online due to health concerns from COVID-19.

Over July 9-10, participants—about half of whom were growers—learned about integrating principles of plant physiology and greenhouse engineering. Discussions were led by Dr. Peter van Weel, who conducted research for 42 years at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands, and Dr. Chieri Kubota, a horticulture and crop sciences professor at CFAES who is known as a game changer in the world of controlled environment agriculture. Also participating in a panel discussion was Dr. Peter Ling, an associate professor of controlled environment plant production and greenhouse engineering at CFAES.

Helping make the workshop possible were empowering sponsors Gotham Greens and Hort Americas, along with additional supporting sponsors Fibre Dust LLC, HydraFiber, and Svensson.

Controlled environment plant production systems such as greenhouses are considDr. Chieri Kubota making a point in a greenhouseered to be a key to the future of sustainable food production. At Ohio State, construction is to begin on a new Controlled Environment Food Production Research Complex at Waterman Agricultural and Natural Resources Laboratory. The complex will provide a hub for interdisciplinary research into improving productivity, profitability and produce quality such as nutrient density and flavor in vegetables and fruits.

Also planned is the Ohio Controlled Environment Agriculture Center, through which Kubota and her colleagues can facilitate research and collaboration between Ohio State, industry, and other universities.  In addition, the center will offer opportunities for industry to network with CFAES students.

Those interested in learning more can contact Jen Heller in the CFAES Office of Advancement at or 614-247-8754.

Screenshot of a greenhouse misting system slide and Dr. Peter van Weel