Newsletter 03-04-17




The founders of Urban Farms have more than 30 years in the food business. As a result of climate problems, excessive pathogen problems, increase in pests and a number of field production problems, that is currently affecting the global food production, Urban Farms had to find solutions that would guarantee sustainable food production.
At the end of 2012, the founders established an R&D Center to investigate and develop food production in a controlled environment. At the R&D Center, different Led lights recipes were developed for optimizing photosynthesis of plants. Nutrient formulas were also developed and the optimal conditions of temperature, humidity, aeration and Co2 were created for the different crops. Currently, Urban Farms are testing under CEA a wide variety of products, such as various lettuce varieties, herbs, strawberries, cucumber and melons, are among the products currently in R&D.
The main objective of Urban Farms is to develop the Indoor Farm in Controlled Environment  in different countries, positioning it strategically for the company’s long term objectives. Currently several Vertical Farms are developing in Panama, Europe, and soon in Latin America.


 The 2nd International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA 2017) will take place in the Republic of Panama, at the Hotel El Panama between May 17 through 19, 2017.


Cross-over Between Horticulture and Building Knowledge: Bridging the gap by maintaining the best of both worlds.

As a company with branches and dealers around the globe, along with over 50 years in horticulture, Priva is uniquely positioned to share the best practices that have made them an industry leader.

Key areas of review for the Priva presentation will include their over 30 years of experience in water treatment and irrigation, building management and HVAC – truly the sweet spot – blending their long-standing global experience and knowledge.

Noted presentation observations will be around the current industry changes and technology (new does not always mean better and growing food is not about programming an app), climate design and CO2 fertilization, soft fruit for irrigation, and what was learned from closed greenhouse designs from the 1990’s.

It is noted that a grower/operator “does not know what he does not know.” With that, there will be a strong focus on growing and operations with key insight into knowledge-based, “day-in-the-life” operational duties and requirements.


Networking is an opportunity to explore

Whenever you meet successful business people, they usually have a diverse network of professional associates. This should not be a surprise as part of their success is their vast network of knowledgeable colleagues and friends. These networks allow them to easily navigate the business challenges and obstacles they encounter daily.

Because “good” networking leads to opportunities that create success for both parties these relationships are often long lasting and they (at least in my case) lead to some amazing friendships. This is another reason I firmly believe that networking is not selling.

Networking is listening and learning. Networking provides assistance when opportunities present themselves. In some cases these opportunities lead to sales, but effective networking does not have to lead to a business transaction.

How networking has impacted me

I credit education and networking with putting me where I am today professionally (and personally.) There are many people responsible for making me who I am today. In addition to my family and friends, many of the people I credit with helping me develop as a horticultural professional I met at educational events throughout my career. Three of these industry colleagues (and friends) will be at ICCEA this year:

1. Dr. Don Wilkerson, Texas A&M University horticulture professor and extension specialist emeritus

I met Don when I was a young “professional” more concerned with having a great time over anything else. Unfortunately I cannot share the stories of my younger years, and hopefully Don won’t either. But, that simply shows you how good of an educator Don is.

Unknowingly Don was able to communicate commercial horticultural issues in a way that made it easy for me to understand. More importantly Don inspired me to ask questions that I sought the answers for.

2. Dr. Toyoki Kozai, professor emeritus and chief director, Japan Plant Factory Association Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences at Chiba University

Dr. Kozai graciously opened himself up to an American who had never been to Japan. I had a long list of questions for him and I was eager to learn anything and everything I could about vertical farming. Whether the questions were from me or anyone else I have seen Dr. Kozai interact with, he always takes the time to answer every question, no matter how elementary, with respect and care.

3. Dr. Chieri Kubota, professor, University of Arizona, The School of Plant Sciences, Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

A former student of Dr. Kozai, Chieri likely does not know this, but I totally enjoy visiting with her. Not because she is always willing to share new facts and figures based on her research, but because she is so excited about her work that she inspires me to continue to be passionate about our industry.

After reading the two blogs I have prepared on ICCEA it should be obvious why Hort Americas will be attending this industry event in Panama City, Panama, on May 17-19, 2017. During this conference we will be there learning from leading horticulture researchers, networking and creating opportunities with government representatives, existing agricultural/horticultural businesses, entrepreneurs and manufacturers of controlled environment agriculture products.

Look forward to seeing you in Panama.

Chris Higgins



ICCEA 2017 is divided into 3 days. The main six components CEA will be discussed in conferences by industry expert speakers, as well as panelists from companies sharing real-world applications for the betterment of your business. In addition, we will have an Exhibition Hall with participation from major companies from around the world.
For a detailed Program Outline of the 3 days, click here


If you are interested in reaching a fast growing market for Controlled Environment Agriculture products and services, the ICCEA 2017 is the place for you.
At the Exhibition Hall there are only 40 spaces available to promote your products and services to the North, South and Central American market – a market of nearly 1 billion people. You can view the floor plans of exhibition spaces below. Also, click on the photos and view our complete Commercial Kit.
We already have a number of exhibition spaces reserved and since space is limited we urge you to reserve your booth before they are all gone.

For more information on how to exhibit at this world-class conference, please visit us at

Booth spaces are filling up fast! There are still some spaces available at our exhibition hall. Contact us to reserve a space now before they are all gone!


Interested in a tour while you’re in Panama?
Visit the Panama Canal

Newsletter 03-04-17