Controlled Environment Food Production for Urban Agriculture

in HortScience

The recent increased market demand for locally grown produce is generating interest in the application of techniques developed for controlled environment agriculture (CEA) to urban agriculture (UA). Controlled environments have great potential to revolutionize urban food systems, as they offer unique opportunities for year-round production, optimizing resource-use efficiency, and for helping to overcome significant challenges associated with the high costs of production in urban settings. For urban growers to benefit from CEA, results from studies evaluating the application of controlled environments for commercial food production should be considered. This review includes a discussion of current and potential applications of CEA for UA, references discussing appropriate methods for selecting and controlling the physical plant production environment, resource management strategies, considerations to improve economic viability, opportunities to address food safety concerns, and the potential social benefits from applying CEA techniques to UA. Author’s viewpoints about the future of CEA for urban food production are presented at the end of this review.

Contributor Notes

We gratefully acknowledge support from the US Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Multistate Research Project NE1835: Resource Optimization in Controlled Environment Agriculture and thank Dr. A.J. Both for his valuable review.

Current address: University of Minnesota Water Resources Center, 183 McNeal Hall, 1985 Buford Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Corresponding author: E-mail: cgomezv@ufl.edu.

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