March 31st is the first day of Indoor Ag Con, a conglomeration of "farmers, growers, chefs, produce buyers, tech geeks, entrepreneurs, industry suppliers, investors, and advocates" who come together to discuss the future of indoor agriculture, make connections, and get ideas.
The conference organizer, Nicola Kerslake, started the conference three years ago with the expectation of forty or fifty people and was astounded at the turnout.
"We thought we might get forty or fifty people. We had over two hundred people; the fire marshal wouldn't let us have any more people in the building and at that point I thought 'huh, we might actually have something here.' The last two years have been about developing it from an interesting thing to see if it would work to establishing it as an industry service. And now we have an event planning team, we have PR folks, we have IT guys."
While the conference is jam-packed with interesting topics, Nicola says that her favorite part of the conference is watching the interactions that take place. Indoor Ag Con is a great place to connect with others in the field, from commercial farmers to industry suppliers.
Eric Amyot is traveling to Las Vegas all the way from his farm Smart Greens in Ontario, Canada says that he's attending Indoor Ag Con for two reasons.
"One is to network with other like-minded individuals in the exciting mould of vertical farming and indoor agriculture for learning purposes, and the other one is to spread the word about what we're trying to do in Canada."
"The (reactions) that I'm most looking forward to are the surprise ones that I can't plan."
Speaking of connections...
Dr. Nate and a few of our team will be there, along with Marilyn Yamamoto, Teryl Chapel, Chris Lukenbill, Mitch Hagney, Alan Yoshioka, and Eric Amyot- some of the stars of vertical growing. Come see us at Indoor Ag Con!
Look out for green shirts and Upstart Farmer badges. (If you're having trouble, tweet @UpstartFarmers and we'll connect.) We're excited to talk about your plans, answer questions, or just say hi!
Be sure to get a glimpse of our new Green Wall, which we will have displayed behind the main stage!