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CEA Q&A: What You Need to Know

Hydroponic lettuce tablesIf you’re a fan of ours on Facebook, or have followed our blogs for any amount of time, you may know that we have a strong commitment t not only providing great products to the agricultural community, but we like to teach people about the latest and greatest in different growing trends. We believe that teaching people about these new and upcoming technologies is a great way to excite the communities we serve about new ways of growing more successfully and sustainably.

That said, we are pleased to announce the first of many educational opportunities in our newest facility, Technology Center East, which is located at our South Windsor, Connecticut campus. We will be offering CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) Schools to those who are interested in learning about hydroponics, fodder production, aquaponics and more. Think you may be interested in signing up? Here are some Q&A’s for you to read over and perhaps decide to join us at our first CEA School in November!

Question 1: What is CEA?

Aquaponics system

CEA is our abbreviation for what is called controlled environment agriculture, meaning, the practice of growing within a (you guessed it!) controlled environment. This can include greenhouse growing, high tunnels, hydroponic systems, fodder systems, etc. Basically, CEA is any growing that’s not done out in a field or your backyard garden.

Question 2: Why would I want to practice CEA?Dutch bucket tomatoes

Now, maybe you’re questioning if CEA is something that you’d ever want to do, and that’s OK! But it is certainly a topic that many farmers and growers across the nation have embraced and begun to practice because of its sustainable qualities and the level of profitability it can bring to growers who live in areas where growing out in the open fields is difficult.

Question 3: So the CEA School…what is that?

Technology Center

FarmTek’s CEA School is our solution to teaching people about the benefits of controlled environment agriculture, how to get started and to provide the expertise needed to succeed. We’ve been offering this opportunity at our Iowa campus, Technology Center West, and have seen a huge amount of interest. With the addition of our Technology Center East in Connecticut, we hope to reach even more people and teach them about this great growing technique.

Question 4: What will I learn if I come to the CEA School?

Hands-on hydroponic greenhouse tour

A lot! Each school is three days long, with a different topic discussed each day. Generally, the topics include fodder production, hydroponic growing and aquaponics. Each day is dedicated to one of these subjects so participants can get a full and detailed picture about how these systems and processes work. You will hear from speakers including some of our own experts here at FarmTek, as well as guest speakers who are experts on these subjects from universities and other organizations who have employed controlled agriculture techniques in their operations.

Hydroponic fodder system

Question 5: I’m just about ready to sign up…what else do I need to know?

As I mentioned before, we hold CEA Schools in both our Iowa and Connecticut locations, so depending on where you live, you can choose which location works best for you. Cost of attendance is typically $995, however—our first CEA School at Technology Center East in Connecticut is being offered for $495. Cost for all schools includes three nights’ lodging, curriculum workbooks and lunch each day. The great news about the cost of these schools is that if you decide to purchase, or have already purchased, a system from us, your CEA School registration will be free!

There are multiple dates at each location, which you can find on our Technology Center Page, but our next up and coming school is happening at Technology Center East on November 6-8, 2013. Clicking on that link will also allow you to find registration information and anything else you would like to know about these schools.

We hope you will consider joining us for these great opportunities to learn about controlled environment agriculture. It’s a great learning experience, as well as the chance to meet people who are interested in new ways of growing!Hydroponic lettuce

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