Photo Blog: FarmTek’s First-Ever CEA School at Technology Center East
With the grand opening of FarmTek’s Technology Center East this month came our first-ever CEA School in South Windsor, CT. We had 58 people attend the school from not just across the county, but across the world. People came from down the street to as far away as Burnley, England! We had presenters from local businesses, non-profits, academia, vendors and our own experts on controlled environment agriculture, including several of our frequent blog contributors.
Many are already familiar with Technology Center West, but at Technology Center East we do controlled environment agriculture a little bit differently. Where our Iowa location has a double-bay 80’ by 50’ Pro Solar Star™ Series 2000 A-Frame Greenhouse and a 35’ by 48’ Roll-Form Pro Solar Star™ Greenhouse, our Connecticut location has 3 state-of-the art growing rooms that were converted from some of our warehouse space.
These grow rooms were designed completely in-house using our products and are operated by a team of our employees. During the CEA School, these growing areas are used for demonstrations, hands-on activities and lectures throughout the three day school.
One of the 30’ by 72’ rooms is used to grow leafy greens such as lettuce and microgreens, and demonstrate NFT hydroponics as well as vertical hydroponic growing.
The other 30’ by 72’ room is dedicated to growing flowering and fruiting crops like tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, and features our large GT80 TSW Series NFT Channels, Dutch bucket and raft hydroponic systems.
With one of our Micro FodderPro 2.0 Feed Systems, FodderPro 3.0 Commercial Modules and a Seed Soaking and Sanitizing System, the 20’W by 23’L room is used exclusively for growing healthy, fresh livestock feed and wheat grass for juicing.
The CEA School at Technology Center East began with the hydroponics day. We covered a huge amount of information including production factors in hydroponic growing, disease control, greenhouse heating and sizing, marketing and selling produce, and more! With many hands-on demonstrations in the growing areas, attendees were able to see how the knowledge applies to a real-world application.
“This class was great! I got much more information out of this class than I expected. The wealth of information and helpfulness of everyone was amazing.” – Bill S.
Day two was our fodder day. Many of the attendees came with an in interest specifically in this topic. Our frequent blog contributor Abigail Tobey of ‘Abigail’s Fodder for Thought’ presented along with representatives from Stone Hill Farm and B-A-Blessing Farm. These farms have been growing fodder for their animals and came to share their experience. It also featured a presentation about and taste test of wheat grass juice by one of our attendees. He even had a recipe in hand that included ginger and chili powder to add a little spice to the juice.
“Best spent money in years! Great job!!!” – Rick Y
Nice to have the wheat grass demo and presentation! Excellent information from all the presenters and FarmTek staff. Thank You. – Gwen E
The final day of the workshop focused on aquaponics. Sam Shroyer, another frequent blog contributor and FarmTek YouTube star, presented on this day about our aquaponic systems in Iowa. The day also had a presentation from Cabbage Hill Farm about their success with aquaponics. Since the aquaponic system for Technology Center East is under construction, attendees were not able to see a system, but with an in-depth video from Iowa and Sam, they had the next best thing. The aquaponics system for Technology Center East will be fully operational for the February 2014 CEA School.
“Had a great time and met great people!” – Anonymous
“I felt very comfortable. FarmTek’s staff was welcoming and helpful. I would recommend this school to anyone interested in controlled environment agriculture – the experience really reduced my anxiety about going into new fields.” – John L
“It was excellent – a lot of material in a very short time.” – Anonymous
It was a great experience for both the attendees and our CT employees. The CEA School provides such a unique opportunity for people to learn, network and share ideas with like-minded people, and now we are able to offer it in CT.
If you’re interested in attending a FarmTek CEA School at Technology Center East, please visit www.FarmTek.com/TechCenter for details about upcoming events or contact Kerry King, firstname.lastname@example.org.