Indoor farming and the importance of connecting experts, innovators, and enthusiasts to get ahead.
TTA thrives on its extensive network, connecting experts, innovators, and enthusiasts from all corners of the indoor farming industry. This collaborative approach is nurturing a community dedicated to advancing indoor farming worldwide. We spoke with Renko Schuil, Sales Manager of Indoor Farming at TTA, on the importance of TTA's network and significant developments in the indoor farming sector.
To kick things off, can you introduce yourself and shed some light on your role at TTA?
Of course. Picture this – I've been a part of the TTA family since 2022, immersing myself in indoor farming solutions. My role as Sales Manager involves delving deep into our clients' dreams and needs, crafting solutions that align with their unique aspirations in indoor farming. I also serve as a bridge, connecting like-minded pioneers in the indoor farming industry. With this, I can rely on the trusted network I have built during my 22+ years in this industry.
Now, let's explore the indoor farming landscape. Could you illuminate some key developments and trends that have shaped this industry?
Absolutely. At TTA, we define ‘Indoor Farming’ as food cultivation within enclosed systems. These systems can be either horizontal, such as within a greenhouse, or vertical, operating without reliance on natural sunlight. Also known as ‘Controlled Environment Agriculture’.
In the past couple years, indoor farming has become extremely trendy, which caused many investors to step in to jump in on this trend. Not every company that has attempted to start indoor farming has made it, which is unfortunate since the sector could benefit from pioneers like these companies. Despite the challenges and the occasional negativity in today's climate, we have every reason to stay optimistic.
Our optimism stems from the fact that within every facet of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), there is a distinct role within the entire food supply chain. For example, there is an increasingly clear separation between companies that produce food and companies that supply the technology for it, which is a good thing. In addition, it looks like there are new investors more focused on long-term profits than before.
Also, there seems to be more and more attention on the sales side of the sector: who will buy my product and how does my product get to the consumer? Without answers to this, companies are having a hard time.
One other important thing which to mention is the need to change. We are all witnessing a shift in the global climate, where weather extremes are becoming more extreme while the world population is still rapidly growing. In addition, the trend of urbanization is continuing today. For this reason, we must move towards a food supply chain and value chain focused on resilience and future-proofness.
Lastly, global concern revolves around the labor force. Both continuity and access to the labour market are part of this. In response to this, automation plays a central role in the design of CEA facilities. These techniques make work easier by performing tasks for which no employees are available, making production more uniform and increasing the repeatability of actions. TTA is pleased to be a part of a sector subject to this many fantastic developments!
How does TTA fit into this industry, and what makes TTA a key player?
TTA was one of the first AgTech companies to start developing machinery and software specifically designed for the automation of processes in indoor farming. Over time, we built a valuable network of people in the sector and have come to understand it to its core. With years of acquired knowledge, we have designed equipment suitable to work with almost all hydroponic cultivation systems, like Mobile Gutter Systems (MGS), Deep Floating Techniques (DFT) and Multilayer Systems.
Innovation has always been a driving force to stay on top of developments in the indoor farming sector. By providing solutions that automate the process from seeding up to harvesting, we gained a deep understanding of everything that goes into indoor farming, which allows us to provide customers with a complete solution, helping them from start to finish.
As we gaze into the horizon, what do you envision as the next grand chapter in the indoor farming saga? And how is TTA readying itself for this new adventure?
Indoor farming is no doubt a sector that is growing fast. Due to climate change, we will surely see a rise in demand for alternative ways to cultivate indoor-grown crops. Thanks to technological advancements, indoor farms can optimize production even further. Automation and robotics will be of even more significance in the future for ensuring the quality of produce and the efficiency of indoor farms. It is incredible to see increasingly more successful indoor farms, and we are sure to see even more in the future.