SINGAPORE — Half a world away, an international indoor agriculture firm announced plans to build a hub for indoor agriculture in the Kennett Square area — already the nation’s leading source of indoor grown mushrooms.
Monday, at Indoor Ag Con Asia, the indoor agriculture industry’s premier trade conference, international hydroponics expert Pegasus Agriculture Group reinforced its recent decision to actively enter the US marketplace by announcing its intention to support a major public-private initiative to develop a global indoor agriculture production, research, training, and service hub on the US East Coast.
Plans for the hub initiative are being presented publicly for the first time at Indoor Ag Con Asia today by Kennett Township, the historic center of the US indoor mushroom industry. The initiative was developed by Kennett’s Sustainable Development Office (SDO) with strong support from Kennett area growers and packers, regional economic development agencies, and regional agriculture, engineering, and business schools.
Pegasus’ public announcement of support for Kennett’s initiative is the first by any indoor agriculture firm based outside of the Kennett area.
According to Mahmood Almas, Pegasus’ founder and chairman, “Kennett’s initiative to develop a world-class indoor agriculture hub is not only visionary, but eminently practical. That’s because Kennett, unlike most other areas, can leverage the extensive infrastructure of its historic indoor agriculture industry. That makes all the difference to Pegasus.”
Michael Guttman, who directs the initiative for Kennett, explained that “Kennett currently produces 50% of the annual US mushroom crop – some 500M pounds of produce – all grown indoors year-round and delivered fresh every day with 48 hours of picking all across North America. We’ve already developed an extensive infrastructure to accomplish this that includes engineering, construction, maintenance, public utilities, cold storage, logistics, transportation, and of course a very experienced workforce. That infrastructure is largely crop-agnostic, so it can just as readily serve the needs of a ‘green’ indoor agricultural firm such as Pegasus, giving them a fast and easy way to enter the vast US marketplace we already serve at the lowest possible cost and risk.”
Almas said that Kennett brings all the necessary ingredients to make such a hub work.
“Kennett’s extensive infrastructure alone makes it an extremely attractive location for us,” Almas continued. “But that’s only one facet of this initiative. Kennett is also working with a number of its world-class regional agriculture, engineering and business schools to develop a joint indoor agriculture research, training, and innovation incubator center in Kennett, designed to work closely with private production firms located in the area. This center, the first of its kind in a major production area, will be a major asset to the rapidly evolving indoor agriculture industry.”
Guttman, in Singapore for the show, noted that Pegasus has been a public supporter of the project from the beginning.
“We very much appreciate the active and public support of Kennett’s initiative by Pegasus, a highly respected global leader in indoor agriculture,” said Guttman. “In particular, we appreciate how our initiative ties in with Pegasus’s global vision of creating a world-wide network of environmentally and economically sustainable indoor agriculture communities to ensure food security. Working with Pegasus and our other partners, our initiative can hopefully serve as a blueprint for developing a network of similar indoor agriculture hubs all around the world.”