Aug 15, 2019
Leaders selected for CEA Food Safety Coalition

The CEA Food Safety Coalition, comprised of leading controlled environment leafy greens producers, recently completed the formation of its governance structure and is taking steps to accept new members. Controlled environment agriculture (“CEA”) is agricultural food production in environments that are indoors (such as in greenhouses and vertical farms) and controlled, providing crops with ideal growing conditions and protection from outdoor elements (such as weather and animals). The Coalition’s objective is to establish food safety standards, educate, and protect consumer health.

The Coalition, a tax exempt 501(c)(6), recently filed its articles of incorporation, adopted bylaws and elected the following individuals as the initial members of its board of directors: Michele Kubista (Revol Greens), Paul Lightfoot (BrightFarms), Christopher Livingston (Bowery Farming), Daniel Malech (Plenty), Marc Oshima (Aerofarms), Jack Seaver (Plenty), and Paul Sellew (Little Leaf Farms).

In addition, the Coalition elected the following officers:

  • Board Chairman – Paul Lightfoot (BrightFarms)
  • Acting Executive Director – Jack Seaver (Plenty)
  • Board Vice Chairman – Marc Oshima (AeroFarms)
  • Board Secretary – Christopher Livingston (Bowery Farming)
  • Board Treasurer – Paul Sellew (Little Leaf Farms)

Until the position is filled permanently, Jack Seaver of Plenty will serve as Acting Executive Director.

“The growing methods in our industry are different as compared to field-grown produce,” said the Coalition’s Chairman Paul Lightfoot. “This coalition provides an opportunity for all brands in the space to collaborate to further protect consumers by establishing standards and sharing insights.” “This is a critically important step in maintaining consumer confidence and supporting the growth of our industry,” he added.

“We frequently get questions from growers and buyers as to what food safety means in a CEA environment” said Dr. Jennifer McEntire, vice president for food safety at United Fresh Produce Association. “We look forward to helping the coalition develop appropriate food safety standards for this growing segment”

The Coalition is developing an enrollment process for admitting new members. All leafy greens growers employing controlled environment methods (including hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics), and who are willing to submit to third party food safety auditing, are encouraged to join the Coalition.

Interested parties can contact [email protected] In addition, the Coalition seeks great candidates for a permanent Executive Director, and welcomes applications at [email protected]

Photo: BrightFarms

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VGN September 2019 cover
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