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Food for Thought: Controlled Environment Agriculture and the Future of Farming

JobsOhio cultivates relationships to offer CEA facilities faster and more affordable access to consumers and suppliers.

Thu Sep 29 2022

Built upon Ohio’s farming legacy, an unexpected landscape is bringing fresh, high-quality meals to the table. 

Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) is reshaping how we think about farming. CEA uses advanced horticultural and engineering techniques to optimize crop production, quality, and efficiency. Its approach is transforming agriculture, growing plants and produce indoors in places where traditional farming may experience challenges.

This method of food production has been around since the beginning of civilization, but it’s recently become more popular with a growing demand for locally grown produce and food sustainability. With today’s consumers increasingly searching for a diet that includes fresh, high-quality food, CEA production systems have seen increased attention by both conventional growers and entrepreneurs alike.

Because Food & Agribusiness is vital to Ohio’s economy, JobsOhio has built a strong network of partners. Together, we link CEA facilities with the resources needed to grow, innovate, and serve customers around the country. As consumer preferences and other factors affect the industry, companies can use Ohio’s resources to turn challenges into opportunities.



Contributed to the State’s Economy


Food Manufacturers


Controlled Environment Facilities in Ohio


State for Tomato Processing

In Ohio, growers can experience versatile infrastructure, abundant fresh water, innovative R&D and agriculture technology, and a top-ranked business climate. Add colleges and universities that have agricultural programs and degrees — such as The Controlled Environment Agriculture Research Complex at The Ohio State University — and the state offers talent ready to help companies reach success.

80 Acres Farms is a sustainable indoor farming company growing lettuce, microgreens, tomatoes, and herbs. Ohio’s Food & Agribusiness value chain solidified its decision to establish its headquarters juts outside of Cincinnati in Hamilton. The state’s central location and various transportation options offer cost-effective ways to efficiently deliver fresher goods to market. 80 Acres Farms’ new Butler County address also makes it neighbors to The Kroger Co., the largest grocery-only company in the country.

“Sustainability continues to be an essential part of our business, and Hamilton’s commitment to emissions-free, renewable energy through hydropower was an important component in our decision to become an even bigger part of the Hamilton community.”
Mike Zelkind
Co-founder and CEO / 80 Acres Farms
Controlled Environmental Agriculture Facilities Across Ohio Map

These benefits are not limited to produce. Green Circle Growers has an extensive portfolio of plants, including succulents, tropicals, and foliage. With 150 acres of climate-controlled greenhouse operations, the Oberlin facility is one of the largest greenhouses in North America. Needing to meet the growing demand for ornamental plants and other nursery products, Green Circle Growers worked with JobsOhio to add 250 new positions to its operations, making it one of Lorain County’s largest employers.

“Not only are we expanding our facilities and growing capabilities by 30 acres, but we also are growing our team.”
C.J. Van Wingerden
Co-Chief Executive Officer / Green Circle Growers

Several factors are driving Ohio’s growth in indoor agriculture and vertical farming. Increased efficiency in food production means improved quality of crops and reduced costs. Superior connectivity and infrastructure translate to fresher products transported quicker to their destination. Controlled environment agriculture facilities are benefitting from Ohio’s competitive advantage, and consumers are too.

Interested in expanding your CEA operation? Want a taste of Ohio’s Food & Agribusiness industry? Contact JobsOhio for a plan catered to your company’s needs.