Feb 8, 2024
Indoor Ag-Con announces keynote line up

Indoor Ag-Con announced its third keynote address, “Leader Insights: Charting the Future Landscape of Controlled Environment Agriculture,” led by industry veterans on Monday, March 11 at 11 a.m. The keynote will feature moderator, Daniel Malech, Board chair of the CEA Alliance and SVP, Plenty, Jim DiMenna, president of Red Sun Farms, Viraj Puri, co-founder and CEO of Gotham Greens, and Matt Ryan, CEO of Soli Organic.

In this keynote presentation, attendees will discover foresight from industry leaders as they share their predictions, strategies and unique perspectives on the emerging trends that will shape the landscape of controlled environment agriculture. Attendees will gain valuable insights to stay ahead in this dynamic field and be part of the conversation that is charting the course for the future of sustainable and innovative food production.

This panel joins the Indoor Ag-Con 2024 headliner keynote line-up, which also includes the opening morning kick-off session with Paul Sellew, CEO, Little Leaf Farms and the day two morning keynote from Adam Bergman, Global Head of Agtech for Citi. These all-star leaders and keynotes will engage and inspire attendees.

“We are excited to bring this panel of CEA industry leaders to our keynote stage to offer insider tips and predictions shaped by real world experience. The keynote will provide key takeaways about the future of indoor agriculture, as it holds tremendous promise as a sustainable solution to the challenges posed by traditional farming methods,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO, Indoor Ag-Con.

In addition to Indoor Ag-Con’s Keynotes, the event will feature educational panels, sessions and other presentation formats aligned in several Conference tracks.  Attendees will also enjoy quality networking events and explore an expanded expo floor bringing together 200+ suppliers and service providers representing the top names and emerging leaders in the controlled environment agriculture sector. For more information on the full line-up of sessions, exhibitors and events, please visit www.indoor.ag.

Daniel Malech, Board chair, CEA Alliance & SVP, Plenty

Dan chairs the Board of Directors of indoor agriculture trade association the CEA Alliance, with a focus on developing category-wide metrics and guidelines as well as policy advocacy.  Dan is also the SVP of Strategy & General Counsel at Plenty, where he oversees corporate strategy, legal, compliance, government affairs and sustainability. His work helps drive scale for the indoor vertical farming company, including structuring and closing on multiple industry-leading strategic partnerships and financing rounds.

Jim DiMenna, Red Sun Farms

Jim DiMenna is the president of Red Sun Farms, one of the largest vertically integrated high-tech greenhouse vegetable growers with ownership of each stage of the process; seed selection, to plant growth, to harvesting, packaging and distribution. Red Sun Farms has over 800 acres throughout Mexico, U.S. and Canada. Born and raised in Leamington Ontario, the produce business has always been a part of Jim’s  life. As a teen, he worked his way up from the packing room into sales and marketing before starting his own firm J-D Marketing in 1990. In 2001, Jim formed JEMD International along with Golden Jem Farms, to meet the industry call for better direct-line connections between the retailers, distributors and growers. In 2008, Jem D International merged with Agricola El Rosal, and was rebranded as Red Sun Farms.

Viraj Puri, Gotham Greens

Viraj Puri co-founded Gotham Greens, a pioneer in indoor agriculture and a leading fresh food company. A Certified B Corporation, Gotham Greens farms with the future in mind, delivering long-lasting and delicious leafy greens, herbs, salad kits, salad dressings, dips and cooking sauces all year round to retail, restaurant and foodservice customers. Over the past decade under Viraj’s leadership, Gotham Greens has grown to be one of the largest and most commercially successful indoor farming companies in the world with more than 500 employees and 13 high-tech greenhouse facilities across nine U.S. states. Prior to Gotham Greens, Viraj led start-up enterprises in the United States, India and Malawi focused on sustainable agriculture, green building, renewable energy and environmental design.

Matt Ryan, CEO, Soli Organic

As CEO, Matt Ryan’s focus is on strengthening the company’s competitive advantages and achieving scaled topline growth. Prior to his role at Soli Organic, Ryan served as the chief marketing officer and chief strategy officer at Starbucks where he developed and executed marketing and strategy plans, managed the food and beverage portfolio and led all other marketing, product, brand, and consumer functions. As the head of brand management for The Walt Disney Company, he oversaw the company’s brand management, brand development, franchise management, customer data, and CRM. Ryan currently sits on the Board of Directors for Kaiser Permanente. He received a Bachelor of Arts in history from Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude.

About Indoor Ag-Con

Founded in 2013, Indoor Ag-Con has emerged as the largest trade show and conference for vertical farming | greenhouse |controlled environment agriculture. Its events are crop-agnostic and touch all sectors of the business, covering produce, legal cannabis | hemp, alternate protein and non-food crops. More information, visit indoor.ag.

Indoor Ag-Con announces Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms, will give the 2024 edition’s opening morning headline keynote address on Monday, March 11, at 8 a.m., at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas. Little Leaf Farms is the largest U.S. greenhouse producer of hydroponic baby greens and sold in over 5,000 grocery stores and fine dining establishments. Sellew has built a successful career on his belief in sustainable agriculture. In total, Indoor Ag-Con will feature three headliner keynote presentations by prominent and influential leaders, as well as a comprehensive conference, highlighting timely topics and trends in the indoor agriculture world.

With over 30 years of experience developing and leading successful companies, Sellew is on a mission to transform the way food is grown through peri-urban agricultural practices that are rebuilt for the modern world. With an emphasis on a “farming company” mindset as opposed to taking a “tech play” approach to growing food, Little Leaf Farms is poised to break $100 million in sales by the end of the calendar year. Little Leaf Farms sees a bright future for itself as the country’s #1 brand of packaged lettuce sustainably grown through controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and can now add one more milestone to its list: the No. 1 best-selling packaged lettuce in New England.

Using advanced greenhouse technologies, Little Leaf Farms has been growing fresh, sustainably farmed lettuce 365 days a year since 2015 and its footprint is also growing. Little Leaf Farms recently opened its newest greenhouse in McAdoo, Pennsylvania, the fifth greenhouse for Little Leaf Farms, and the brand’s second greenhouse in Pennsylvania. Little Leaf Farms also recently broke ground on a third greenhouse on the McAdoo site in August, with a planned opening in the second half of 2024.

“Little Leaf Farms is a true success story in part thanks to our mission of growing, packaging and marketing the highest-quality branded leafy greens for our customers,” said Paul Sellew, founder and CEO of Little Leaf Farms. “I look forward to being part of Indoor Ag-Con this year and am excited to share lessons learned with other passionate, disruptive leaders in this industry.”

“We’re thrilled to have Paul Sellew as our opening Keynote speaker as his expertise and success in the industry is a testament to Indoor Ag-Con’s commitment to featuring leaders who are driving transformative change,” said Brian Sullivan, CEO Indoor Ag-Con. “Sellew’s insights into sustainable farming practices and the success of Little Leaf Farms will provide valuable perspectives and elevate the attendee experience.”

In addition to Indoor Ag-Con’s Keynotes, the event will feature educational panels, debates and other presentation formats aligned in several Conference tracks. Attendees will also have the opportunity to enjoy quality networking events and explore an expanded expo floor bringing together 200+ suppliers and service providers representing the top names and emerging leaders in the controlled environment agriculture sector. For more information on the full line-up of sessions, exhibitors and events, please visit the website.

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