Ag Science Cafe

About OptimIA

The OptimIA project is a multi-state university research and extension collaboration among controlled-environment plant physiologists, agricultural engineers, and agricultural economists. Our long-term goals are to help develop indoor farming (vertical, warehouse, and container farming) as a specialty-crop segment of agriculture in the U.S.; to increase the sustainability, viability, and profitability of this rapidly emerging sector; and to provide the knowledge necessary to produce leafy greens locally that have higher quality attributes. Our major project goals and objectives are:
Defining optimal profitability of indoor farming

  • Collecting primary economic data
  • Developing input/output models for cost analyses
  • Modeling, analyzing, and evaluating data to maximize profitability

Optimizing environmental conditions to increase yield and high-value attributes

  • Developing novel lighting strategies
  • Co-optimizing light with temperature, humidity, air current, and CO2
  • Designing and testing innovative air-distribution methods
  • Managing humidity around plants

Working together

  • Developing production guidelines, tools, and educational materials and courses
  • Providing learning opportunities
  • Hosting an online forum and discussion
  • Conducting on-farm trials of research-based experimental findings
  • Working with growers and academic groups with shared goals