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SGAFT's Inception

The idea for creating the SGAFT project for me traces back to the 1990s. My father and I enjoyed visiting a number of greenhouse operations together in the Northeast U.S. and eastern Canada while running our family greenhouse operation. Our jaws routinely hit the ground seeing incredible state of the art technology that we inevitably acknowledged we had no business considering for our own greenhouses and could not afford to purchase even if we wanted to. 


During decades of speaking at conferences I've had opportunities to attend many greenhouse technology sessions that focused on state of the art tech. Most of the systems and equipment presented focused on large operations and were both unrealistic for small growers and well beyond their means.


The frustration that accompanies this reality led me to the conclusion that not enough information is available to address the specific needs of small greenhouse operations and farms regarding technology adoption and integration. This frustration also led me to taking the position that not enough effort is being made to educate small growers about technology that makes sense for their scale of operation. 

Small growers absolutely need to be shown state of the art tech to understand where our industry is heading. However, once the future is described the educational effort needs to refocus on the realities of small scale operation. The SGAFT project will help small growers make informed decisions regarding technology choices that will best contribute to their individual operational efficiency and profitability. 

Why Small?

Small greenhouse and farm operators can experience frustration when exposed to technology focused primarily on large operations. State-of-the-art technology is often geared to large operations offering economy of scale and leaves small growers few options other than realizing that the technologies receiving the most attention neither fit their reality nor financial means. 


The SGAFT project unapologetically focuses on small to medium sized greenhouse and farm operations. While state-of-the-art technology will be presented to identify where agriculture is headed, most of SGAFT's educational content will focus on systems and equipment that are appropriate for smaller scaled operations and make sense for their budgets.     

Why Greenhouse and Farm?

Small greenhouse and farm operations share many production systems, categories of equipment, and work practices. Many small farms include one or more greenhouses to produce young plants on site, grow high value crops to maturity, or both. Small farms diversifying into CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) production do so primarily in greenhouses rather than in indoor vertical farm buildings. Lastly, under the principle that a plant is a plant is a plant, ornamental and edible crop production share many principles of plant physiology and small business challenges.  

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