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Controlled Environment Agriculture

In this course, you will explore the possibility of CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) to create an extremely high-intensity production environment. Learn the importance of controlling water, light, temperature, substrate, nutrients, and the atmosphere for maximizing plant growth.

Controlling water is an ancient and integral part of agriculture, but we use it in novel ways today. We will explore the concept of PFALs (Plant Factories with Artificial Lights) and how they fit within the urban environment. These factories represent the extreme end of control over environmental and production parameters.

Farmers have embraced a high-tech future to supply a synthetic environment for optimal crop production. The controls involved are nuanced and interconnected and require significant knowledge and expertise to maintain optimal operation. We will be examining what about plant factories have caught the attention of so many and how these systems might play a significant and as-of-yet under appreciated role in the future of urban agricultural production.

What You'll Learn

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  • Devise basic management documents for a production-focused farm.
  • Assess the position of a vertical urban farmer in their local market.
  • Introduction to innovations and controls of PFALs.
  • Evaluate the practicality of tying fish production to plant production.
  • Recognize the additional nuance of soilless production compared to soil-based.
  • Investigate and report on your choice of fish species.
  • Use your knowledge of the basics of lighting to choose an artificial light source for agricultural production.
  • Identify the basic processes by which light guides plant growth and subsequent dietary nutrition.
  • Practice calculating the interior temperature of a greenhouse under static conditions.
September 30 - October 27, 2024
price (2)
$225 (+ $60 registration fee)
Additional Information:

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Mykl Nelson

Mykl grew up in a military family and has traveled around the globe. He started down his agricultural path after picking the makings of a salad directly into a bowl while standing within a greenhouse in his backyard in Colorado.

Mykl came to the Pacific Northwest to enter the agricultural sector and really immerse himself in an environment of plant growth.  . He spent a handful of years at Oregon State University to retrain in a new undergraduate degree so he could finish with a Master’s of Horticulture. He's worked on a handful of farms and tended ever-larger gardens, often on someone else's land. He is now creating and teaching courses at OSU as the Instructor of Urban Agriculture.

In addition to his work for OSU's certificate program in urban agriculture, he is experimenting with a system to convert food waste into insect protein. Outside the university, Mykl gardens when he can and runs a number of nutrient cycling experiments.

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.