OptimIA partners with AU/LAB on international labor survey for leafy greens production
Photos by EE Berger, courtesy from Planted Detroit.

OptimIA partners with AU/LAB on international labor survey for leafy greens production

February 17, 2022

The OptimIA team and the Urban Agriculture Laboratory (AU/LAB) are pleased to announce their partnership to determine optimal models between labor and size of greenhouses and indoor farms that produce leafy greens, while taking into account various automation choices.

In addition, the study will inform policy makers and the education sector about the skills needed in this industry, as well as the extent of employment opportunities.

The production of leafy greens (i.e. lettuce, spinach, kale, microgreens, basil and other herbs) in controlled environments is growing at a fast pace around the world, revealing a wide range of possible systems and structures from small greenhouses or rooftop farms to large and highly automated warehouse farms.

From the many attributes of this emerging industry, indoor farms bring fresh and healthy food closer to local consumers while contributing to local economies through employment opportunities in crop production and distribution. But the development of indoor farms is not without its challenges, particularly regarding the cost of labor, which can represent a third to half of operational costs.

We invite agricultural businesses that produce leafy greens in greenhouses or indoor (vertical) farms to complete the survey of approximately 20 minutes before April 10, 2022, by going to the following link: https://bit.ly/3GQj6Sp. Responses will be anonymous and confidential. The information will be aggregated, analyzed, and interpreted and findings will be broadly disseminated.

If you have any questions about this survey, please contact Simone Valle de Souza, from Michigan State University, email: valledes@msu.edu.