Bio: Ronald Smith is pursuing a PhD in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. His research interests focus on technological and social innovation in agricultural systems. Ronald is currently investigating how interdisciplinary
planning, collaboration and stakeholder engagement position-controlled environment agriculture as advancement in the larger agricultural system.
Abstract: Year round demand for fresh produce in the US is met by the modern food distribution system. To meet growing consumer demand, engineered solutions must be replicable and widely applicable. New technologies must efficiently use
material resources and space. Controlled environment agriculture (CEA) offers the potential to supplement traditional food production by expanding precision management of plant-growth related factors. Engineering and technological developments
in CEA have focused on increasing energy, water, and nutrient use efficiencies and product quality. Many strengths of indoor culture, however, can turn into disadvantages when stakeholder engagement, proper planning, technical expertise, and
good management practices are not in place. To date, little work has analyzed the role that public and private stakeholders play in the development of CEA innovation and technology diffusion. The goal of this research was to conceptualize
CEA from a multidimensional stakeholder perspective to identify opportunities and challenges that influence technological potential, decision-making, and consumer acceptance. To develop a common engineering focus, a needs assessment that took
associated stakeholders into account with respect to inclusive design and management, site suitability, assembly, acceptability, and utilization was required. A framework was developed to characterize CEA stakeholders by utilizing the technological
innovation systems (TIS) framework as an analytical lens. Stakeholder mapping involved identifying relevant actors and groups, analyzing perspectives and interests, visually mapping relationships to missions/objectives and other actors, and
prioritizing relevant issues. Results showed that CEA was mostly perceived as a commercial activity as opposed to a social one. Opportunities and barriers linked to CEA were categorized as technical, economic, environmental, and social. The
common engineering focus surrounding CEA stakeholders included: food production, product enhancement, materials management, reducing resource consumption, and reducing waste. This work will provide critical empirical data to verify claims
associated with CEA as well as a foundation for future studies.