Vertical Farming: Catalyst for Customer Value Creation in the Hospitality Industry – Presented by Cristian Toma, Kalera

Cristian Toma, Kalera (former Eco Convergence Group), will speak at at Vertical Farming Conference, on June 26, during AgriFood Innovation Event 2019 in Venlo, The Netherlands.

The vertical farming industry is now at the peak of expectations. However, this favorable window will close soon if we – as an industry – do not prove our economic viability. This is particularly challenging in a commoditized industry such as fresh produce supply. Technological innovation does not automatically lead to economic success – it must be applied in the right business context.

My presentation discusses how vertical farming can disrupt and innovate fresh produce supply in the hospitality industry. In order to be successful in a commoditized industry, one must be able to build durable customer relationships.

Vertical farming provides a platform that can be used as a catalyst for creating customer value, and the presentation shows how this can be achieved in the context of the hospitality industry.


What drives you?

The future of my children and that of their generation.

Why should the delegate attend your presentation?

Delegates will learn from a real life business case how to use vertical farming as a platform for creating customer value.

What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?

Short run: IoT, AI, Gene Editing; Long run: Biomimetic Nanotechnology.

What kind of impact do you expect them to have?

Any technology can be used for good or bad outcomes. Let’s hope for the good…

What are the barriers that might stand in the way?

Lack of funding, lack of imagination, lack of vision.

Special Quote”

“Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future.” – Yoda

About Cristian Toma

Dr. Toma is the founder and CEO of Kalera (former Eco Convergence Group), a US company that has developed the HyCube, a data-driven vertical hydroponic system combining semiconductor industry-inspired controls with plant science to produce high-yields of superior quality vegetables.

ECG rolls out its HyCubes in the hospitality and food services industries in the US and abroad. Dr. Toma has over 25 years of professional experience with both Fortune 500 and start-up companies, in technology development, R&D management, as well as technical expertise in biomedical signal and image processing.

Prior to founding ECG, Dr. Toma had worked for Lucent Technologies, Medeikon, Becton-Dickinson, and G-Tec.

Dr. Toma holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Bucharest, and a PD Eng. degree in Software Technology from the Eindhoven University of Technology.

About Kalera

We are a science and technology-driven company dedicated to growing the very best possible produce. Kalera is smart horticulture at its best. We work with nature to help plants grow abundantly, year-round. We focus on clean, safe, healthy, tasty greens and on the efficiencies of growing locally in controlled environments.

Our vertical hydroponic farms use cleanroom technology, IoT, AI and big data analytics to create perfect conditions for growing a wide variety of lettuces, baby greens, herbs and edible flowers, year-round. We keep away pests, bugs and germs without ever using any pesticides or insecticides. Our growing cycles are simply not affected by the weather. Finally, we grow locally, so there is virtually no wasteful transportation

About AgriFood Innovation Event
On June 26-27, 2019, the 3rd edition of the global AgriFood Innovation Event will take place in Venlo, The Netherlands.

The event will include a two-day expo, four conferences – 3D Food Printing Conference, Healthy Nutrition Conference, Vertical Farming Conference and Smart Farming Conference and more activities such as lab tours, demo corners.

3D Food Printing Conference: Research and development (taste, texture, structure, flavor, color, nutrition) | Technologies for 3D Food Printing |Ingredients for 3D Food Printing | Business Models | Patent / Legal and Regulatory issues | Investment opportunities

Healthy Nutrition Conference: Food Innovation and health | Intestinal Microbiology | Behavioural Gastronomy | Nutritional Sciences and Food Law / Regulation | Smart & Healthy Ingredients | Sustainable Food Manufacturing | Food design | Funding

Vertical Farming Conference: Available technologies – LED lighting, sensors, AI | Plant condition issues like: CO2, Nutrients, Irrigation, Climate, Lighting | Food safety / HACCP | Robotics | Improved resource-use efficiency | Sustainable Buildings (design, green roof, energy) | Smart Cities / Architecture / Urban Design | From traditional farmer to vertical farmer

Smart Farming Conference: Available technologies for Farming 4.0 – drones, sensors, Internet of Things, Robotics, Big Data, AI and more | Precision agriculture | Precision Livestock Farming | Plant and crop science for improved resource-use | Investment in R&D | New business models | Cross disciplinary themes

For more information about the conferences and the expo, we invite you to visit:

This event is organised by Jakajima. For a complete list of upcoming conferences and events, we invite you to visit

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