Perceptions of Controlled Environment Agriculture at Raleigh City Farm

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this research study was to understand the perceptions of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) held by individuals affiliated with the community garden Raleigh City Farm. Controlled environment agriculture refers to nontraditional growing methods largely defined by the absence of soil, the use of liquid nutrient solutions, and a controlled environment such as a greenhouse or indoor growing space (Jensen, 1999). CEA allows for greater farming efficiency, leading to larger crop yields by providing an ideal environment for growing as well as limiting pests and disease (Gomez et al., 2019). The innovations of CEA are well-documented in academia, but the general public has expressed unfamiliarity or distrust of the technology and growing methods. The purpose of this study was to analyze the perceptions of CEA in a civic agriculture setting and gain a perspective on how civic agriculture participants view CEA. To accomplish this, stakeholders at Raleigh City Farm (RCF), in Raleigh, North Carolina, were the focus of this case study. Individuals were interviewed on their backgrounds in agriculture, food purchasing habits, and perceptions held about conventional agriculture as well as controlled environment agriculture. This case study offers the opportunity to understand perceptions of CEA held by individuals who work closely within the food system.