Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) is a public-private partnership created by the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) to produce new flavorful, nutritious crops specially intended for indoor agriculture. By focusing on innovative science and technology, the consortium’s research efforts will increase our ability to produce crops that are high-value, of consistent quality, and desired by consumers. Ultimately, PIP can help food producers grow flavorful, nutritious food indoors.

EXISTING FOOD PRODUCTION SYSTEMS MUST EVOLVE

The future of food production faces numerous challenges, including climate change, shifts in consumer demands, and the need for food production in new frontiers. Food production methods must adapt to these changes. One promising food production approach is controlled environment agriculture (CEA).

Worldwide, interest in and funding for CEA and indoor agriculture is booming. CEA offers unprecedented opportunities to improve nutritional content and flavor, crop quality, and production of potentially lucrative phytochemicals. Currently, this interest and investment are largely focused on engineering production systems and energy costs. Yet, one important input in these systems is surprisingly ignored—the plants themselves. Many of the crops grown in CEA have been developed over thousands of years for outdoor production. FFAR is launching PIP to accelerate the development of crops specifically intended for indoor agriculture.

Realizing the potential for indoor agriculture systems can only be achieved by developing a broader variety of crops designed for CEA.

PIP'S VISION

A world where nutritious food is sustainably grown irrespective of geography or climate.

Knowledge gained from the Precision Indoor Plants Consortium will advance indoor agriculture and science as a whole, explain how plants adapt to indoor environments, and enhance our ability to grow crops that use resources more efficiently, are more flavorful, and more nutritious in a variety of environments.

DESIGNING CROPS FOR INDOOR AGRICULTURE

FFAR established the PIP collaborative to leverage knowledge and resources to accelerating the development of crops intended thrive in controlled environment agriculture.

PIP will advance crop science by focusing on problems largely underfunded or overlooked in crops sciences, including nutrition and taste. By controlling most inputs during crop development, we will explore how the combination of environmental inputs and genetic control give rise to desired phenotypes, whether these phenotypes are related to crop stature or controlling the phytochemicals a crop can produce. To achieve this, we will incorporate a variety of cutting-edge methods to achieve our goals, including advancements in artificial intelligence, phenomics, and computational modeling.
PIP’s research has implications for a wide variety of agricultural environments, including growing crops in space. Growing crops in space faces numerous challenges; however, increasing nutrient content and yields, growing crops with less energy, and understanding how crops perform best in CEAs are applicable to agricultural environments on Earth and in space. PIP is expanding the potential for growing crops in any environment.

PIP’s Research Focus

PIP will revolutionize the production of nutritious foods that can be grown indoors, and ultimately any environment, anywhere.

Initial projects focus on:


  • Crops including blueberries, cilantro, lettuce, strawberry, and tomato

  • Optimizing plant architecture for controlled environments

  • Advancing speed breeding technology

  • Altering chemical produced in plants that impact flavor, nutrition, and medicines

  • Developing new technologies to quickly detect specific chemicals without harming the plant


The PIP collaborative is a mechanism for leveraging private-sector investments in developing crops specifically for indoor agriculture. As a collaborative, the participants will set scientific goals and pool resources to fund the research needed to achieve these ambitious scientific goals. PIP welcomes new participants interested in joining PIP or co-funding individual projects.

Genetics

Technology

Data Analysis

Plant Architecture

PIP PARTICIPANTS

The PIP collaborative convenes global leaders who are changing the way crops are produced. The diverse array of participants represents many aspects of the indoor agriculture industry, including seed companies, technological companies, and indoor agriculture producers.The initial participants include: AeroFarms, BASF, JPFA, Benson Hill Biosystems, and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research

NEWS

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PROGRAM INQUIRIES

John Reich

Scientific Program Director

PARTICIPANT

Kashyap Choksi, Ph.D.

Director of Scientific Partnerships

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