Introducing the Controlled Environment Agriculture Minor!

May. 10, 2023
CEA Lettuce

We have some exciting news to share, undergraduate students at The Ohio State University can now enroll in the brand-new Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Minor!

CEA is a form of sustainable plant production – that can be used for a wide range of plants including food, flowers, and medicines. Several of our faculty members in the Department of Horticulture and Crop Science are heavily involved in CEA including, Drs. Chieri Kubota and Garrett Owen (who will be advising students in the CEA minor). Luckily, they both had a moment to share some insight into the new CEA minor: 

How did you initially become involved in CEA?

Dr. Owen: I became involved in CEA during high school when I enrolled in the Horticulture 1 class and joined FFA. Through that introduction, I started my own greenhouse business, studied horticulture as an undergraduate student, and interned at a commercial bedding plant greenhouse.

Dr. Kubota: My story of entering in this area is meeting with an inspiring professor when I was completely lost in the undergraduate program. I am from Tokyo (ultra urban) and agriculture/horticulture did not exist in my background. Never appreciated plants either. I thought all students around me in the college were nerd and strange, loving plants. So, life is interesting…

Why is the new CEA minor a great opportunity for undergraduates?HCS 4301 Hydroponic Crop Production Lab posing with the tomatoes they grew

Dr. Owen: The CEA minor is a great opportunity because CEA extends beyond cultivating plants under protection. Controlled environments require plant/crop care specialists (propagators and growers), plant breeders, plant pathologists, entomologists, computer scientists, engineers of all specializations, chemists, logisticians, business and trade personnel, food safety and quality specialists, managers, skilled laborers, mechanics, and so on. This minor provides an opportunity for undergraduate students to become knowledgeable of CEA and competitive when entering the workforce.

What are some key advantages to students getting a CEA minor – what types of careers can this lead to?

Dr. Owen: There are many advantages for students to earning a minor in CEA including increasing demand of locally grown foods and flowers, mitigating food deserts, and climate change – just to name a few. These advantages will provide careers for many students as the CEA industry grows. Such careers may include but not limited to: crop care specialists, directors of integrated pest management or food safety and quality, data scientists, computer or industrial engineers, logistics and inventory coordinators, and so on.

Learn more about the Controlled Environment Agriculture Minor