Global Controlled Environment Agriculture Consortium (GCEAC)


California (US)

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The world’s population is growing at an alarming rate. As a result, providing each and every individual with a supply of safe, healthy, sustainable food is becoming an ever-greater challenge. It is a particular challenge to do so while respecting and maintaining our environment.

Smart technological innovations can help provide a solution to this problem. These innovations help us to capitalize more effectively and more quickly on changes in the food chain.

Ambitions of the Netherlands and California

If smart new technologies are to be developed in the best possible way, international collaboration and innovation are crucial. By working together, we gain access to new markets, we create new export opportunities and we strengthen our trading position, which makes for greater social and economic impact. Combining the strengths of the Netherlands and California, the largest exporters of agricultural products, accelerates the technological development process.

The partnership between the US and the Netherlands was launched in 2015. Because both countries encountered the same challenges in this field. The signing of an LOI by former Minister of Agriculture Martijn van Dam signaled the start of the partnership. This ‘letter of intent’ set out the initial principles on which the partnership was based.

The program was discussed again during the GES in 2019. Public and private partners from both countries refined as well as reiterated the LOI on behalf of Carola Schouten, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture.

Need for action

There is a need to overhaul the existing food system in the US and the Netherlands. In both countries, for example, there is a major need for a sustainable and healthy food farming system.
California, being the main source of fresh fruits and vegetable produce in the USA, faces major challenges in its agricultural production chain: labor shortages, lack of water, increasing energy prices, negative effects of crop protection on the environment and biodiversity, etc.

The Netherlands, with unique experience and know-how in controlled environment agriculture (CEA), faces similar challenges. The Global Controlled Environment Agriculture Consortium (GCEAC) is a partnership dedicated to accelerating the adoption of innovative solutions in CEA. How? By combining the innovative strengths of both Dutch and American horticulture, agribusiness, technology, and entrepreneurial ecosystems to establish new business models and solve the major challenges in areas such as climate change, food security and food safety, workforce scarcity, and CEA industry efficiency, profitability, and sustainability.

A global approach

The focus on innovation collaboration makes this a unique program within the NLWorks portfolio. The consortium deliberately has chosen the name “Global Consortium” because the challenges it addresses are global challenges and the consortium aims to bring solutions that make CEA feasible in many more places around the world. Additionally, the vision is to onboard partners from different nationalities at a later stage. By developing structured collaboration projects between our 2 countries, we increase market access for consortia from both the Netherlands and California. Together, we also develop solutions that have the potential to provide the growing population with healthy food, while at the same time respecting our planet.

Learn more

This initiative is part of a larger private-public AgFoodTech collaboration launched by California, Washington State, and the Netherlands.


Partnership developer

Joke Vroegop

Joke Vroegop
+31 6 34 69 63 95
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Sustainable development goals (SDGs)

2: Zero hunger
3: Good health and well-being
9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
12: Responsible consumption and production