About Us

How We Got Started

The Center is the outgrowth of a year-long study of the feasibility of setting up a Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture. An Executive Summary of the report can be found here.

Started in the Spring of 2017, the purpose of the study was to determine the feasibility of setting up a viable and self-sustaining Center of Excellence for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) located in the greater Philadelphia area. The Township of Kennett (PA) was the chief sponsor and Kennett Square and New Garden Township joined as secondary sponsors in September 2017.

More than 200 stakeholders from industry, local and state governments, mushroom farmers and vertical farmers, universities, and economic development groups contributed to the study.

The study concluded that a Center was needed and had the potential to transform the green indoor agriculture industry and to accelerate its growth, as well as bring innovation to the one hundred year old mushroom industry.


Our Mission

Our mission is to create a public-private partnership that accelerates growth and innovation in the indoor farm industry through knowledge sharing, programs and services for industry partners, research and development, testing, workforce training, advocacy and leadership.

Where We are Headed

This web site and the online marketplace are just the beginning of our journey. We envision the COE to include events, an administrative home, testing facilities, and a technology demonstration park.

Here are some of our target milestones:

  • Build Web Site with Social Networking Features (completed)
  • Build Online COE Marketplace (completed)
  • Develop Network of Partners, Sponsors and Members (on-going)
  • Host COE Events
  • Identify Sites for the COE in the Greater Philadelphia Region
  • Raise Capital
  • Build COE Headquarters and Technology Demo Facilities


The Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture was founded in 2019 and is located in Media, PA, which is equidistant and about 30 minutes from downtown Philadelphia and the heart of the mushroom industry in Chester County, PA.

Eric W. Stein, Ph.D., Founder and Executive Director

Dr. Stein has a Ph.D. in business from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in Physics from Amherst College. He is a tenured faculty member at Penn State University and has run an small R&D indoor farm for five years. Eric authored the year-long study of the feasibility of setting a Center of Excellence for Indoor Agriculture. He currently serves as Executive Director of the Center.

Michael Guttman, Co-founder

Mr. Guttman is the Director of Sustainable Development for Kennett Township and a founder of the Center.  He has been a visionary in the field of indoor agriculture by highlighitng the contributions of mushroom farming to indoor agriculture. He championed the need for a feasibility study of the potential of a CoE for Indoor Agriculture to infuse innovation into the mushroom industry while accelerating growth in indoor farming of leafy greens and other crops.

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