Michael Gargaro

Michael Gargaro

Postgraduate Research Student
BSc Environmental Geoscience, MSc Environmental Technology (Environmental Economics and Policy)


My research project


Climate change-related impacts have hampered the productivity of agricultural lands in recent times, affecting food security globally. Novel technology-based agricultural production systems such as controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) are a way to reduce the impact of climatic variation and pests that harm current global crop production and ensure consistent crop development. These systems often use artificial lighting and soilless mediums to produce crops. This meta-analysis has investigated the key influencing factors on crop production within these systems, using previous studies on lettuce (the most cultivated crop in these systems) to understand what affects yield within CEA. This analysis has found that on average, CEA systems yield twice that of field-based agriculture (3.68 kg m −2 vs. 1.88 kg m −2), with the most influencing factors being the variety of cultivars grown, the season, the nutrient delivery method, and the lighting type. The cultivation time for this study was 40 days, with 94% of papers having trial periods of 70 days or less, much lower than field-based agriculture (60–120 days). Vertical farming (stacked vertical CEA cultivation) studies were found to especially drive up yield per area (6.88 kg m −2). The results of this meta-analysis are useful for starting to understand the key influencing factors on CEA growth and highlight the breadth of research ongoing in the CEA industry.