Building the World's Largest Vertical Farm for the Future | Craig Ratajczyk | TEDxBoston


In a world plagued by droughts, heat waves, fertilizer shortages and other environmental and supply chain challenges, it’s becoming more and more difficult to rely on traditional agriculture to meet the needs of the current — and growing — global population. But it’s not all doom and gloom — enter, vertical farming. Craig Ratajczyk, CEO of Crop One, a technology-driven indoor vertical farming company, will discuss the advantages of controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and why vertical farming is the future of food. Craig will also dive into Crop One’s joint venture partnership with Emirates Flight Catering, which resulted in the creation of ECO 1, the world’s largest vertical farm. This massive facility, capable of growing three tons of produce per day, proves that vertical farming is a viable solution for bringing safe, sustainable and local food to an arid and volatile climate. Craig Ratajczyk is the Chief Executive Officer of Crop One, a technology-driven indoor vertical farming company on a mission to cultivate a sustainable future to meet a global demand for fresh, local, and safe food. Craig possesses extensive c-suite experience and global perspective, bringing expertise in strategy, financial-organization management, stakeholder engagement, governance, advocacy and leading complex global organizations. Agriculture is at the core of his proficiencies as Mr. Ratajczyk dedicated over two decades to the global industry. He was previously CEO of the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA) where he was responsible for managing the $40 million organization and its 200 employees, representing 43,000 soybean farmer members. During his tenure with ISA, he improved efficiency in business and strategic operations, namely implementing advanced technology solutions and aligning the organization with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to his position at the ISA, Ratajczyk served as Director of Global Issues and Alliances for the U.S. Soybean Export Council Inc., as well as division director, Western Hemisphere, Europe, Africa, Middle East, CIS, for the American Soybean Association. He’s also a Retired U.S. Navy Intelligence Commander, leaving the branch in 2012 after over 28 years of service. Mr. Ratajczyk received his BA from Southern Illinois University, MBA from Thunderbird – American Graduate School of International Management and is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program (AMP). This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at


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