Category: Events


Green Lab #openhouse – Urban Agriculture movement in London, New York & Shanghai

For our first #openhouse of 2018 we welcomed our fellow urban agricultural mavericks into the lab to hear how urban ag is impacting cities and communities around the globe. With urbanisation on the rise and our growing concerns for the current food systems in place we are seeing technology set to play a larger role. With this increasing move from countryside to city our relationships to our food sources are becoming jeopardised and as a result people are turning their hand to growing for themselves, finding unique and smart ways to grow within the city. We heard from our green fingered friends in New York and Shanghai, discussing how our cities are growing for the future and how small change is taking place across the globe.

New York

We heard from Agritecture – an urban agriculture consultancy based in New York and we also spoke to AgTech X, a makers space based in Brooklyn creating opportunities and space for designers and makers to build an urban agriculture community.

Agritecture logo &

Agritecture

Henry Gordon-Smith, Founder of Agritecture, showed us different examples of urban agriculture throughout the city, ranging from low tech community based projects to high tech commercial ventures.

We looked at case studies of these different typologies, focusing on 5 New York based projects:

Battery Park – a community soil based garden

Brooklyn Grange – a commercial rooftop soil-based project

Harlem Grown – a community hybrid

Sky Vegetables – a commercial rooftop hydroponic growing system

Edenworks – a commercial vertical aquaponic growing system.

Each of these examples have varying levels of success and Henry discussed the urban agriculture impact categories that they measure projects against – looking at success more holistically and how it impacts not only on an economic level. The categories we looked at are:

Aesthetics – does it attract people? Is it an enjoyable experience?

Social – does the farm engage the community? does it improve food justice and equality?

Economic – How much yield does the farm producer? does it create jobs and revenue?

Ecological – does it encourage biodiversity? does it help to manage rain and storm water

Health – Is it providing fresh food for those that need it? Is it providing stress relief and a sanctuary from urban living?

It was a comforting insight to hear that not everyone measures success on ‘growth’ and that sometimes the project with the most impact are not the most economically minded.

The discussion of low tech versus high tech urban farming was another interesting point. With many people joining the urban agriculture movement keen to use high tech smart methods, such as hydroponics, aquaponics and aeroponics, soil based farming can often be overlooked, despite it’s many benefits. Whilst high tech farming and controlled growing environments can result in food security and utilise precious space these methods take time to perfect and the energy consumption can be huge. They also may not provide the local community with sometimes much needed jobs and the biodiversity we all need to bring back to our cities.

See Henry’s presentation here.

AgTech X logo &

AgTech X

We also heard from Ricky Stephens, co-founder of AgTech X, a co-working space focused on the intersection of urban agriculture, technology and sustainability. Based in Brooklyn, AgTech X is creating a working community space that also runs classes and workshop for the public to engage with. As we are finding with Green Lab it is becoming increasingly important for these spaces to exist, not only as a space for play, test and experiment with new ideas, but also to create a dialogue between the local community and those working and growing within the city. Green Lab and AgTech X are facing similar hurdles in sustaining this concept, looking for a permanent space where the ideas can grow and for that all important funding to sustain the project.

Shanghai

Domosfarms vertical green wall &

We also heard from Andy Garcia – a product design engineer and founder of Domosfarms – based in Shanghai.

Whilst New York has been a big player in the urban agriculture scene from the beginning we hadn’t heard much in the way of China’s involvement and Andy gave us an interesting insight into the urban ag community developing in shanghai and also the general agricultural issues that China is currently facing.

When Andy first moved to shanghai 8 months ago he found that he not only couldn’t drink the tap water but he couldn’t cook with it due to the heavy metals found in the water. These heavy metals are a result of china’s mining and processing industries. These metals cant be filtered by the body, resulting in an increased chance of cancer and disease when consumed. Not only are these heavy metals found within the water systems but also within the food grown and produced.

With this concern Andy was keen to start producing his own food and he started to build his first hydroponics system. With the success of his first system he garnered interest from others keen to produce their own food and is now in the process of creating two open source projects for those wishing to build their own hydroponic systems and produce their own food.

China came quite late to the urban agriculture movement, with neighboring countries of Japan and Korea way ahead of them. this was partly due to their large agriculture industry producing plenty of food but in recent years, with increased urbanisation and fears of both food security and food safety the need to explore urban agriculture has increased.

The safety of the food produced has come into question, with the entire food system now possibly contaminated from China’s industries people are now demanding safer food.
Sunqiao Urban Agricultural district &amp

China is addressing this problem by investing in land all over the world, having brought areas in Africa, America and Australia. They are also looking to architectural developments to solve their problems with a current project being built on the outskirts of Shanghai. Sunqiao Urban Agricultural District is being developed to include vertical farming systems such as hydroponics and aquaculture, whilst also providing research and public outreach to the community.

Our next #openhouse will be on Thursday 22nd February, make sure you sign up here.

 

Green Lab Kombucha

Jon Katona, Green Labs resident Kombucha specialist is now fermenting and brewing his own Kombucha here in the lab.

Kombucha is raw fermented tea. The sugar-tea solution is fermented by bacteria and yeast commonly known as SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Although its usually made with black tea, Kombucha can also be made with many other types of tea, or even coffee. These ingredients are left to ferment in a warm environment for a period of time, becoming a delicious, refreshing, nutrient dense drink.

Green Lab has been brewing its own Kombucha for the past 6 months and we’re keen to share how simple and straight forward it can be to ferment your own strain of tea and get creative with flavouring.

Fermentation

With the increasing concern with our own bacteria and maintaining a healthy gut Kombucha has grown in popularity. Fermenting foods in order to keeps stores during the winter is an age old technique and along the way our ancestors discovered that this technique also aided their health. In more recent years and our reliance on a fridge/freezer the need to ferment and preserve our fresh food in the same way lessened. With this we not only lost an understanding of seasons but we neglected our gut health. We are now starting to re-appreciate how vital a varied diet with the addition of fermented foods can be, with many seeking out easy pro-biotic boosts such as Kombucha.

fermenting Kombucha &

Health benefits

The health benefits from fermented foods are plentiful from help with nutrient absorption, vitamin synthesis, breaking down proteins, alkalizing pH, restoring homeostasis, boosting immunity, and producing immunoglobulins. The process enables the nutrients to be more easily absorbed by our bodies, allowing us to work less and benefit more.

workshops:

We hosted our first workshop last weekend at the lab. The event started with a tasting session, trying some punchy freshly brewed Kombucha and raspberry puree before diving into the deep end, learning about the drinks restorative, detoxifying and adaptive properties. Their were tastings of live ‘booch’ through the different fermentation stages, which gave the class a sense of the flavour evolution throughout the process – from sweet to tart as the brew matures, right through to extremely potent and versatile Kombucha vinegar. They tasted bottle-aged Kombucha flavoured with ingredients from fiery chilli, sasperilla root, rosemary and schizandra berry. Everyone was then given a SCOBY starter kit to start brewing their own concoctions at home as well as some of their own personally flavoured brew.

Green Lab Kombucha station &

If you are interested to learn more about Kombucha and how easy it can be to make yourself, sign up to one our workshops to kick start your fermentation journey.

Jon will be hosting  his next Kombucha workshop here at the lab – ‘learn to ferment and make your own Kombucha at Green Lab’ on Saturday 27th January, buy tickets here.

He will also be hosting ‘Learn to brew Kombucha with Green Lab’ at Makerversity as part of their Material Explorations program. For the third part of the series they are presenting Pharma Foods, exploring the world of synthetic biology and discussing how our eating  habits are set to change. With progress into lab grown food, and ethical decisions, Kombucha represents how our search for health can also look to the past.

‘Learn to brew Kombucha with Green Lab’ will be held at Makerversity, Somerset House on Saturday 10th February, buy tickets here.

Grow Wild 2018 – Community Funding Opportunities

Grow Wild is the UK’s biggest wild flower planting initiative brought to us by Kew Gardens. As we grow more concerned with the future of our wildlife and our fragile ecosystems in danger of being disrupted we are finding that small groups of people are fighting back with responses as simple as planting native flowers and encouraging wildlife back into their gardens.

Grow Wild is encouraging communities to take back their green spaces and spread wild flower seeds. Having lost 97% of our wild flower fields since 1970 this initiative is extremely important in protecting our natural spaces.

As part of the initiative Grow Wild has now launched their community funding opportunities for more people to get involved, find out more below.

HOW CAN YOU TAKE PART

‘Grow Wild, is excited to launch our new community project funding for 2018. We are awarding funding of £2,000 or £4,000 to community groups that want to bring people together through activities that connect their community and celebrate UK native wild flowers, plants and/or fungi.

Do you have an interesting idea for involving your group or local community in a project. Will it capture people’s attention and connect everybody through activities focused on the creative transformation of an area where they live and spend time? Click here to read all about the funding opportunity. Make sure you download the guidance document and read it fully. It tells you everything you need to know about who can apply, the criteria for funding and the process for completing an application.

Grow Wild is here to help and advise groups along the way. We have dedicated Engagement Managers working across the UK to help guide your thinking and develop your project idea. Contact information can be found in the guidance document.’

Application closing date – 15 January 2018.

We will be working on our own submission over the next few weeks for the Lab and looking forward to seeing all the great ideas put forward!

LOGOS

LAST WEEK @ GREEN LAB: SCHRÖDINGERS CAFFE & AQUAPONICS

FUTURE OF FOOD, SCHRÖDINGERS CAFFE

Last week at Green Lab we hosted the first ever Schrödingers Caffe event, The Future of Food, run by Hasmita Chavda.We were thrown head first into the world of insects with Indroneel Chatterjee teaching us about the potential these little critters have in the future of our food security.

BUG BAR & TINNED TARANTULA... YUM

With more protein per gram than beef we were quick to learn the logical side of the argument, so Neel took to challenging our emotional side and we were pushed to question how these bugs may be made more acceptable and desirable to us in the future.

After sampling some of the (erhum) delicious insects currently available to buy, we washed this down with a cold brew and gin cocktail, conjured up by Mac’s Cafe.

SLOW BREW & GIN COCKTAILS

Next was the discussion of how to grow food in urban environments with our own Ande Gregson, looking at how much of an impact urban farming will have on our future and the future of our food. At Green Lab we are exploring new technologies and ideas to grow food whilst also revisiting our ancestors more in depth knowledge of the land  and what we can expect from it. We saw how the Lab itself is an urban farming experiment, with a group of imaginators testing ways to farm in our own urban Bermondsey environment.

Taking inspiration from one of Green Labs newest crop experiments we ended the night with Mac’s Cafe spirulina and ginger shots, a boost of protein and spice.

SPIRILUNA & GINGER SHOTS, SO SPICY

OUR SECOND EVENT OF THE WEEK  – AN INTRODUCTION TO URBAN AQUAPONICS

John Katona also hosted our first urban aquaponics event at the Lab with Edible Lambeth. We saw an eager group of Londoners come to learn all things fish and greens.

JOHN WOWING THE AUDIENCE

Kicking of with a discussion on the potential of aquaponics, John then demonstrated how to grow your own food using fish waste and a water recirculating system. Using low cost equipment and recycled materials the group learnt how to source, design and build a system for their own home or garden, with one participant planning to do just that –  ‘A well put together workshop, covering the many facets of aquaponics. I’m off to find some barrels.’

JOHN AND HIS BARRELS

With more workshops in the pipeline we hope to see homemade aquaponics systems popping up all over the city in the future.

Look out for future events at Green Lab for both Schrödingers Caffe and aquaponics…

Register your interest here.

 

 

BAQUA 2017 Aquaponics Convention @ Green Lab

Green Lab are very pleased to be hosting the two day annual British Aquaponics Association Convention on the 8th & 9th December 2017.

The annual convention serves as a knowledge sharing and networking gathering of the Aquaponics Sector. Connecting participants with latest aquaponics industry updates, initiatives, resources and tools.

It is focused on disseminating state of the art technology and research, market trends, key challenges and showcasing inspirational initiatives and face-to-face networking. The convention provides networking towards the initiation of business collaborations, demonstration projects, technology partnerships and open source data sharing as well as actively matchmaking synergies and partnerships to shape this emergent industry.

Convention details

Friday 8th December – Aquaponics Training Workshop 10.00 – 16.00
This takes place at Green Lab and includes a delicious lunch

Saturday 9th December – Main convention 09:00 – 17:00
The convention will cover many aspects of aquaponics including exciting projects and people emerging in the sector incl. Paul Bavister (Flanagan Lawrence) and Fred Labbe (Expedition) invite you to explore their World Architecture Forum Shortlisted Aquaponics Proposal. A look at 2017 the state-of-the-art in research + poster competition and presentations. Catching up with the latest on fish health challenges for UK aquaponics and on compliance with CEFAS, and exploring a key theme of ‘Feed’.

Tickets range from £55 to £300 – there are a limited number available, please book early to avoid disappointment. Find out more about the convention and REGISTER FOR TICKETS

The BAQUA annual conferences aim to:
 • facilitate knowledge and resource sharing across the network
 • enable members to overcome specific operational issues through access to specific information and expert guidance
 • introduce innovations and the state-of-the-art in research and practice from the UK and beyond
 • provide a high-level training opportunity for practitioners
 • make aquaponics more accessible to entry-level practitioners

Find out more about the convention and REGISTER FOR TICKETS

Schrödinger’s Caffè: The Future of Food

Green Lab are excited to be hosting the very first Schrödinger’s Caffè event at the lab on the 16th November.

Schrödinger’s Caffè – Is the best space to ‘Nerd out’. The inaugral event has an apt theme: Future of Food, kicking off from 7pm with a very experimental style and approach.

The event will have special concoctions for you to try including insects, algae and greens; the event will be curated to help participants understand current thinking and trends on Food, coupled with vibrant and animated discussions.

Topics for discussion will include: will insects solve some of the big food problems we face? How much of our food can we grow in urban environments? Who are the future urban farmers leading this change and how is technology playing a role in this?

Mac’s Cafe will be in the Lab inspiring us all with some quaint concoctions.

Event Details
Thursday, 16th November 2017
7pm – 9pm
Tickets £6 per person

Register to attend Schrödinger’s Caffè

London Food Tech Week Ticket Offer

Join a global community of Food and Ag Tech innovators, start-ups, investors and brands for the world’s largest week-long showcase and collaboration of the companies and trends transforming the Food ecosystem using technology.

YFood are offering the Green Lab community 10% off tickets using the code GREENLAB10 and you can save a further 20% until 31 Aug with Early Birds.

Find out more and check out the Day Themes and first speakers at www.yfood.com

Green Lab #openhouse: Agricultural Mavericks

Green Lab is hosting a monthly #openhouse event for the London urban farming community in London. Join us from 7pm on the last Thursday of every month to share ideas, showcase your startup or just meet other people with similar interests.

We’ll be bringing together an eclectic mix of agricultural mavericks exploring sustainable foods, urban farming, zero waste and local agriculture in London and the UK.

We’ll provide the space, drinks and nibbles. Got something you want to present or talk about? Drop the team an email at hello@greenlab.org

Sessions will run something like this

– 7.00pm Doors open and grab a drink
– 7.15pm Open mic and lighting talks kick off
– 9.00pm Doors close

Green Lab lives here www.greenlab.org/findus


Green Lab open for sustainable food start-ups

Green Lab finally opened its doors to a UK community of sustainable food and agri-tech startups on the 22nd June. After 4 months of hard work preparing the space, the old Bermondsey school kitchen has been transformed by leveraging materials sourced locally from a local theatre company, eBay, University of Arts London, decommissioned bio labs and an art freight recycler.

Green Lab, London’s first incubator workspace for sustainable urban farming entrepreneurs and ‘agritech’ startup businesses; creating a new city community for sustainable food innovators in the capital and country’s growing £14 billion agri-tech sector.

Media Release June 2017: Green Lab, London’s first incubator workspace for sustainable urban farming entrepreneurs.

Green Lab had been operating in stealth since February 2017 with a small team of agricultural mavericks developing the facilities, farming greens, insects, algae and supporting the early stages of the project.

Over 60 guests attended the launch event with the two founding partners Andrew Gregson and Mark Shayler welcoming guests and startup residents Entocycle, Friche London and Hexaponics showcasing their sustainable food startups.

Special thanks for go to 3Space, MartinsSpeed, Old Vic New Voices, LV Scientific, Carillion Services, Lorna Studholme, Pablo Lalor, Kent del Pino, Tim Storey, Edward Hill, Mark Shayler, Julian Blake, Jonathan Minchin and Dylan.

We’re very excited for next stages of the project, follow all our daily updates at @GreenLabOrg

PICTURES FROM OUR LAUNCH EVENT

Green Lab launch event
Entrance and the story behind Green Lab

Green Lab launch event
Welcome from the founding partners

Green Lab launch event
Kombucha and pesto workshop

Green Lab launch event
Basil pesto freshly made in Green Lab

Green Lab launch event
We’re just chilling

Green Lab launch event
Networking in the Green Lab

Green Lab launch event
Friche London selling freshly grown microgreens

We’re hosting our first monthly meetup on the 26th July – Are you an Agricultural Maverick?

London’s first sustainable foods and ‘agri-tech’ incubator opens

Green Lab, London’s first incubator workspace for sustainable urban farming entrepreneurs and ‘agritech’ startup businesses opens its doors on the 22nd June, in an effort to create a new city community for sustainable food innovators in the capital and country’s growing £14 billion agri-tech sector.

Green Lab occupies a temporary space in Bermondsey, South London within 3Space, an urban regeneration charity.

Green Lab offers a collaborative and affordable studio environment, wet lab facilities, bio lab, growing spaces, access to a making workshop, an event space – and access to a network of experienced mentors and investors.

True to its mission, the lab itself has been designed and built using recycled salvage from a local theatre company, decomissioned biolabs and wood from art freight containers.

Green Lab is a place is for individuals to design, prototype and pilot food production systems, processes and agricultural technologies that can be taken from a bench-scale trial to achieve local and even worldwide impact.

Green Lab is already home to innovators working in aquaculture, lighting systems and alternative food sources. New businesses taking up space will join a growing community of social entrepreneurs who are expert in the field of sustainable food provision. There is enough space at the lab for 12 new businesses, occupying benches/desks on a residency basis with access to the community and facilities.

Andrew Gregson, the founder of Green Lab, said the inspiration to start the lab came from a series of visits he made to Valldaura, a self-sufficient habitat in Barcelona, as well as visits to Kew Gardens, one of the world’s oldest and best-known botanical education facilities.

Gregson, who previously co-founded Fab Lab London, an education and training facility for the capital’s ‘maker’ community, said: “I wanted to create a new creative workspace in London that blended traditional agriculture principles with tech innovation, in a bid to help grow sustainable new food businesses.

“Green Lab provides an opportunity to design sustainable food systems, with access to high-end technologies. We have designed a space that sits at the intersection of great design, technology, science and agriculture.”

Occupying two floors,Green Lab has a unique offer for startups:

    • Affordable studio space to incubate early-stage sustainable agricultural & food startups.
    • Workshop with hand tools, 3D printer, vinyl cutter, pillar drill and electronics bench
    • A vibrant 150 sq.m event space with adjoining kitchen
    • 24 bays to showcase examples of agricultural food systems in practice: aquaculture, hydroponics, algae, insects and fermentation
    • Fast WiFi and fixed internet access with secure storage for projects
    • Wet lab to prototype and experiment with larger installations of agritech and urban farming projects
    • Access to a specialist mentor and investor network focused purely on agriculture and urban farming

Green Lab opens its doors to the public from 2pm on Thursday 22nd June to showcase the facilities and the startups based there.

Find out more and register to attend at www.greenlab.org/openday