Category: Events


Green Lab x Materiom collaboration

Green Lab X Materiom

Materiom have taken residence in the lab for our Green Lab X Materiom collaboration. Zoe Powell and Pilar Bolumburu are both material researchers and workshop facilitators from Materiom and they will be spending the next few months working with us and helping to develop our Material Lab and Library.

Materiom:

‘Materiom is an open platform for materials experimentation and development for a circular economy. We believe this multidisciplinary and collaborative approach is the key to unlocking a 21st century materials economy that is regenerative by design.
Working at the intersection of design, material science and ecology, the Materiom platform and its community are using open source data and technology to unlock a circular materials economy that is regenerative by design.’

Material Lab:

The material lab is going to be a bookable space for material lab members to use. The space is ideal for material research and development that can’t be conducted at home but that doesn’t need a bio lab. With stainless steel work benches and equipment ranging from what you would find in your kitchen to more advanced lab equipment the space is ideal for messy work.

During our collaboration Materiom will also help us develop a material library, showcasing future sustainable materials alongside more traditional examples. The library will be a space for students, researchers, buyers and industry to come and explore alternative possibilities. Located next to the lab, the library will also connect viewers with researchers making these alternative options, creating a unique space for collaboration.

At our next #openhouse evening on Thursday 28th February we will be launching our material lab and running some material workshops – come along to meet with the Material Lab team and Materiom.

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FARM491 AgriTech Bootcamp at Green Lab

FARM491

Green Lab is excited to be hosting FARM491’s Inspiring AgriTech Innovation Boot camp on 8th & 9th April.

The two day bootcamp is for AgriFood and AgriTech startups looking to take the next steps to define their business model and become investor ready. Farm491 specialises in helping turn technology ideas into viable and scalable businesses.

The workshops provide an opportunity for startups to understand the next steps they need to take ‘in order to increase their technology readiness and progress their business. The two days are very practical, entailing one-to-one business support, as well as group discussions, zoning in on the value proposition, and helping every attendee get investor ready.’

What is Farm491?

‘Farm491 is an AgriTech specialist taking technology ideas and helping them turn into viable and scalable businesses, using our extensive knowledge of agriculture, our association with the Royal Agriculture University, and our network of partners. Farm491 received grant funding from the European Regional Development Fund to run free two-day workshops, where we engage with each entrepreneur, and welcome continued engagement after the bootcamp to ensure the companies receive enough support.’

APPLY NOW

Download PDF for more info

or email grow@greenlab.org

GrowUp Community Farms join the lab

We are super excited to have GrowUp Community farms join the lab, installing their aquaponics installations, growing in the space and creating living biomes.

Their aims are to engage, educate and inspire communities about sustainable food production and help people make informed decisions about the food they buy and eat. By running aquaponics workshops and training courses in the lab they will help to raise the awareness of growing within the city and encourage more people to get involved with where there food comes from.

GrowUp workshop

“We are thrilled to be joining the Green Lab community which will be hosting our aquaponic workshops and training courses. Their exceptional facilities make them a perfect partner for us.” (Sam Cox, Co-founder)

GrowUp produce

They are currently offering evening GrowUp tours – an event for the curious to learn more about aquaponics and Practical Aquaponics training: How to build your own system – a 1 day practical course.

Find out more & sign up for an event

The MICRO_FOOD Library by research resident Sneha Solanki

Sneha Solanki of the A to Z Unit joined our research residency programme in October and is spending 3 months at the lab working on her project the MICRO_FOOD Library.

‘The MICRO_FOOD Library aims to bring the microbial transformers from our food systems to the forefront as a library of micro-organisms. Missing and un-credited bacteria, yeasts & fungus often perform to provide complex flavour profiles, nutrition & of course intoxication – Although their hard-work is enjoyed by many they often go unnoticed.

During the research residency, the project aims to bridge or counter some of this oversight through developing a repository of knowledge and micro-organisms that aspires to engender a ‘D.I.Y’ (Do It Yourself), D.I.T.O (Do It Together) or ‘D.I.W.O’s (Do It With Others) approach to culturing, consuming and engaging with this integral element from our food landscape. The A to Z Unit is an autonomous and evolving culinary research facility with a mission to map, investigate and interact with food systems and ecologies.’

During the first month of the residency Sneha has conducted a large amount of research, planning and mapping for the library – building it into a coherent and ‘possible’ framework.

MICRO_FOOD Library framework

The first micro organisms introduced into the library are:

Acetobacter aceti, Acetobacter Ketogenum, Acetobacter pasteurianus, Acetobacter xylinum, Acetobacter xylinoides, Bacterium gluconicum, Bacterium xylinum, Brettanomyces bruxellensis, Brettanomyces lambicus, Brettanomyces custersii, Gluconacetobacter kombuchae, Kloeckera apiculata / Hanseniaspora uvarum, Pichia pastoris, Saccharomycodes apiculatus, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomycodes ludwigii, Schizosaccharomyces pombe, Zygosaccharomyces bailii, Zygosaccharomyces kombuchaensis, Lactococcus lactis var. longi, Lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. bulgaricus (Lactobacillus bulgaricus) Streptococcus salivarius subspecies thermophilus (Streptococcus thermophilus)common name: Egyptian Kombucha and Långfil & Bulgarian yoghurts, all chosen for their reversioning or continuous legacy.

Egyptian Kombucha & Bulgarian Yoghurts

These organisms, and others that will be added will be classified under an ‘X-Number‘ system- to credit their hard-work which often goes uncredited from our food systems.

Micro-organisms Engineered through genetic systems or synthetic biology will be organised as the ‘E-Number‘ system within the ‘MICRO _FOOD library’. Taking over the ‘European’ ‘E-Number’ system post-brexit.

Follow her research and the project to find out more

REAP conference 2018 – Agri-Tech for a productive future!

Green Lab founder Ande Gregson will be taking part in this years REAP Conference by Agri-Tech East on Wednesday 7th November with a focus on Agri-Tech for a Productive Future.

The day will consist of a series of talks, showcases and debates hosted by various speakers with different viewpoints and experience with the agri-tech indsutry.

Ande will take part in the afternoon debate:

“This house believes in supporting land-use for competitive sustainable UK food production should be the priority for agri-tech innovations.”

Chair: Mark Suthern, Head of Agriculture, Barclays

For years the price paid for food has been disconnected from the cost of production; now, as the regulatory environment shifts, agriculture will be exposed to uncertain market forces. What future do we want for farming? Is food security and the supply of high quality, nutritional food incompatible with the demand for cheap food? Does higher productivity always mean compromising the environment or can agri-tech help achieve both? Should farmers go high-tech and automate to compete or instead diversify and produce premium products for the bioeconomy?

This is a chance to hear the views of diverse industry experts:

For:

Dr Dave Hughes, Head of Global Technology Scouting, Syngenta

Dr Stuart Knight, Deputy Director, NIAB

Prof. Claire Domoney, Head, Metabolic Biology Department, John Innes Centre

Tony Bambridge, Managing Director, B&C Farming, former NFU Norfolk Chairman

Against:

Andrew Spicer, CEO, Algenuity

William Cracroft-Eley, Lincolnshire farmer and Chairman, Terravesta

Guy Poppy, University of Southampton, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Food Standards Agency

Ande Gregson, Founder and Director, Green Lab

To find out more about the day and other speakers head to the Agri-tech East website here.

Book tickets

Southwark… we’re sticking with you

The Lab has gone a little quiet over the last week – with big decisions to be made…

With the news that our Bermondsey home will stay standing until early 2019 we have decided to stay put and halt our move to Brixton – that’s right Lambeth – I’m afraid you aren’t getting us yet.

It was a difficult decision to make but we feel it is the right one for the lab for now. Over the coming weeks we are going to be focusing our attention identifying what the lab means to people and understanding exactly which are the most important areas for us to continue with.

We’re going to continue our focus on projects and research working with food, water and waste we provide a space to test, research and grow new ideas that are going to make real positive change for the future. The lab will still be open for short term urban agriculture technology and growing projects in our wet lab and also upper clean areas.

To keep up with our latest news and the next steps for the lab sign up to our newsletter

London People’s Feast

Green Lab resident Helene Schulze will be hosting the London People’s Feast on Saturday 27th October from 1pm – 9pm – it’s completely free and will be a day of celebrating the food, cultures and people that make our city so great!

‘Join us to celebrate London’s rich culinary heritage! In light of anti-immigrant sentiment and rising nationalism, we invite you to share food, stories and performance that celebrate a city built on its international connections. Without people from all corners of the world, this city (and its food) would not be half as exciting (or delicious) as it is. In the beautiful Wolves Lane glasshouses, we will have an evening to toast the growers, the chefs, the artists and the eaters. Bring a dish, your kids, a story or a song.’

The day will include a Seed Swap hosted by Growing in Haringey as well as a programme of speakers, performances, music, poetry, workshops and of course FOOD.

Helene and co would love for you to bring a dish along to share that means something to you!

FIND OUT MORE

 

 

Central Saint Martins Degree Show Two

It’s degree show season and we kicked of with Central Saint Martins Degree Show Two last week.

Starting with MA Material Futures which was as always full of the weird and wonderful. With speculative and critical design subjects contextualised through making and the tangible we were guaranteed to find some surprises around the corner of that neon lit wall. With the Labs concern for material exploration and the utilisation of resources the projects that stood out all dealt with materials commonly viewed as waste. From organic waste streams that are prolific and so often discarded as useless to the man made world of plastic we seem to have created.

Sinae Kim

Perhaps the most progressive use of a waste stream was presented by Sinae Kim with her project ‘This is urine’. As the title suggests we were confronted with a series of organic vessels entirely crafted from urine. Their was a sense of the prehistoric about them. Each piece was made using human urine – ‘extracting the minerals to produce clay, distilling it to form a natural glaze and eventually crafting ceramic vessels that nod to the origin of this humble, abundant and completely under-utilised natural resource.’

With each of us producing around 2 litres of urine daily, globally that scales up to over 10.5 billion litres every single day being flushed away – it is a resource that perhaps would make many uncomfortable but clearly has great potential and purpose.

This is urine by Sinae Kim

‘This is urine’ by Sinae Kim

Lulu Wang

Lulu Wang’s project ‘Increasing the value of rice husk’ offered a practical and poetic solution to eliminating the burning of waste rice husk that takes place yearly throughout China. By creating simple but necessary tools such as chop sticks and writing implements with this by-product of the rice farming industry Lulu also tackles the ‘annual haze, a smog that engulfs China and is one of the largest contributors to declining public health.’

Increasing the value of rice husk by Lulu Wang

‘Increasing the value of rice husk’ by Lulu Wang

We saw the much publicised horror of plastic waste tackled by students Charlotte Kidger and Katie May Boyd both utilising this as a raw material to make with.

Charlotte Kidger

Charlotte’s project ‘Industrial Craft’ explored making a new composite from polyurethane foam dust a waste product from CNC milling. By exploring this new material from a hands on practice she has successfully created a new desirable material, with objects that are visually appealing and will no doubt hold value.

Industrial Craft by Charlotte Kidger

‘Industrial Craft’ by Charlotte Kidger

Katie May Boyd

Whilst Katie’s project ‘Foreign Garbage’ focusing on expanded polystyrene (EPS) solely used for packaging made commentary on societies excessive consumption, with little regard to the waste that constantly buying produces. With the recent ban China has brought in, refusing to take any more of our waste the beckoning cat or Maneki-neko symbolises our plastic obsession and adds an element of humour to an otherwise bleak topic.  The project acts as an important ‘tool for discussion around waste.’

Foreign Garbage by Katie May Boyd

‘Foreign Garbage’ by Katie May Boyd

At MA Industrial Designs show the projects we were struck by focused more heavily on growing, utilising tech, open source and hacking to grow, survive and flourish in the city.

Zoe Kahane

One of our favourites was ‘Green Me’ by Zoe Kahane – a project that’s simplicity spoke volumes. ‘Greening the City through active citizen participation’ – the project enables and encourages citizens to green their city, with the notion of positive grafitti the act benefits the environment and people. Using old socks and an easily assembled open source structure the design attaches to railings, lamp columns, and fencing panels temporarily, causing no damage and the ability to be moved and changed. By encouraging citizens to take ownership of their public spaces and actively improve the environment this project acts as a small step that collectively could amount to large change.

Green Me by Zoe Kahane

Green Me by Zoe Kahane

‘Green Me’ by Zoe Kahane

All hail the mighty Pea! Seedlips beautiful garden at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018

Last night we had the wonderful experience of visiting the Seedlip garden at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

Winning Gold for their ‘Space to Grow’ garden we were keen to see the mighty Pea in all it’s glory. As an ode to this wonderfully familiar veg the entire garden was made up of plants from the Fabaceae family, including a world wide debut of the new Speckled Snap Pea.

Among this newcomer sat multiple varieties of pea, as well as beautiful Lupins, Blue Wild Indigo, the Carob Tree, Red Clover and Legumes.

Seedlip Garden Species

With much of Chelsea focused on foliage plants it was wonderful to Seedlip incorporate so many edible species in to their garden. Growing vegetables in our own gardens is becoming increasingly popular, and with the urban agriculture movement, many people in cities are finding and utilising small spaces to get green fingered – as a showcase for the creme de la creme of garden design it’s incredibly important Chelsea Flower Show adapts to encourage more people to grow both edibles and natives species to boost biodiversity and encourage wildlife back into our gardens.

All in all it was PEAliciously PEAutiful.

Seedlip Lupins

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SEEDLIP & THEIR PEAS.

Prometheus food lab travels to the Italian Alps to speak at a conference held by Dolomitti Contemporanee

Our resident Lorenzo Barbasetti di Prun has traveled to the Italian Alps this week to speak at Direct Current Method, a conference held by Dolomitti Contemporanee about his ambition of starting Prometheus, an open food lab based in the Dolomite region to promote regeneration of a neglected area. Lorenzo has summarised the conference and his contribution to it below for us:

Can researching edibles contribute to regenerating landscapes in remote areas?

Of course. That is what Prometheus, our open food lab based in the Dolomites, believes.
To present this belief we have been invited to take part in Direct Current Method, the conference curated by Dolomiti Contemporanee addressing the challenges and opportunities in the regeneration of territories in the Dolomites, on the 20th of April.

I still struggle to define exactly what Dolomiti Contemporanee is, despite having worked closely with them for a while now.  They are the organisation giving Prometheus food lab a space and constant support. Using their own words ‘Dolomiti Contemporanee is a laboratory for visual arts in space’. I would say it is a process, a catalyst for the regeneration of underestimated spaces. It acts like a wishful thinker pioneer in those places that used to be of crucial importance for their communities, making them fertile again; vibrant through cultural practice.

The conference will be an occasion to gather a selection of eminent projects operating on different levels in the Italian Alps, both within and outside the Dolomites. The speakers are called to bring their practices to the strategic yet critic mountain space, both looking at the environment on a wider context and focusing on specific abandoned or underused sites, the potential of which is still intact.
One of those in fact will be the frame of our reflections; the impressively regenerated hydroelectric power plant in Malnisio, Friuli Venezia Giulia that also offered the pretext for the title.

Direct Current Method addresses the narrowness of certain cultural and social policies that are intermittently proving themselves to be inconsistent and ephemeral, not able to root in the place and grow with the community. On the other hand culture intended by DC as the human cognitive and creative, planning and operational function is a constant flux, able to activate or re-activate; to nourish virtuous and sustainable practices.

The architect Edoardo Gellner, demiurge of the former ENI Village in Borca di Cadore refers to landscape as the combination of the natural environment and human activity.

It is therefore impossible to talk about landscape regeneration without considering food. The relationship between humans and food is obvious, but human strategies to get nutrients nowadays can be destructive both when involving massive exploitation of the land or totally neglecting it. Placing resilience and survival as the goal of humankind it is equally as dangerous as the deforestation of an hectare of virgin forest and the abandonment of the same surface of grazing land. In both cases the local community is deprived of its sustenance and its culture. In fact food is not only nutrition but it carries with it a set of values and knowledge which is unique. At the same time the cultural practices related to food production, preservation, transformation and consumption have been historically developed to take as much as possible from the environment whilst simultaneously preserving it, so that it could keep providing food and sustain the community year after year.

Since the end of the last World War the alpine areas have been experiencing an actual exodus towards the big industrial poles all over the world and more recently the phenomenon has worsened due to policies that impose cuts to local services and the subsequent weakening of the social fabric. This meant a huge cultural loss even in terms of adaptability and now that some bold and adventurous people want to return to live in these spaces, escaping from cities and urban living, their goal is likely to fail because so much has already been lost from these regions. The direct keepers of knowledge and competences are gone, the grazing land has been invaded by untamed forests, seeds selected for generations have been lost. Even laws have adapted to a different conception of life and landscape and don’t fit to these places anymore.

The modern forms of thoughtless tourism looking for amusement; the bowing down of privates and institutions to investors’ blackmailing has worsened the already fragile situation of these lands and their communities. The illusory flow of capitals and the revivals of traditions as a means of entertainment have eventually weakened the community fabric, exploiting local resources and have contributed an unsustainable economy in an environment with fragile balances. Locals gave up many of the strategies that had taken centuries to be developed, losing awareness, knowledge and therefore resilience.

Prometheus Lab logo

Prometheus_lab is a research hub aimed to explore the remote places of our minds to generate, collect and (re)distribute knowledge about food. It operates as a cultural device to re-activate awareness and support resilience in those neglected places that even being right in front of our eyes are completely invisible to our sensibility because we’re not educated to recognise their potential.

If you think about the basic human needs – food is the most important; there is no life without food and there is no doubt at the same time that it is the first and most powerful element shaping the landscapes we live in. It is able to change the perspective with which we look at the world, it is capable of flipped over the frameworks of meaning that relegate places to remoteness. Remoteness as a mental state. We are exploring these remote locations of the mind and culture as if they were another planet entirely. We are trans-dimensional explorers in this space that is both virginal and yet already violated in the most intimate meaning of the word. We look for intelligent life forms that may be able to generate intelligent forms of life.

Winter foraging sessionExpedition #1: Winter Foraging Session. photo: Giulia Fassina

Quite surprisingly my experience in London has revealed concerns for food exploration in a way I would never have expected. I had never thought there was anything remote about a densely populated mega city with 11 million inhabitants. Despite the large disposal of social and economic resources, food is still a problem which had been underestimated until Brexit abruptly changed the game. More than half of the food consumed in the UK comes from abroad and the raising tariffs applied to imported goods impose not only organisations but also citizens to explore new solutions. Or rather, old ones. In fact at the last openhouse event hosted at Green Lab we reflected on a what resilient food system after Brexit might look like, calling to mind the Dig for Victory campaign used during WWII. Shall we all become farmers, or shall we reconvert any tiny green plot of land, any balcony or bath tub into a growing surface to produce more food locally? The answer is much more complex than what have the possibility to develop here but what is interesting from my perspective is the perception of the urban landscape related to food.

London is dotted with green areas, reservoirs and huge parks; most of the houses have some square meter of courtyard, without even talking about the random flowerbeds along the streets or the cemeteries that often grow wild. All this potential seems to be largely neglected and people seem unaware of the criticality and opportunities of these areas; what is already growing around them and how they can be involved in a more conscious and fruitful relationship with urban life for mutual support.

Boite RiverBoite river, Cadore, Italy. Photo: Giulia Fassina.