Category: Events


Midushi Kochhar – Material Research Resident at London Design Week

Research resident Midushi Kochhar tells of her experience working at the Lab and exhibiting at this years London Design Festival, 2019.

‘I spent 12 weeks at Green Lab as part of their research residency program, working in the Material Lab to experiment and create alternative material solutions, with a focus on food waste and biobinders. The project was part of my final M.A. Industrial Design studies at Central St. Martins, UAL and therefore was both challenging and exciting at the same time.

The research started by testing some initial recipes from Materiom, and after a lot of trial and error, I was able to derive my own concoctions that seemed promising. The team at Green Lab were always available to provide their input and feedback and the open-minded, multidisciplinary community played a crucial role in the way the project was framed. Continuous, casual and engaging discussions were a part of our daily routine there and the material lab gave me the right space and time to conduct my experiments.

Material Lab experiments

Kate Krebs said that “Waste is really a design flaw.”, a statement I agree with and ethos that directed my final outcomes. Therefore, on the quest for creating sustainable products, the project concentrated on a conscious material driven approach to upcycling food waste. Traditional resources are finite and expensive but waste is abundant and cheap. Identifying the by-products of the poultry industry and reimagining them in new contexts, I conceived an original and tangible collection called Eggware.

Made from waste eggshells that I collected from cafes around King’s Cross, Eggware products are biodegradable and locally made. The disposable tableware is ergonomically enhanced to support the act of eating whilst standing in a street food scenario. Once their use and function is over, you can literally crush and throw them in the compost as they are designed to degrade.

Eggware table ware

This project drives a positive change through value addition to a classed waste resource, spreading awareness and revising the common perception about discarded materials.

It was both fun and challenging to develop the material recipe for Eggware, but having gone through that process it enabled me to fully understand the material properties. The material is porous, naturally fire retardant and has a course texture, meaning it can be used for various applications, including interior wall panels, plant pots, high-end home décor objects and even construction material.

Designing and mastering material making can take years of research and development, but I am happy with the outcomes that I have achieved so far. I wish to continue my research to make Eggware more robust and long lasting. Eggware is now being displayed at various material libraries around London and with the support of Green Lab, was showcased as part of London Design Festival at Biodesign Here Now and the V&A Exhibition Road Day of Design.

Eggware on show at V&A Day of Design

Eggware on show at V&A Day of Design

I was pleased to have some really interesting conversations with well-informed and inquisitive people and was excited to share my learning and knowledge with them. Having recently graduated from university, these exhibitions gave me the opportunity to be more visible to a wider audience and gauge feedback from people from both design and non-design backgrounds. I am proud to have been part of design shows that highlight future thinking and I am grateful to Green Lab for fostering sustainability driven ventures that are determined to make a difference.’

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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!

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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.