Restart Radio: Growing indoors for Brexit survival


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Originally published at: https://therestartproject.org/podcast/greenlab-brexit-survival/

Download (40 MB) or listen on Soundcloud

Tongue-in-cheek, we talk about the upcoming Brexit deadline and the potential of indoor growing to feed us in a time of crisis. We are joined by Ande Gregson, founder of Greenlab and expert in urban agriculture, and by Halima Koundi, Restart Volunteer Coordinator who leads our Rosie the Restarter skillshares.

First, we discuss tech news. Shared scooters are becoming an e-waste problem. Thanks to the open-data policy of Louisville, Kentucky, researchers learned that the average lifetime of electric scooters operated in the city by the company Bird is only 28.8 days. We’ve seen teardowns of shared bikes, and we worry about the high amount of technology embedded in them. Who is responsible for this e-waste when these products reach their end of life?

Indoor growing at Greenlab

We then get into the day’s topic. Ande founded London-based Greenlab to apply the spirit of the makerspace community to indoor growing. It is a space for early-stage businesses involved with the circular economy who want to grow products in different ways, from cotton with less water to algae for a replacement feed in agriculture.

Zero waste and circular economy are at the heart of Greenlab, an environmental perspective rarely found in makerspaces. Ande highlights their work on recycling: their tables are made out of recycled timber, and they recycle food waste, plastics and metal. Although not the electronics they need to run their systems.

Getting started: from a window to Arduino

Halima mentions her interest in growing food at her new flat, and Ande gives out some tips for beginners – our window, for instance, is a good start to grow basil or rosemary. He also recommends looking for community seed banks which commonly give seeds out for free.

We also talk about the tech that can be used to do indoor growing. Ande points us to the London Hackspace as a place where one can learn about Arduino, a microcontroller that can be used from your phone to keep track of all the conditions affecting your growing space, like temperature or humidity. We also comment on the energy consumption of indoor growing which can be quite varied depending on what you are farming, although Ande recommends relying on solar.

So will Greenlab help ‘preppers’ survive Brexit? Ande is optimistic that the process won’t affect our supply chains excessively, as long as we avoid a no-deal scenario.

Greenlab hosts free open evenings at their space in Bermondsey, London every last Thursday of the month.

We will also be hosting a ‘Rosie Restart Party‘ on 30th March in London, which will be a Restart Party just for women and non-binary people.

 

Links:

[Featured image from Greenlab]