TEDxWageningenUniversity and 2018 in Review

Hi there,

Hope you’ve had a worthwhile 2018.

In September 2018, a surreal surprise occurred when I got a presenting spot at TEDxWageningenUniversity in November. My talk was on AMI (aquaponics-mushrooms-insects) systems and how they can connect resource management to health.


A talk by Jos Willemsen I had seen in 2017, combined with ideas from the book Deep Nutrition (which I highly recommend), combined with AMI, created the narrative for my talk. Synthesising ideas is fun.

The Rest of 2018

The charming Zjef Van Acker once put in an email “only be responsible for 3 things, otherwise you die.” I survived 2018, but there were definitely more than 3 responsibilities this year. That said, it was surprisingly fruitful. Here’s a brief overview of some of the other things I did in 2018.

The year started off with Aquafarm in February, where I spoke for the Association for Vertical Farming with Yanni Garcia Postigo. I also got to know a few people I admire in the vertical farming scene a lot better. By April, we started formalising our collaboration with AMI’s Farm Lab, which should have its own landing page soon, as well as a spot at the upcoming Novel Farm trade show.

In February, Wageningen University’s Greenhouse Challenge also started. I joined a team called Green Spark, helping out with the technical parts. In August, we presented our design in front of a jury and won the award for innovative substrate, largely (if not entirely) thanks to the work of our team member Sean Anayah.

I also started – and finished – my BSc thesis, on using iterative optimisation to improve leaching in greenhouses, supervised by Bert van ‘t Ooster. It taught me a lot about nutrient flows in greenhouses, as well as programming and modelling. With that, my bachelor’s degree was finished and I started my MSc in biosystems engineering.

Another surreal surprise occurred in November, when I received a message from Gavin McEwan from HorticultureWeek and was featured in his article*, along with Green Spark and AMI.

It’s also been great to write on Alex Grows Up. There are a few more of you readers today than there were at the end of 2017. Thanks a lot!

In 2019 I plan on further contributing to AMI’s Farm Lab, Green Spark, and building a small-scale AMI system, whether with Green Spark or on my own. Who knows what else might happen.

Have a great 2019!

* Sorry, the article seems to be for subscribers only. I did find that it was accessible if found through Google instead, but that loophole seems to have been closed as well.

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