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monthlies OnOffice July9

11 Oct 2018

Is it time to grown our own food in the office?

Words by 

Space10 is working towards a future in which we all grow nutritious and sustainable food in the city – and in the office

Category: Design

Space10 is a future living lab that aims to research and design innovative responses to some of the world’s biggest challenges – which includes everything from rapid urbanisation, the scarcity of natural resources, loneliness in cities, food security, the lack of affordable housing and even investigating artificial intelligence and its effect on human empowerment. 

Most recently, the Copenhagen-based lab has completed its latest project, The Farm, which is an exploration into alternative methods for growing, distributing and integrating food production into our cities. 

“Our exploration within food actually started when we discovered that a simple hamburger takes over 2,000 litres of water to produce, and that our appetite for red meat is becoming a problem for everyone on the planet,” says Simon Caspersen, co-founder and communications director of Space10. “We started to explore ways to produce tasty, nutritious and affordable food in the heart of our cities – the result unfolds literally from the ground up. In the basement of Space10 we have The Farm growing a range of vegetables and micro greens; we also have a bioreactor for growing spirulina, an insect farm for mealworms, and an aquaponic system, which grows fish and plants together in a closed-loop system.”

05 WellnessSpecial 6The Growroom is an open-source design for growing food at work

By utilising The Farm in the workplace, Space10 employees now benefit from 100kg of food per month, used for lunches, dinner events and even delivering produce to a local high-end restaurant. Due to its artificial lights, hydroponic system and computerised automation, Caspersen explains, the plants get exactly what they need in terms of light, water and minerals all year round. Not only this, but the greens also grow up to three times faster than in a field and use 90% less water – a highly sustainable way of supplying the cities, indeed. But where does this fit into the modern workplace?

“Maybe The Farm is too big a challenge for most workplaces, which is why we have designed something a bit more approachable: we call it The Growroom. It’s a spherical urban garden that enables people to grow their own food right on their doorstep or in their office,” says Caspersen. “We have open-sourced the design, meaning anyone can download the cutting files and produce their own Growroom locally. All you need is two rubber hammers, 17 sheets of plywood and a visit to your local makerspace.”

Fresh and delicious produce is enough to satisfy any employee in the working hours. Yet to have your own growing farm on site is on another level. Caspersen concludes: “In my view, there are a lot of reasons to start growing more food within our offices. Besides taste, it just makes the office greener, healthier, and more interesting to be in. It also bring people closer to nature, supports our sense of wellbeing, secures more delicious food as well as reminds some people of where food actually comes from.” 

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