By @SimonCockingOn March 31st Andrew Douglas from Urban Farm will give a  presentation at the TEDxBinnenhof viewing event at the Netherlands Embassy in Dublin. Irish Tech News will be moderating at the Dutch Embassy in Dublin for this event. For more details see here.

Brief background about you?

I used to be a farmer, I would call myself an urban farmer but now I am not a farmer, I am a sole trader. Most people don’t realise that my urban farming activities have always been a massive hobby that I ran alongside my actual day job as a sound engineer working within Irish film and television drama. You are generally classed by occupation, an occupation that pays, the occupation that pays currently is my film work, my hobby URBANFARM, well it was that, a hobby, just a glorified passing of my spare time. But not for long, the times are changing, it seems the more you persist at something the more it takes on its own life and takes over yours. The hobby has become organic,not in the sense of soil and microbes but in the message it sends out and the space it has formed and now occupies in those who have experienced it. So I now want to turn that hobby into my number one occupation, the one that pays. As I begin to transfer my hobby into a business I realise that I am not a farmer, not by revenues accounting and not by the city’s planning laws, now that my hobby wants to enter the economy I no longer permit myself that romantic notion of being an urban farmer, now I am simply known as a sole trader, with accountants and deadlines and dreams of days off !!

What inspired you to speak at this event?

I have always been a fan of inspiring TED talks, especially urban food videos !! So I certainly jumped at the opportunity to talk at such an event, being able to inspire others motivates me a lot as I would hope that through cultivating a network of urban farmers and creating alternative DIY food projects there will be social changes that will improve the livelihood and livability of our city spaces.

Why it will be helpful for people to attend. What will they get out of it?

It’s always good to listen and view other peoples opinions and ideas, especially when they relate to current issues facing all of us and generations to come, the more the general public become interested in the world around them ans the more that connection can be made is always a welcoming event,

You have something in the recent / current Science Gallery show, what are you aiming to illustrate with that piece?

Currently there are two URBANFARM exhibits in the Science Gallery
AQUAlab which raises fish as a food source and as a separate fertiliser growing the leafy greens through the merger of aquaculture and hydroponics, with AQUAlab I am demonstrating integrated aquaponics through renewable energies, LED efficient lighting, re-circulating hydroponics, open source micro processing, ecological monitoring & environmental awareness. While with URBAN OYSTER  I am aiming to demonstrate the use of waste coffee grounds as a source of fertilizer for oyster mushroom production. Coffee is one of the largest globally traded commodities, yet only 1% of the plant biomass ends up in the cup after the final brewing process. With today’s dwindling resources and increasingly complex food system it’s important to minimise the waste of nutrients.

Andrew Douglas, Science Gallery Adviser Essay

Who has inspired you?

I have always sought alternative views to issues, but when I searched for alternative growing methods in Ireland I found little, inspiration for a lot of my projects comes from all over the world where necessity and ingenuity have meet and created value from little resource, the people of the world creating social and economic value from seemingly worthless sources, they inspire me.

Where can people see / listen / read more about you?

Science Gallery Dublin

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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