A green internship at Elements Interactive

Hi, I am Nienke, 16 years old and a VMBO-T student at Clusius College. Clusius College is a “green school”, meaning next to general subjects like math, Dutch and English we have extra subjects like plants, animals and agriculture.

I have been an intern for a week at Elements Interactive. I was interested in how a company like Elements is run. Next to that I had a special interest in the company’s projects like easygrow.io and aqua/hydroponics. I got the opportunity to speak to many people and to visit the project Elements is doing with a university of applied sciences. I went to Urban Farmers in The Hague and I have worked in the easygrow.io lab Elements is running.

Aquaponics

The first day of my week at Elements started with a meeting at the Dronten University of Applied Sciences, Aeres. This meeting was about aquaponics. This is a system that allows one to grow crops and at the same time grow fish. In this case they grow lettuce and tilapia fish. The plants grow from the “fertilizers” that the fish excrete.

The system is powered by a pump that gets its energy from a battery, which is charged by a solar panel. I was amazed that it is possible to build such a system. Except for the materials it works without the need of any traditional energy source. The aquaponics system is a modern technique to counter environmental problems. This idea is still used very little, but this is becoming increasingly popular. I was amazed how it worked.

easygrow.io

easygrow.io is a platform Elements is developing to grow plants optimally. With the system, Elements wants to make sure plants grow faster, better and bigger. The plants are growing in a sustainable medium and biological nutrients are used, making the nutritional value of the crops higher and having positive effects on people’s health.

One can also use this system to prevent waste and have more yield! The easygrow.io platform sends notifications to the easygrow.io app when there is work to do, for example, if you have to replace something. It makes it very easy to grow your plants well! I have helped setting up the system and taken care of some of the plants that are part of the first experiments with the app.

Urban Farmers

Urban Farmers is a company that is one of the first in the Netherlands to use the aquaponics system at large. They even have a store where they sell the home-grown vegetables from the system. It is a really big place. On one floor you find the fish that they grow in large containers. On the roof there is a large greenhouse where the plants can grow.

The project was conceived in Sweden by two men. First they had made the system in miniature and afterwards they have built this project in the Netherlands. Me and my supervisor got a tour through the building. It was very interesting and fun. We were allowed to harvest and taste the vegetables ourselves. After the tour we got an extra tasting with nachos and homemade sauces, cucumber and tomatoes. It was delicious! We also bought a few items from the store. It was certainly a successful day!

Thank you!

Thank you for your hospitality, Elements Interactive!

As showing off your cooking skills with your local specialty is a tradition at Elements, I made some real Dutch pancakes for everybody on my last day. I hope you have enjoyed them as much as I have enjoyed my week. I want to thank you all for having me and giving me the opportunity to understand more about your company and your perspective and work in the “green” business.

Bye bye!

— Nienke