One of our most innovative members is sitting at Helio Kungsholmen. Plantagon has started their first ever indoor farming plantation in the Daily News’ old archive. They have big plans for both skyscraper farms and a plantation on Mars. We had a coffee 22 floors above the farm along with Vice VD Mia Kleregård to talk about the future.
Good morning, Mia. Tell us! Who are you and what did you have for breakfast this morning?
Haha! Good morning, I’m a leader who loves to be in the centre of action, but also to help people and businesses around me to grow. Oh, and I had a banana for breakfast!
You just opened your City Farm in the DN skyscraper, congratulations! What is a City Farm?
Thank you! The farm is a completely new and unique concept in the world. We recycle energy, water and nutrients in an enclosed and symbiotic system. The productivity is increased with 200-400% and we use an incredible 99,6% less water than regular plantations! We also use the air from the offices in the building and send air back out to the plantation through heating in one big circular system.
It sounds romantic?
Yes! The wonderful thing is that we’re using the old newspaper archive of the Dagens Nyheter, the space isn’t needed anymore due to the digitalised era. We’re planning another 10 new plantations in Stockholm within the upcoming two years.
You recently had a very successful crowdfunding, which proves that a lot of people are interested and believe in city farms in the future. Is it the future?
It IS the future. We will be 10 billion people on Earth by 2050. If we keep going at today’s rate, there won’t be an Earth left to grow things on, and what will be left will be so covered in pesticides that it will be next to unusable. It will be exhausted. We have to find new ways to grow things.
We’re living in a world where the technological development is moving very quickly, what kind of effect does that have on the food production?
Oh, lots – that’s what’s so exciting! What we’re seeing is that everything will become more and more individually controlled, both products and the actual process of purchasing them will change. The trend we’re noticing in urban farming is exceptional, and that’s true about all technology. It’s important to automate and streamline the farming as much as possible. All the expensive and unsustainable middle hands as well as transportations will gradually disappear.
Won’t a lot of jobs disappear, too?
No, they won’t disappear, but they will change! The organisations and business that are starting to prepare for this change today, are the ones that will be strong once we get to that point.
How likely is it that we will run out of the planet’s resources, and when do you think this will become more noticeable than today?
The day water stops running through the taps in Sweden, that’s the day that people will realise what’s happening in the world.
You’ve also studied exponential technology which includes knowledge about AI, robots as well as nano- and bio technology. In what ways have you used this knowledge in your work at Plantagon?
How could I inspire, engage and be a role model to my coworkers if I wasn’t aware and ready for the future? If I don’t know where we’re going, then I’m not taking responsibility as a leader. I want to learn!
I want to use my passion to solve the global challenges we’re facing with the amazing technology that is available. That’s why I’m also involved with both the UN and the 2030 agenda.
What do you think about the meat industry’s future, do you think we’re moving towards a more vegetarian society?
Yes, absolutely. You can see clear differences in trends and you see vegetarian options everywhere. The meat industry will move towards more artificial meat. The development will be faster than we think. Once we’ve tasted it, and realise that it tastes exactly the same, we won’t understand why we need to eat meat from animals anymore.
We’ve also heard that you love space, is it one of your passions?
Yes, a big passion! To get the opportunity to see all the steps and collaborations together with Plantagon makes me feel like a child on Christmas Eve. I love it. We’re working with space as a target since this is a natural step. We have to solve the global challenges and we can do that with the space technology that is used today by military around the world. We want to change that so that the technology can be used to secure the survival of humans. Without food, there will be war and evil. If we can guarantee food, water and energy on Earth, we will be able to stay here. We also have a big responsibility to make sure that space doesn’t end up like the Earth’s oceans – where no one takes responsibility.
When do you think that Plantagon will be launched in space?
If you could give three pieces of advice to our members, what would you say?
1. Dare. It takes courage within businesses, leadership but also how you live privately in the process we are in now. Dare to do and think outside the box! 2. Be curious and read. No-one will come to you with information anymore. It’s our responsibility to be curious. 3. Show respect and humility.
Thank you Mia. We’re looking forward to hold you hand as we talk towards an exciting future!
If you want to become a member of Helio too, you can read about our different memberships here.
If you want to read more about Plantagon, check out their website here.