In this mind-opening talk, Dutch horticultural engineer Gertjan Meeuws debunks seven widely-held perceptions on the feasibility of indoor farming in Africa. Along the way, he challenges our most strongly-held ideas about plants and their relationship with nature. In characteristic dry humour, he delivers a few disarming jabs. Take this, for example: “Plants don’t like nature.” In other words, plants—as counter-intuitive as it might seem— perform best when they are shielded from the harshness of nature, and given all the support they need to flourish. This involves intervening to strike a balancing act between the parameters that are responsible for photosynthesis, versus how plants expend energy for self-preservation and growth. Ultimately, his assertion is that—like with cellphone and solar technologies—hi-tech indoor farming gives Africa yet another opportunity to leapfrog deficiencies in infrastructure and know-how, and accelerate development. Find Gertjan on the web: Gertjan graduated in 1983 from the University of Applied Sciences in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands. He and his wife Lianne are business partners since 1989. They were pioneers in the field of hydroponics, assimilation lights, robotics, mathematical models and indoor farming. They co-founded PlantLab in 2010 and Here, There & Everywhere in 2015. Today their latest company, Seven Steps To Heaven, applies controlled environment solutions and decades of experience in order to enable breakthroughs in breeding, propagating, and growing. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Seven misconceptions about indoor farming in Africa | Gertjan Meeuws | TEDxJohannesburgSalon

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