Radu M. Giurgiu answers Zjef’s questions about high tech ecosystem farming — I ask therefore I am #102

Zjef Van Acker
4 min readSep 3, 2020

What was first, the question or the answer?

In this article and podcast-series I talk to experts who have a deep knowledge about certain subjects. Subjects that are important for human society. Together we’re looking at the current situation, the potential and the challenges that are still holding us back. We then look to co-create solutions.

Making the world a little better, one question at a time!

I’ve known Radu for a couple of years now, and every time I looked at where he came from, and how he developed his career, I’m thinking: “Damn, that guy is making his dreams come true!”

Radu Mircea-Giurgiu was born and raised in Romania, did a master in Controlled environment Agriculture (CEA) and then went on to do his phD in Germany on medicinal plants in Controlled Environment Agriculture. It’s around that time that I met him. We were both volunteering for the Association for Vertical Farming and created a project group called AMI.

In that group we brought together many amazing people and created a concept called AMI or A M I . That’s an abbreviation for Aquaponics, Mushrooms and Insects. Basically, we connected all existing CEA food producing technologies to create a high tech ecosystem with no waste (or at least as little waste as possible). With the team we did a lot of research, thinking and modelling, and from that we created banners, videos, a white paper and a lot of workshops, which we gave all around the world. In that way we spread the idea of ecosystem farming or AMI-farming, and helped the industry to adopt it.

The AMI-concept is so good that Alex Van Tuyll got invited to do a TEDx talk about it!

Everyone in the group was super-enthusiastic about the ecosystem concept, but only a few made it their personal purpose. One of them is Radu — others are Seppe Salari and Alex Van Tuyll (I will probably interview both of them too). Already during the AMI-work, Radu got funding for his own Research project in the University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine in Cluj-Napoca (UASVM). The project was called PlantGeek and he and his team investigated the technologies to monitor the aquaponics ecosystem.

Of course — Radu didn’t stop there. He also got trained by The Ellen McArthur Foundation to become a circular economy pioneer, he also became an ambassador for Thought for Food. But most importantly, he got funding for his postdoc and got connected to the European Space Agency and their amazing project around creating an ecosystem in space: The Melissa Project.

Within this huge European collaboration between many companies and organisations, he started working for SEMILLA IPStar (The Netherlands). A company that takes space-technologies to develop applications here on earth.

Yes — space exploration does make the world a better place!

Video about one of the projects at SEMILLA

In this podcast-interview Radu and me talk about why ecosystems are so important for us, humans. We talk about the Melissa Project, about his work at SEMILLA and PlantGeek. And of course we also talk about the challenges for the implementation of an ecosystem or circular economy, and how we can overcome them.

The word you will remember from this episode is — you guessed it — Ecosystem!

Enjoy the amazing interview with Radu Mircea Giurgiu!


0min40 — Introduction to Radu Mircea Giurgiu.
4min10 —
Radu & Zjef’s ecosystem history.
5min50 — What are ecosystems, why is it so hard to replicate them and why are they so important?
11min00 — Ecosystems in space. About the Melissa Project by the European Space Agency.
21min12 — Radu’s work at Semilla IpStar. Bringin technologies from the space industry to earth.
25min55 — The economic viability of ecosystem technologies
33min00 — How Artificial Intelligence can help us understand and create ecosystems
34min00 — About the attitude of politics to ecosystems and climate change
36min00 — How do we turn cities into ecosystems?
42min25 — Radu’s work and research at PlantGeek. Monitoring aquaponics, automation and artificial intelligence.
49min58 — How to incentivise ecosystem-research and how to make it more sexy.

— — -

Ps1: here are to videos you might want to watch: This video explains one of the projects by Semilla more into detail: The circular Brewery. The 2nd video is longer and even more in depth. It’s all about the Melissa project

Ps2: You want to have more resources about the AMI-project? No problem: Here’s a Tedxtalk by Alex Van Tuyll, and here is me doing an introduction to a workshop in New York. And this is the link to the White Paper the AMI-team wrote.

Season 1 Interviews:

#103 — Ayşegül Sırakaya answers Zjef’s questions about international law around restoration and use of natural resources
#102 — Radu M. Giurgiu answers Zjef’s questions about high tech ecosystem farming

#101 Simon Ghiotto beantwoordt Zjefs vragen over de politiek — Ik vraag dus ik ben

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I ask therefore I am (IATIA) investigates the philosophies that are at the foundations of our civilisation, starting there IATIA builds solutions to complex problems.



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Zjef Van Acker

Writer, podcast-host & applied philosopher. Manifesting ideas and strategies for a global ecosystem society!