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BUSINESS - INTERVIEW

Interview with Simon Lockrey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Glowpear, about Urban Farming Solutions

Living in the city does not mean you can not grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs at home. Glowpear designed innovative planters to make urban farming both more stylish and environmentally friendly. I contacted Simon Lockrey for getting more information about Glowpear planters.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Simon Lockrey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Glowpear

Simon Lockrey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Glowpear

BUSINESS - INTERVIEW

by Beren Dere

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Making a salad or a meal with your own grown-up plant is a very healthy way of life. But every good thing has different challenges. Growing vegetables, fruits or herbs at home is great, but when you are away from your home, how will you water your plants? In 2012, Simon Lockrey, Lloyd Fenn, Nathan Pollock, and Joel Anderson came up with an integrated self-watering idea and established Melbourne based Glowpear. They have been offering contemporary designed and functional planters to urban farmers for 6 years. I talked to Simon Lockrey, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Glowpear, about their idea and Glowpear products.

Before start to talking about Glowpear products, please tell us about your team, backgrounds and agricultural/design experiences. How did your team interested in Urban Farming?

I am one of four partners that started Glowpear, a collaboration that brings together some of Australia’s best young designers, including Red Dot Design Award winners Nathan Pollock and Lloyd Fenn of Katapult Design, M&A specialist Joel Anderson for some business nouse, and my Red Dot Design Award-winning design and sustainability background. Living in Melbourne’s inner suburbs, we understood the urban gardening movement better than most. We were inspired to develop a product called the Glowpear Urban Garden after our own attempts to grow produce in inner city Melbourne highlighted the lack of user-friendly products designed for aspiring gardeners living in medium to high-density environments.

Glowpear Urban Garden

Glowpear Urban Garden

How did Glowpear was born? Could you tell us about Glowpear story?

One glance it’s evident Glowpear products were designed to be seen. With a contemporary design aesthetic, clean lines, and build quality, our design set them well apart from competitors in a market still dominated by tired pots and planters that were designed in a world that predates the modern apartment. Our solution to this was to create a modular system that can be tailored to suit any space. Best of all, we’ve made sure you'll never have to worry about forgetting to water your plants again, because every Urban Garden comes with its own integrated self-watering system to ensure your plants thrive, regardless of your busy lifestyle.

While in the designing process, what did you plan to change in its users' life with the Glowpear idea? What do you thinking now, did you achieve your goal?

Our planters don't have the luxury of hiding their garden down the back of the yard. In a small space, your garden is constantly on the show so aesthetics were an important consideration in the design process. An iconic, contemporary design aesthetic, functional features, and durable construction make Glowpears are therefore perfect for balconies, courtyards, decks, and patios, while clever design features ensure they are ready for use on any surface, indoor or out.

Glowpear Mini Rail

Glowpear Mini Rail

Which features of your planters makes Glowpear brand different from your competitors?

Glowpears can go places and function like no other planters have before! Our planters use less water than traditional planters because of capillary action watering which reduces evaporation and provides plants with the water they require, when they need it. Glowpears can be filled conventionally through the soil or directly into the water reservoir via a fill point, which also acts as a barrier preventing insect infestation of the water encapsulated in the planter. See below for other amazing product features for each model.

How many different planters do you offer to Urban Farmers?

We offer the Glowpear Urban Garden, Mini Bench, Mini Wall, Mini Rail, and Cafe Planter.

Could you briefly tell us your planters one by one? How can we decide which one is right for us?

Glowpear Urban Garden

Glowpear Urban Garden

Glowpear Urban Garden - A modern classic, the Urban Garden gives you the space to grow your own veggie crops or flowers, but it’s still compact enough to fit into the smallest apartment balcony or living room. Like all Glowpear planters, the Urban Garden is modular, so you can add multiple units together - giving you a bigger plot to play with.

Integrated self-watering system. Just top up the reservoir and your plants will take the water they need, when they need it. Simple.

Water level indicator. So you can see if you need to water at a glance.

Sturdy, considered construction. The Urban Garden is made of injection-moulded HDPE, which is UV and corrosion resistant, BPA-free, food safe and recyclable.

Clip-on drip tray. This means you can even use it inside, without worrying about spills.

Raised design. That means you can pick, prune and water your garden without having to bend over.

Connector hoses. Allows Glowpear units to be ‘plugged in’ to each other, for easily integrated watering.

In or out. Like all our planters, the Mini Bench is just at home inside your home as it is on your balcony or deck.

Glowpear Mini Bench

Glowpear Mini Bench

Mini Bench - No outdoors, no problem. Growing your own goodies is possible, even if you only have a window sill or benchtop. With the Mini Bench, you can grow all sorts of fresh produce in whatever corner you have to spare. These little guys are especially great for herbs you can pick as needed in the kitchen.

With the integrated self-watering system, sturdy construction, connector hoses, and In or out features.

Glowpear Mini Wall

Glowpear Mini Wall

Mini Wall - Tights spaces... we love 'em. Love the idea of a garden, but seriously short on space? Then the Mini Wall planter is made for you. Don’t let its small size fool you; the Mini Wall is big on versatility - enabling you to cultivate flowers, herbs and even veggies on whatever wall you have to spare.

The versatile vertical. With its simple wall mounts, Mini Wall can be attached in any configuration to pretty much any wall. Any overflow from the higher units will be captured by the lower ones, so there’s no waste.

Engineered so you can grow your own. With generous soil depth and volume, the Mini Wall has been carefully designed to optimise growing conditions for fruit, vegetables, and herbs.

With the integrated self-watering system, water level indicator, sturdy construction, and connector hoses features.

Glowpear Mini Rail

Glowpear Mini Rail

Mini Rail - Your balcony's new best friend. Who needs floor or wall space when you have a balcony rail? With the Mini Rail, you can easily transform any railing into a flourishing garden – simple. Like all the Minis, the Mini Rail units can be connected together, and they’ve been designed for home-grown produce. There’s more to these guys than decoration!

Smart use of space. With its clever bracket system, the Mini Rail allows you to make the most of any balustrade, fence, handrail or balcony - spaces that are typically underutilised. Handy especially if you need a temporary solution, or don’t have extra space to spare.

With the integrated self-watering system, water level indicator, sturdy construction, and connector hoses features.

Glowpear Cafe Planter

Glowpear Cafe Planter

Cafe Planter - More mobile goodness. Made with beautiful Accoya Pine, the Café Planter has all the advantages of Glowpear’s classic Urban Garden, but on a larger scale - plus it’s portable. Move it in response to different weather conditions, changing plant requirements, or if you just feel like a change. As its name suggests, it’s ideally suited to commercial environments where a mobile solution is required, like cafes, restaurants, and stores. It even makes a great room divider.

With the integrated self-watering system, water level indicator, sturdy construction, and connector hoses features. And additionally Mobile and secure; It’s easy to wheel around, and securely stays in position. Move it to take advantage of a sunny aspect, or wheel indoors at night – whatever you and your plants prefer. And raised design; That means you can pick, prune and water your garden without having to bend over.

Where and why we have to use Grow Light? What are the advantages of this light?

Grow lights are really beneficial if indoors is the only option to grow plants in your urban environment. We recommend using grow lights for Glowpears, particularly with herbs and vegetables grown indoors that need substantial light to flourish.

Glowpear Mini Rail

Glowpear Mini Rail

Are Glowpear planters suitable for all type of seeds and plants? What type of substrates can we use in Glowpear planters?

Seeds and seedlings flourish in Glowpears. We designed them for sufficient planting volume to ensure that even large vegetables can be grown with ease. They're also economical. For instance, if a family purchased our Urban Garden and seedlings as an alternative to buying a bunch of supermarket herbs each week they would pay back the investment well before the first year is out, with the added benefit of growing their own fresh organic produce at home. Our modular self-watering planters are specifically designed for growing a wide range of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers in the urban environment.

Do you have any new planter designs on the drawing table? What type of solutions should we wait?

We are currently working on some more substantial cor-ten version of the urban garden, and a couple of interesting accessories for urban gardeners to use with our current range.

Glowpear Mini Wall

Glowpear Mini Wall

How could Urban Farming affect our lives in the near future?

It’s no secret that Australia is quickly becoming more urbanised. Australia is currently undergoing a boom in apartment living - unit approvals as a proportion of all construction activity have risen from 25 percent five years ago to over 40 percent currently. People want to be where the action is. Urban gardeners are generally challenged for both space and time so we wanted to create a solution that was compact enough to work within the constraints of any urban space, and simple enough to cater to an increasingly time-poor inner city lifestyle. Glowpears do just that, and these needs will only increase as more people move to cities, yet want a green lifestyle.

Social media has become part of our lives and it affects users decisions. How do you use social media for Glowpear planters? How can our readers follow Glowpear?

At Glowpear we have active conversations with our community on social, check us out at the handle @glowpearco on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, or hashtag us at #glowpear!

Glowpear planters are well designed for urban usage. How can our readers buy Glowpear planters?

www.glowpear.com or www.glowpear.com.au

What is next for Glowpear?

We will continue to build the urban jungle!

Anything you would like to add that I haven’t asked?

Farmers don’t look like they used to. With Glowpear anyone can grow their own organic fresh produce and bring their urban space to life!

Thank you Simon for this informative interview.

For more information, please visit website of Glowpear





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