I am a 22 year old graduate from Amsterdam University College, and I interned at Mediamatic as an Aquaponics assistant from January to August 2021. Working here was an incredible experience, I was able to pursue my personal interests in a commercial environment hence it did not really feel like work. I learnt a tremendous amount about aquaponics from all aspects:
Technical: Repairing and improving the green house gave me opportunities to learn about plumbing, electrical work, PVC, welding, woodworking, cutting glass, conducting chemical analysis of the water, adjusting nutrient levels in the water... just to name a few.
Gastronomic: As an aquaponics assistant I worked closely with the chef to understand what he wanted from the edible flowers, herbs, spices and vegetables that we grow. It was nice to show the chef our unique collection of plants we grow, some he had not even worked with before! and it was equally fascinating to learn about cooking with these ingredients. I also had numerous opportunities to be in the kitchen as well either cooking staff lunches, testing recipes using our produce, or even cooking for guests!
Organisational skills: As an aquaponics assistant I had the opportunity to design various installations, repairs and features to the greenhouse. This also entailed procuring materials. With these jobs came a lot of responsibility such as finding reliable and ethical suppliers, making and presenting project proposals all whilst adhering to the agreed upon time schedule. Taking on these responsibilities allowed me to learn about confident communication and presentation of ideas. I learnt to research and negotiate time and price with suppliers and make the necessary decisions to finish a project in time.
Botanical Skills: I learnt about a huge variety of edible plants and flowers, Mediamatic's garden's host an incredible variety of species. Working alongside Simone Brus, the gardening consultant was extremely educational especially when it came to starting and caring for exotic plants. Nowhere else in Amsterdam can I think of a place where on can learn and practice growing Wasabi, Karela, Nasturtiums, trees, begonias and chilli peppers at the same time.
It was an amazing experience and I am looking forward to return to Mediamatic to collaborate on gastronomic projects in the future and also see all the progress the new aquaponics interns will have made!