Picture the passionate players, with different backgrounds forming our multi-disciplinary ‘orchestra’ coming in, and make the performance called vertical farming possible: plant physiologists, pharmacists, botanists, horticultural engineers, software developers, mechanical engineers, and financial experts. Together with the expert players from our suppliers they make the difference in designing, building and operating indoor farms for various purposes.
The daily conducting of Seven Steps To Heaven lies with Lianne & Gertjan Meeuws and Marc Kreuger.
Below more about their backgrounds.
Lianne and Gertjan Meeuws
Lianne and Gertjan Meeuws are pioneers in the field of hydroponics, assimilation lights, robotics, LED lights and indoor farming.
In 1989 they started Buro Meeuws, a consultancy and research firm in horticulture. They have consulted with over 200 leading horticultural companies all over the world.
1990 – the birth of algorithms
In the 1990s they worked on a big data project, collecting millions of data over five years from 500 measuring fields from different crops and their habitats. The goal of the project was to develop and validate algorithms that help explain and predict the growth of plants; this resulted in the Plant Balance Model.
2005 – prototyping
In 2005 they co-initiated the first prototype of an indoor farm based on their mathematical insights, using sophisticated climate control and specific wavelengths of light.
2010 – entrepreneurship
In 2010 Gertjan and Lianne were co-founders of PlantLab, and Gertjan became CEO. When they left the company by the end of 2014, PlantLab had over 40 employees, a global exclusive collaboration with Syngenta, a new five-acre head office and R&D center in The Netherlands, and an office in Silicon Valley. In 2015 they co-founded Here, There & Everywhere, where they improved the climate control of indoor farms by introducing a laminar airflow system that allows precise and equal control of temperature and evaporation for crops. Today Seven Steps To Heaven applies controlled environment solutions in breeding, propagating, and growing. They support start-ups and existing companies in improving and accelerating their performances and are actively involved in creating new business opportunities and partnerships.
Stage performances of Gertjan
Gertjan has been a speaker about indoor farming on dozens of occasions, including:
Pinc-food (2010), Beijing Design Week (2011), Noord-Brabant Trade Mission in Wuxi, China (2012), TEDx Brainport (2012), Future of Vertical Farming, Washington (2012), Food Inspiration Days (2012), Dutch Design-Week Eindhoven (2013), The Food Summit at Stanford University, Silicon Valley (2013), Opening of PlantLab Research Center together with the Dutch King Willem Alexander (2014), University of Stellenbosch (2015), Design Indaba Capetown (2015), The Indoor Farming Event in Luanda, Angola (2016), Tomato Inspiration Event in Berlin during the Fruit Logistica (2017), ABN AMRO Prinsjesdag Ontbijt, The Hague (2017), TEDx Johannesburg (2018), Future Proof in Leiden (2018), Urban Future in Oslo (2019).
He contributed to hundreds of interviews for international magazines, newspapers, books, and documentaries such as ABC-News, BBC-Horizon, Discovery Channel, KLM Holland Herald, National Geographic and Singularity Hub.
Dr. Marc Kreuger
Dr. Marc Kreuger holds a PhD from the Agricultural University Wageningen, The Netherlands. Working at Syngenta for 26 years, he has lead many R&D projects in the fields of plant development, plant physiology, tissue culture, double haploids, seed technology, pathology and plant production. He held various management roles in R&D and Supply Chain. In 2010 his team won the Syngenta Award for the development, transfer and implementation of a revolutionary clonal propagation technology. In the same year he initiated the collaboration with Dutch based PlantLab, which specializes in indoor farming technology. This resulted in Syngenta’s largest external collaboration, which he led for several years. In this R&D program projects on basic science, plant physiology, accelerated breeding and plant production in a closed environment were conducted.
Beginning 2016 he became global head innovation, first at Here, There & Everywhere and today at Seven Steps To Heaven. In this role he lectured in Singapore (2016, Indoor Ag-Con Asia), China (2017, International Symposium on Environmental Control Technology in Value-added Plant Production), Japan (2017, Agro Innovation), Netherlands (2017, GFIA and Seeds Meets Technology).