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Reintroducing the business end of Dave Gulliver to the hydro show circuit was always going to set hearts aflutter. With his boudoir of beautifully crafted objet, his pin-perfect finery, and his crackling-log-warm-welcome it really is a fondue-smooth affair when AutoPot’s International Accounts Manager romps into town. So why not double down, we thought, and pair Dave up with Jono Smith, our U.K. North Rep., for a liberal dash of liberal expo-rama at Mary Jane 2021 – in that most liberal of cities; Berlin.

Above: Budbox tents on the AutoPot stand loaded with goodies

Notwithstanding the draw of the AutoPot stand, expectations for the show were, understandably, rather measured. How busy was it expected to be? Not very. How busy was it? Exceptionally so! All suggestive that the frustrations of the past eighteen months weren’t a ‘dying of the light’ – but rather a true indication of people’s innate desire to get together around common interests. And what better interest than plants in all their fantastically varied, aeon-evolved, potentially life-changing glory! Testament to the inspiring nature of nature were the wide range of cannabis cultivation projects we discussed with visitors to the show.

Above: Up, and down. Whatever your directional persuasion, Berlin and MJ have something for you!

Highlights included plans for licensed commercial production in Greece and Lithuania, a customary buzz of excitement from South African quarters, and (naturlich!) a merry ole business-boosting rumpus with the German retail contingent. Interest was not limited to cannabis cultivation though. We had a tranche of enquiries from retailers in all manner of sectors each interested in installing irrigation systems for plants within their stores. 

German retail giant REWE recently opened their ‘Green Farming pilot store in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim – the first supermarket with a rooftop greenhouse in Europe’. A massive 800,000 basil plants a year are produced by their bespoke integrated aquaponic set up, with around one tonne of fish per month to boot/sell. This ‘self-producing supermarket’ promises to redefine how shops work.

Above: The MJ faithful and throngs of newcomers were out and about over the course of the show

Small wonder then that the attention of other retailers is turning to potential methods of sustainable future food production – such as those on show at MJ Berlin. If the stores enquiring on our stand weren’t growing for food they were often in search of self-watering living displays, keenly aware that an organic aesthetic is increasingly popular with customers. It’s a great and humbling vindication for hydroponics that serious mainstream attention is now upon the industry. Speaking of food and beautiful environs, who’s for dinner?

Above: A busy show makes downtime a sweet relief for Jono and Dave, fortunately in Berlin beer is redily available

Dim sum and dumplings! What more apt cuisine for our two esteemed (and esteamed?) colleagues after a long, hard, show-circuit reboot? We must sincerely thank our dinner hosts, Mills for doing with Michelin starred cuisine what we normally do with KitKats; ie. feeding Dave and Jono. Proof if proof were needed that Mills pays the bills. Likewise Bloom & Grow Ireland, who took the boys out in style; sparkling company, superb food, a robustly enjoyable evening! We look forward to repaying the favour.

Berlin was proof if proof were needed that there are some things you just cannot do online (not just the dinner). The boys verdict was that it was excellent to be back in the centre of things, generating real, palpable buzz about the brand and nailing some exciting deals. They don’t want the magic to stop there, you probably don’t want the magic to stop there, and we’ve got a newsletter to sustain. So let’s look forward to Dave’s upcoming, triumphant transatlantic travelling trajectory towards Toronto. See him at Lift 2021!

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