What's In My Portfolio: Mathew Howe

Photos courtesy of Grobrix
30 Jan 2024

Mathew Howe is the Founder & Designer of Grobrix

“It all started with pesto. My daughters loved eating pesto pasta so I was buying loads of basil from the supermarket that had travelled miles to get there, were less than fresh, covered in chemicals, and packed in single use plastics. I knew there had to be a better way, so I started growing it. Hence, Grobrix, a homegrown urban farming company, was born.

Grobrix started as a hobby, evolving from scribbles on the back of an envelope to a fully developed concept using design software and 3D printers. Taking a bold step, I bid farewell to a fifteen-year banking career, raised capital, and brought the idea to market. It was a creative itch I had to scratch.

I led the design and development, introducing the world's first patented modular edible green wall that cultivates leafy greens, fresh herbs, and more. Our vision extends to a future where urban communities foster a closer connection to their food sources. We advocate for urban farming as a lifestyle endeavor, aiming to nourish the body, nurture the mind, and uplift the soul. This vision initiated a movement, and we now build farming communities across Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

(Related: Innovation Journeys - Urban Farming in Singapore) 

I am most proud of how Grobrix has evolved from serving homes to delivering sustainability, wellbeing, and community-building solutions to enterprises. A significant accomplishment is our successful integration into office spaces, where we worked with companies to incorporate Grobrix walls as part of their workplace wellness strategy to enhance employee engagement. Our walls have not only raised awareness on sustainability and healthier living, but has sparked conversations among employees, fostering new connections within the workplace.

The impact becomes particularly meaningful when observing how individuals are affected. From education on sustainability, understanding the intricacies of food supply, learning to grow and care for edibles, and ultimately enjoying the produce on their tables, this journey provides a tangible experience of the traditional agricultural lifecycle, fostering a deeper appreciation for the food we consume.

Looking ahead, our ambitious plans include tripling our lifestyle farming footprint by 2025. Recent developments include the arrival of the first Grobrix units in North America, undergoing trials with Green City Growers in Boston, renowned for managing the Urban Farm on the roof of Fenway Park. Our international expansion continues this year, coupled with an exciting product pipeline encompassing both hardware and software.”