London Underground: The Future of Urban Farming?

Hydroponic Farm

An underground farm in Clapham North (33 metres under the street) could be the future of urban farming in London.

"It starts with that really big-picture stuff about growing populations. But, simply, what we're doing is creating a fresh produce brand,” co-founder Steven Dring told Foodism. "You start with all of that big stuff, and then you're saying, 'Can we feed people in a different way?', 'Can we grow food that doesn't have to travel?' Effectively, we take out seasonality, which means we don't have to fly stuff in from around the world — we can do it locally. You take out food miles because you can get it there quicker, and if it lasts in our customers' fridges two days longer, it starts to affect food waste, too.”

The 65,000 square foot hydroponic farm (a closed-loop system), known as Growing Underground, uses 70 percent less water than traditional open-field farming to grow sustainable herbs, micro greens, and salad leaves year-round. The lack of sun isn’t a problem thanks to LED lights that can be used for growing in controlled environments.

The operators have total control over the growing environment, which is free of pesticides and unaffected by weather and seasonal changes – and take pride in the fact that their crops can be fresh in commercial kitchens within 4 hours of being picked and packaged. Read more