A new urban farming initiative has cropped up 100 feet below south London.
A London-based company called Zero Carbon Food is taking advantage of abandoned air raid shelters used during World War II with Growing Underground, a project which grows micro greens and herbs in a 2.5-acre sustainable farm 100 feet underneath south London.
Growing Underground prides itself on being carbon neutral. The prime location directly underneath the streets of Clapham has reduced the energy wasted by transporting produce; rather than using imported crops that have traveled miles to reach retailers and consumers, the people of London can receive food grown just under their feet and transported within four hours via electric vehicle. The farm runs on hydroponic systems and LED technology in a method that uses 70 percent less water and is three times more efficient than the techniques used in commercial agriculture. The filtered tunnels of the air raid shelters provide for a controlled weather environment that remains 16°C year-round, eliminating the need for crop imports and pesticide use.
There are still 44 days left on Growing Underground’s Crowdcube fundraiser, but the company is already growing herbs and shoots such as radish, mustard leaf, and red vein sorrel for wholesale and local restaurants. The first produce is expected to be on the retail market by late summer.
Photo by Growing Underground.