Monday, July 6, 2015

First Underground Urban Farm

It’s proving to be a week of green firsts for London. Yesterday, the capital announced that it will be trialing the world’s first purpose-built, solely electric double-decker bus later this year. Now, entrepreneurs are happy to boast that the city’s underground farm, the only one in existence of course, is about to start trading.
Located 33 meters (108 feet) beneath the Clapham area, the farm – called Growing Underground – consists of a sealed room fitted with sophisticated hydroponic systems, which allow the growth of plants without soil, a customized ventilation system and low-energy LEDs for lighting. Because the irrigation system is closed-loop, whereby the 18 cubic meters of nutrient-rich water necessary for crop growth are recycled on site, the company claims to require 70% less water than traditional open-field farming. Furthermore, this has the added benefit of zero run-off, which can cause problems for ecosystems surrounding farmland.
There are a whole host of other benefits to this style of farming, too: The crops are not subjected to unpredictable weather, there are no seasons so production can continue year-round, and the complete lack of pests and weeds means the plants don’t need to be drenched in chemicals. And by supplying to local buyers, the produce doesn’t need to travel far, slashing food miles and therefore further energy demands. Ultimately, the company hopes to become carbon neutral.


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