When thinking at the food resources future many people may feel worried, because statistics show a permanent growth of the human population. Yet, some innovative people are realizing that new times just need to come with new solutions, like transforming an abandoned WWII bunker into a subterranean farm. The idea belongs to Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, two innovative entrepreneurs that live in London.
The two childhood friends, who moved to London from the rural West Country of England, had many debates, in the past years, about future of oil, energy and food. They realized that if today agriculture contributes to a third of the total carbon emissions, in the future, with few extra millions of people on Earth, the environment will be affected more badly. They also concluded that in an already crowded city like London an agriculture that don’t use any carbon and has no dependence on fossil fuels might be the most suitable solution for the future. With this idea in mind in 2012 Richard and Steven decided to stop debating and get into real action. This is how Zero Carbon Food (ZCF) took birth.
Their first project is a subterranean farm spanning through a 2.5 acre tunnel network near Clapham North Tube station. The tunnels were used as air raid shelters during the World War II, then as temporary housing for the first large group of West Indian migrants that came to work in the United Kingdom after the war.
For the last 18 months the farm has been in test phases with expert horticulturalist Chris Nelson. Finally, the official launch was set for March, this year. The fresh veggies will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers under the brand Growing Underground.
How does it work?
Because the plants don’t have access to the sun at all, they will get the necessary amount of light with the help of LED lights and a hydroponics system. Also, thanks to some filters that will keep the air in the tunnels free of pests there will be no need to using pesticides.
Recently, Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr (of London’s Le Gavroche restaurant) also joined the company as a director being very confident in the subterranean farm’s future.
To accelerate the development of the project the team has also launched a crow-funding campaign on Crowdcube. Anyone can make a small contribution to such an ambitious project.
The idea of fresh veggies produced with a minimal carbon footprint makes the futures sounds more hopeful. Would you buy veggies produced in subterranean farm?