A project that is causing quite a stir around our capital city at the moment is the Underground Farm.
Headed up by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, the two West Country entrepreneurs have teamed up with Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Jr to create a working farm in an extensive tunnel network beneath London’s Northern Line.
The subterranean farm, which will start trading later this year, will produce a range of micro-herbs, shoots, miniature vegetables and other delicacies that will be sold to restaurants, supermarkets and wholesalers. The underground tunnels will provide 2.5 acres of growing space beneath the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station.
To finance the project a crowdfunding campaign has been launched, giving investors of all sizes the chance to buy a stake in the project from as little as £10.
Specially designed structures to house the growing platforms are currently being constructed, whilst growing trials have been conducted over the last 18 months in the tunnels and are still underway.
The farm will be carbon neutral. Special low energy LED bulbs and an integrated hydroponics system are used, and any energy needs will be extracted from green suppliers. The proximity of the tunnels to New Covent Garden market and London’s many restaurants will keep food miles to a minimum, and special filters keep the air in the tunnels free of pests, will also eliminate the need for pesticides.
Full scale work on the farm will commence in March and the first ‘Growing Underground’ produce will hit restaurants and shops by late summer this year. Initial crops will include a range of exotic herbs and shoots, including Pea Shoots, Rocket, Red Amaranth, Mizuna, Broccoli, Garlic Chives, Red Vein Sorrel, Mustard Leaf, Radish, Coriander and Thai Basil. Edible flowers and miniature vegetables will also be grown. Stage two crops will include heritage tomato
varieties, and mushrooms.
We cannot wait to try the produce!
The crowdfunding campaign, complete with a video that shows the tunnels, is at http://www.crowdcube.com/investment/zero-carbon-food-13724