An Underground Farm in an Old Bomb Shelter

A World War II bomb shelter 100 feet below the streets London once had room to protect 8,000 people. Now it’s a farm! Last year, we told you about the plans to open an underground vegetable farm called Growing Underground, where leafy greens are grown under LEDs. Now the project is reality.  

Crops will be grown in a sealed clean-room environment with a bespoke ventilation system, advanced LED lighting and a sophisticated irrigation system that enable the farm to produce crops with very little energy.

The farm’s mission is to deliver fresh produce with zero effect on the environment and all energy is sourced from green suppliers.

The farm says its advanced systems mean crops can be grown year-round in a perfect, pesticide-free environment because there is no risk of pests or disease.

“Because we have total control over their environment, each tiny leaf tastes as amazing as the last and because they are unaffected by the weather and seasonal changes, we can reduce the need to import crops and drastically reduce the food miles for retailers and consumers.”

Growing Underground is expected to deliver pea shoots, radishes, coriander, celery, parsley, and other vegetables sometime in July. Read more about the project in two articles at Farmer’s Weekly. -via Boing Boing

(Image credit: Growing Underground)

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Hmm... I'd say it's an ideal spot for growing mushrooms. But for most anything else, you can get all the same advantages growing inside a greenhouse on the surface. And a greenhouse will cost a fraction as much as solar panels + LEDs. It might be a good idea for Iceland, where there's lots of cheap electricity and insufficient sunlight, or Canada if you could work out a deal for off-peak and interruptible electric supplies from the grid, but proximity to US Ag giants would undermine that. And even there, it would probably be built above-ground.

I can certainly see some future potential... Plants are very inefficient at converting sunlight. When PV panels get very cheap and very efficient, it might become cost effective to cover fields with solar panels, and direct a small fraction of the output to green LEDs under them, shining down on the field of crops, but that seems quite a long ways off.
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"No risk of pests or disease"? I should think there's considerable risk, and they probably have biosecurity measures in place. It'd not be hard for a greenfly to find its way in in your hair, for example.
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