With consumption ever increasing and our climate continuing to change, growing crops all year round to satisfy demand is becoming challenging. However, following months of research and preparation, a new farming technique has been designed which is eco-friendly and pesticide free – and underground.
‘Growing Underground’ utilises former bomb shelters in London which are 120 feet under the surface and formerly able to space up to 8,000 people! Farming at this depth provides insulation, enabling the vegetables and crops to be grown all year round. Not only is this setting an example of reusing neglected spaces, but it is demonstrating how the future of farming can be sustainable. By using hydroponics and a looped irrigation system, the creators claim they use 70 percent less water than traditional farming and of course no land is needed.
The urban farming found in Clapham, London isn’t the first of its kind however, with previous tests done by GrowUp which used a shipping container on an east-London rooftop. Interest in hydroponic growing is also increasing around the world. Japan houses the word’s largest indoor farm which produces 10,000 heads of lettuce every day! ‘FarmedHere’ also has a 90,000 square feet facility in Chicago which uses aquaponics to produce organic goods.
So is this the future of farming? Yes and no. Supporters of urban farming believe it will be a complimentary method rather than the alternative. Although it is eco-friendly and sustainable, there are still limitations including the space size available and its cost. The space needed to meet demand would be vast and unfortunately London lacks flat rooftops unlike places in New York for example. Also for the protein conscious, animals will never be able to be farmed on a commercial scale (in London anyway) due to the space needed. Another limitation is also us. In a society that focuses heavily on health and the need for organic, will there be resistance to produce grown artificially and underground? If we are to truly help ensure our food source for generations to come, this is something we must overcome and embrace as soon as possible.