Quantcast

Underground Farm: Michel Roux Jr. Reveals Plans to Supply London With Fresh Produce

Business

One hundred feet below the streets of London, a 2.5-acre farm will soon sell fresh veggies grown on a not-so-traditional farm.

Dubbing it a "food revolution" underneath your feet, Zero Carbon Food owners Richard Ballard and Steven Dring have teamed up with two-star Michelin chef Michel Roux Jr. to open their Growing Underground farm later this year. Located under the Northern Line near Clapham North tube station, the Growing Underground will offer leafy greens, micro-greens and herbs grown using LED lights and a hydroponics system.

“When I first met these guys I thought they were absolutely crazy,” said Roux, who operates Le Gavroche in London and has appeared on Hell's Kitchen and other shows.

“But when I visited the tunnels and sampled the delicious produce they are already growing down there I was blown away. The market for this produce is huge.”

The team has conducted trials for the last 18 months for the farm that will be carbon neutral, according to a news release. The 100 feet of Earth above the tunnels are expected to keep temperatures around 16 degrees centigrade all year while consuming minimal energy. The company would get any energy needs from green suppliers. Zero Carbon Food says its system uses about 70 percent less water than open-field farms.

"Integrating farming into the urban environment makes a huge amount of sense and we’re delighted that we’re going to make it a reality,” Ballard said.

Richard Ballard and Steven Dring are opening a subterranean farm beneath the streets of London. Photo credit: Zero Carbon Food/Flickr

Ballard and Dring will sell their produce to area markets, restaurants and wholesalers. One confirmed customer is the nearby New Covent Garden Market. The first Growing Underground produce will be available at restaurants and shops by late summer.

The first crops will include pea shoots, broccoli, garlic chives, mustard leaves, radish, coriander and Thai basil. Growing Underground will also grow and sell edible flowers and miniature vegetables. Stage-two crops will include heritage tomato varieties and mushrooms.

“There is no ‘could’, ‘might’ or ‘maybe’ about our underground farm," Ballard said. "We will be up and running and will be supplying produce later this year."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sea level rise causes water to spill over from the Lafayette River onto Llewellyn Av.e in Norfolk, Va. just after high tide on Aug. 5, 2017. This road floods often, even when there is no rain. Skyler Ballard / Chesapeake Bay Program

By Tim Radford

The Texan city of Houston is about to grow in unexpected ways, thanks to the rising tides. So will Dallas. Real estate agents in Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; and Las Vegas, Nevada could expect to do roaring business.

Read More
Malala Yousafzai (left) and Greta Thunberg (right) met in Oxford University Tuesday. Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0

What happens when a famous school striker meets a renowned campaigner for education rights?

Read More
Sponsored
A coal-fired power station blocks out a sunrise in the UK. sturti / E+ / Getty Images

According to a recent National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report, the last time carbon dioxide levels were this high was 3 million years ago "when temperature was 2°–3°C (3.6°–5.4°F) higher than during the pre-industrial era, and sea level was 15–25 meters (50–80 feet) higher than today."

Read More
Passengers arrive in Los Angeles from Asia on Feb. 2. MARK RALSTON / AFP via Getty Images

The spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, could cause "severe" disruption to daily life in the U.S., public health officials warned Tuesday.

Read More
A harbour seal on an ice floe in Glacier Bay, Alaska. A new study shows that the climate crisis has warmed waters, changing ecosystems and crippling sea ice growth. Janette Hill / robertharding / Getty Images Plus

The climate crisis is accelerating the rate of change in Alaska's marine ecosystem far faster than scientists had previously thought, causing possibly irreversible changes, according to new research, as Newsweek reported.

Read More