A hundred feet below London, there lies a series of nearly forgotten tunnels and bunkers that sheltered the city’s citizens during WWII air raids. Now, some of these tunnels are about to find new life – as a subterranean farm called “Growing Underground.”
The farm was created by English entrepreneurs and chef Michel Roux, Jr. The trio completed a successful crowdfunding effort and set about setting up a lighting and irrigation system. Now, the farm is nearly ready to begin commercial supply later in July. The farm will sell pea shoots, radish, mustard, coriander and other crops.
Co-founder Richard Ballard says that after 18 months of research, development and growing crops, they’re excited to begin selling the fruits of their labors. And Roux says he will be putting the ingredients to use in his restaurant.
“It’s great to be involved in this ambitious project, for which we have equally ambitious growth plans,” he says. “Above all, it’s fantastic to be able to source produce that is so fresh in the heart of Britain’s largest city.”
London Mayer Boris Johnson applauds the effort as one of many innovative London startups.
“I wish Growing Underground every success,” he says. “This is a fine example of the dynamic startups that are helping London lead the world in green business innovation.”
The crops are grown in a sealed, clean-room setting. State-of-the-art lighting, irrigation and ventilation allows for minimized energy costs to produce the crops. The bomb shelters, which once protected Londoners, can now help nourish them.