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Urban farming goes underground in London

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When you think of urban farming, what comes to mind? Vertical gardens, rooftop gardens, and transformed vacant lots? Sure. But a pair of entrepreneurs in London are hoping to take urban farming to unexpected depths.

Using underground air raid shelters from World War II, Richard Ballard and Steven Dring hope to transform the space into a unique 2.5 acre farm that would provide fresh produce to London restaurants and grocery stores.

The duo has been testing food production in the tunnel sites -- which are being leased from Transport for London -- for the last 18 months, according to BBC. And now they are turning the idea over to investors. Using Crowdcube, the team is looking to crowdfund nearly $500,000 to start their Growing Underground venture.

Of course, without access to the sun, they will rely on a hydroponic growing system with LED lights. 

And as World Architecture News reports, the tunnels actually provide a good environment for growing, year around:

Due to the site depth 100ft below street level, the tunnels enjoy a stable temperature of 16°C all year round, meaning that production can continue throughout the year and additional energy costs can be kept to a minimum. Any additional energy will be sourced from green suppliers.
If all goes according to plan, BBC reports, the project could reach full scale by March with the first produce reaching market by the end of the summer. 

[h/t Grist]

Photo: Facebook/Growing Underground

— By on February 4, 2014, 3:24 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk is a freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure