GardenDrumGrowing vegetables underground

Growing Underground's red-veined sorrell

Do you fancy eating herbs and microgreens that have never seen the light of day? With land becoming scarce, more fresh produce is being grown underground.

Companies like Growing Underground are finding sites such a disused air-raid shelter and tunnels buried 33m (108ft) below Clapham in south-west London to grow a range of leafy greens for the local market.

Using pink LED lights and hydroponic techniques, the pest and disease-free – and therefore pesticide-free environment produces leafy greens that are unaffected by the vagaries of the weather or future climate change, and reduces food miles transport costs by delivering them to local wholesalers and restaurants.

The closed-loop system means there’s no nutrient run-off into local waterways and the hydroponics system uses 70% less water than conventional above ground farms. Because of the depth underground, the tunnels are a constant 16ºC (61ºF) all year round, so there’s no need for heating, cooling or seasonal down time.

The underground farmers also contend that by getting the light mix exactly right, they can produce plants with perfect taste as well.

You can learn more about this fascinating new type of horticulture by watching this Crowd Cube funding pitch from Growing Underground

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