With the population of London set to grow by two million in the next decade and urbanites pushing out into surrounding rural areas, what is going to happen to London’s farmland? Richard Ballard and Steven Dring believe they have the answer to this question: underground farms, powered by hydroponic technology. The two have teamed up with Zero Carbon Foods and Michelin Chef Michel Roux Jr., to create what they believe to be the world’s first-ever underground farm.
The farm will be 2.5 acres under London’s North line, and is set to open for production in September, when it will be producing salad greens, mini vegetables, edible flowers and micro herbs. Right now, the green inventors are in the testing phases of the farming techniques. They are extremely passionate about their new invention, and anxious to raise enough money to operate their farm. They just started a crowd-funding site that launched at the end of January.
“This is the edge of what’s possible right now, it’s the future of growing,” Steven Dring told The Daily Meal. “We come from farm communities, and this is about a passion for food.”
Dring said that the technology serves as an ebb and flow system, where the water used to grow the plants ebbs away into a tank. The artificial sunlight is created from state-of-the-art LEDs from Finland.
So the question on everyone’s mind is, how do underground veggies taste? Critic Samuel Muston from The Independent got to taste the veggies and said, “I suppose I was expecting them to look a little green about the gills, a little sickly. Yet here they are in front of me, plum and meaty.”