The underground farm is being constructed in an abandoned bomb shelter which was purchased thanks to a crowd-funding campaign that raised over £1 million for the project.
“Our method uses virtually no food miles and no pesticides giving you a longer shelf life, year-round availability and consistent pricing while delivering punchy, innovative flavors,” Ballard said.
Once the location was secured, the team hired horticulturalist Chris Nelson to help them design the system so it could be suitable for this type of project.
According to the group’s website, they have already started by growing mizuna, broccoli, red vein sorrel, pea shoots, rocket, garlic, chives and mustard leaf. Once the space is expanded they plan to have a full farm complete with fruits and vegetables.
Ballard says that the current methods of industrialized farming are not sustainable, and that other solutions are necessary.
“From the depletion of oil and water to agricultural run-off, it just isn’t future-proof. We are going to run out of oil, so society and the way we grow our food need to change. We wanted to make use of redundant spaces, to grow near our market and save on distribution costs. Bringing growing to the city makes it more sustainable in all sorts of ways,” Ballard said.
While an underground farm sounds counter-intuitive, the heavily controlled environment allows for perfect growing conditions around the clock, so long as everything is set up properly. The group will be using a system of LED lights and water systems and plan on keeping the area at a perfect temperature for growing.
“We can control precisely how much water, light and nutrients the crops get, meaning they’re not only perfectly healthy, but also taste utterly divine – the perfect boost to any salad or sandwich or meal,” the Growing Underground website says.
The farm should be fully operational by 2015, and they have already made arrangements to supply local stores.
John Vibes writes for True Activist and is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war.