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The Future of Our Food
Growing Underground and Underwater

PART TWO Subterranean Farming

October 16, 2017

The Future of Our Food
Growing Underground and Underwater

Continuing from last week’s blog, I’m writing about future food sources and specifically a business called Growing Underground. Firstly to get you in the groove, can you remember the song ‘Going Underground’ by British band ‘The Jam’ from the 80’s? If so, you can hum that whilst you read this!

Far beneath the urban streets of London lies a future food business, bringing food production back to the city. Fresh salad greens and herbs flourish under lights in a network of forgotten wartime tunnels. These plants thrive in a controlled environment without interference from the English weather, a pesticide-free hydroponic system ensures each tiny leaf tastes amazing.

Peas, coriander, wasabi mustards, garlic chives and rocket are blooming 33 metres below Clapham High Street. The business has not been designed to replace farming, but to compliment it. The usual kilometres travelled by fresh salad to get from farm to plate is huge. These boys are closing the gap for London cafes restaurants and markets to supply and feed customers with ‘local’ produce.

Food used to be grown within cities, London’s street names are a dead giveaway. For example Saffron Hill. Yes, the world’s most expensive spice was grown in London in the 13th Century!

Even Perth’s market gardens over a few short years have been sold to appease our appetite for urban domestic sprawl creating many kilometres between us and our fresh food supplies.

Richard Ballard and Steven Dring are co-founders of this unique subterranean farm. The foresight of these two surely will inspire others with ideas to take action.

Thanks to Collosal and BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards for images.

Growing Underground website.

BBC Radio 4 Food Programme Podcast is available here

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Meet the team

Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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