Project by: Belatchew Arkitekter Labs
Challenge: How can we reconnect British consumers with local products while reducing food miles and waste?
Project description: Where once crops required light and soil, recent developments in horticulture and low energy lighting have opened up a whole new world of opportunities tunnels, 100 feet below Clapham Common, originally built as air raid shelters during WWII. In an age of climate change and population growth, Growing Underground challenges the need for the practice of flying food around the world, concluding that the quantity of food is not the issue, rather its proximity to its final destination’.
Their hydroponic system allows plants to be grown without soil but with the help of low-energy LED lights, using a fraction of the water of conventional crops. About twenty different types of herb including pea shoots, rocket, red mustard, pink stem radish, chives, fennel and coriander grow in a carefully controlled, pest-free environment, giving consistent quality, regardless of outdoor conditions. The plants are packaged up and sold to wholesalers and food services, as well as mainstream retailers such as M&S, Waitrose and Ocado.
Project phase: Complete
Location: London, disused underground tunnels