The face of agriculture is rapidly changing around the world as urban spaces are being transformed to grow greens. It’s true that there are economic benefits associated with urban farming as dollars circulate through the local community, but the true value in urban farming centers on food quality and health. The existence of farms in urban spaces will mean greater access to fresh and local foods as produce will not have to travel far distances to get from farm to plate. Let’s take a look at organizations in 3 cities across the world that are transforming urban spaces and bringing on the food revolution.
Zero Carbon Food in London, United Kingdom
The tunnels under London that served as safe havens during World War II are now being repurposed into underground farms. Zero Carbon Food has descended 100ft underground to develop an expansive system for growing salad leaves and herbs. The two founders, Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, have opted for a hydroponic growing system in their underground farm and keep a keen eye on the temperature, light, and nutrition – all equally important parts of growing healthy and delicious hydroponic greens. Dring and Ballard are set on creating a hi-tech farm that cuts down on the food miles bringing food from harvest to plate and improve freshness. Chefs are taking notice as restaurants are eagerly waiting for fresh local produce to populate their menus. They’re currently serving up eight different microgreens including celery, mustard, radish, and coriander.
Tokyo Salad in Tokyo, Japan
You will find more under Tokyo than an intricate conglomeration of subway lines. Tokyo Salad is the underground farm operated by Tokyo Metro after an employee suggested underground farming as a way to repurpose the space underneath the train tracks. This subterranean urban garden currently grows six kinds of lettuce and four kinds of baby leaf. Without the traditional methods of growing that uses soil or sunlight, these greens are grown with artificial sunlight and employ hydroponic technology by having plants float in nutrient-rich water. These plants are pesticide-free and Tokyo Metro even reports that “You can eat the vegetables without rinsing them, and they will keep for an extended period.”
Edenworks in New York, United States
Edenworks brings hi-tech to urban growing in their rooftop farm in Brooklyn. Located on top of a metalworking shop, the team works tirelessly to bring fresh and locally grown greens to restaurants in the area. The entire ecosystem uses the concept of vertical farming so plants are stacked high on inclined surfaces throughout the space. By using an aquaponic system for greens and herbs, Edenworks remains soil-free and plants take their nutrients from fish manure. Wastewater from the fish travels through a system where bacteria are allowed to convert it into plant food for the farm. Along with their aquaponic system, the rooftop garden uses sensors to capture environmental conditions and water chemistry and uploads it to a large database of information about gardening. The “Farm Management System”, as they like to call it, learns from human farming data and runs algorithms to present the farmer with a daily task list in order to predict and suggest the best growing practices.
Be a part of this food revolution by attending the next community garden event in your area or learning more about one of the many indoor gardens to grow your own fresh greens.