We’re loving this stunning 5-story apartment building in Turin, Italy. Designed by Luciano Pia, this amazing structure helps protect residents from air and noise pollution via 150 trees that absorb close to 200,000 litres of carbon dioxide an hour! Brings a whole new meaning…READ MORE
Check out this week’s New Scientist Magazine for a four page feature on the Growing Underground farm. The article discusses the future of farming using innovative green tech and LED lighting to produce food to combat the impending world wide food crisis and the…READ MORE
The tunnel is looking very Christmassy in this illustration by the wonderfully talented Jerina! 🙂 She created it from an original photo taken earlier in the year by our intern Jordan.
A very Merry Christmas to you all from the farmers at Growing Underground!…READ MORE
This week saw our first quarterly board meeting, it was great to catch up with the board all in one place too; Neil Sanderson MD at Florette, Ed Gillespie from Futerra, Michel Roux Jr and Chris Nelson our Horticultural Tech Consultant.
A lot of sweat went into preparing for it but it allREAD MORE
Mazda Magazine is not just for cars – we’re featured in a great article in a special collectors edition which focuses on green cities!
Earlier this year we blogged about an unusual photo shoot which involved Jordan our intern throwing micro greens all over Steve. Well, thankfully it all turned out to be legit and our underground farm was featured in a recent issue of the uber cool D2 magazine – stylishREAD MORE
If you go down to the Tube today…you will find Growing Underground featured on the new Crowdcube ad campaign! We raised near £600,000 of investment earlier this year on the crowdfunding site. The new campaign highlights our Zero Carbon Food pitch for the Growing READ MORE
Our underground farm has great a feature spread in the current issue of Business Punk Magazine which is a business lifestyle magazine in Germany
Australian 7 News coverage of our farm filmed last week has gone live! 🙂
Watch at: https://au.news.yahoo.com/video/watch/25417353/farms-sprout-in-the-underground/
Unusually warm weather + Clocks changing + Leaving work in the dark = Disorientated at GU! :/
We were pleased to have Lucy and Hannah visit from Lucy’s Dressings last month. We sampled some of the delicious salad dressings which were very tasty with our micro herbs! Check out where you can get hold of a bottle to transform your salad at
Sunday lunch with a difference this weekend with delicious salads at Ottolenghi Islington! (grilled salmon, celeriac, citrus & fennel with roasted cauliflower, caramelised onions and chargrilled peppers/ rosemary roast chicken with butternut squash, tahini, chickpeas and dressed green beans and mange tout) 🙂
Last night we were invited to the opening of the Sherlock Holmes exhibition at the Museum of London. Opened by Sir Ian McKellen this fascinating exhibition features memorabilia from author Conan Doyle and a time-transporting Victorian street! We met some fab people READ MORE
Congrats to our good friend Ben Mason for his launch of Proper Beans at Fortnum & Mason! We went along to his pop up stand and took away some delicious handmade bean combos in smoked pork and veggie options! (pictured here with Rich’s homemade kale, ginger & citrus juice)READ MORE
The first rule of Farmers Club is you do not talk about… lunch at The Farmers Club! The Farmers Club is a unique club for those involved in agriculture and farming. This week at the amazing residency in Whitehall we were made to feel very welcome by the lovely AnneREAD MORE
Finally we treated ourselves to lunch at the Michelin Star restaurant Zuberoa, where the lovely maître dee Rosa guided us through our meal with first class service in the matt black painted walls of the elegant establishment. Though often complex in ingredients and READ MORE
One day we ventured into the hills of stunning Lesaka to the restaurant Kasino, where friendly staff welcomed us into the beautiful garden terrace and where an old lady has been cooking multi-award-winning tortillas for years! With a starter of local deer pate and quince, she did not READ MORE
Last week myself (Richard) and my girlfriend Jerina took a long weekend in San Sebastian where we sampled some wonderful food (and thanks to Airbnb stayed right bang in the centre of the hustle and bustle of the old town!) On landing we threw down our suitcase and headed READ MORE
Today is our intern, Jordan’s last day at GU before he heads back to uni to finish his degree in Agri-food Marketing. It’s been awesome having him on the team and seeing one so young with such an in depth interest in food and food production. He will be very much missed,READ MORE
This week saw the Vertical Farming and Urban Agriculture Conference 2014. Just about every influential figure in the Vertical and Urban Farming industry worldwide descended on the University of Nottingham, delivering two days of fascinating lectures and presentations as well as READ MORE
This evening ITV’s ‘Tonight: The Food We Eat – Future Foods’ featured our underground farm. We think Steve explained the sustainable concept of the farm well and his head appears to have stopped wobbling every time he speaks on camera as in the early interviews!READ MORE
It seems everyone is a foodie at the Growing Underground farm! We all take turns in cooking up something hopefully delicious on a Friday lunchtime and today our intern Jordan rustled up his own creation of a mouthwatering creamy sausage and courgette fusilli carbonara!READ MORE
For lunch today Richard made a delicious Soto Ayam soup in the office with our very own Growing Underground micro coriander. This micro herb packs an aromatic lunch and is much more intense than it’s larger cousin that you will find in supermarkets. Perfect for this dish it wasREAD MORE
After a bit of a wet bank hol weekend we had an early start this morning for interviews with various members of the press. Along with us down at the tunnel along was Michel Roux Jr who made off with one of our GU mugs 😉
We love a hearty warm salad that is not just tasty but filling too – here’s one of Rich’s creations with a base of baby leaf spinach. Tossed in a pan were cubes of lardons in softened red onions. Meanwhile we boiled broad beans until cooked and then peeled them. Yes this takes a while but READ MORE
It’s been another hectic week on the farm and then to top it all off, one of our board of directors, Ed Gillespie of Futerra Sustainability Communications twisted our arms and made us go to the Great British Beer Festival at Olympia *sigh*
Now of course beer is made from hops – hops come from the hop plant – hop plants are grown on farms – and we have a farm – so obviously our attendance was purely in the name of research! Prince Harry was there too, so we also went…for our country? 😉
We got mugs!! A surprise present from the lovely guys at Decent Design! 🙂
Growing hydroponically and under specialised LED lights means there is something new to see every day down at the Growing Underground farm, right now our red mustard leaf and coriander are making for a very colourful bushy farm! So exciting to see the crops looking so bright and plentiful! 🙂
Here’s our farm featured in the quarterly Global Innovation Report of GDR Creative Intelligence who specialise in global retail trend forecasting 🙂 (erm yes that’s us above the ‘world changing condoms’!)
Earlier today our new outdoor sign was fitted on to the building (yes this is exciting for us!) And hopefully this will clarify why we’re here to the locals as opposed to; ‘those dodgy looking guys who keep hanging around that old building’! 😉
Great to have an article on our urban farm featured in this month’s issue of Vegetarian Living Magazine, which focuses on it’s sustainability and role in the future if our planet 🙂
Earlier this week we had the privilege of having super talented photographer Pete Muller down on the farm. The result was these awesome electrifying shots giving the tunnel a touch of the supernatural! via@petemuller99
Life continues to be busy down on the farm and we’ve all settled into the new office. We’re also delighted this week to have our underground farm ‘representing’ London in this short film by Monocle on urban farms from around the world! 🙂
New Farm Manager
You may have seen this guy’s face popping up lately on our Facebook, Twitter and blog pages. No he is not our love child, he is in fact our new Farm Manager – Gabriel de Franco! (a.k.a Gabe)
Gabe hails from Nicaragua complete with smooth accent (hence the title of this blog). This chap comes with a wealth of agricultural knowledge and expertise. With a MA in Horticulture & Industrial Engineering, he also brings experience from his own hydroponics business in Nicaragua combined with a previous role as an operations manager in the largest glasshouse in the UK. He understands growing not just from a scientific point of view but from a practical perspective as well.
Gabe has worked in Evesham in the West Midlands specialising in growing tomatoes and became quite the expert in the NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) style of growing. He still gets excited about growing tomatoes now, to the point where we think he may once have had an affair with one.
As enthusiastic and passionate about sustainable farming as we are, Gabe shares our ethos and conscience for business. However, although he describes this as a ‘Dream Job’ he is aware that entering an early stage business is not a piece of cake and that the challenges change daily. He has already advised us on tweaking the test area to make the farm work more efficiently which we have put into action and are already seeing improved results – all whilst helping out with a paint brush and an electric drill.
We’re really excited to have Gabe as part of the team and would like to formally welcome him to Growing Underground!
Admit it, you were scared last night. That was one pretty hefty thunder and lightning storm! Check out this amazing shot over London via @justinstokes_ (slightly different pic from yesterday’s blue sky one!)
We have to say it’s looking pretty damn gorgeous above ground today!
(although of course growing hydroponically under specialised LED lights allows for sustainable, optimum and constant growing conditions 😉 #geek)
These pics may look like an attempt at a ‘sexy’ Farm Calendar but they are actually our farm during its current crop test phases. Our farm is now under lab conditions as we focus on the ‘science bit’ stage of testing and recording different micro greens and lettuce in variant conditions including substrates, densities and the set up of our crop benches.
The aim is to obtain the optimum growing conditions for each individual crop and with the help of our new farm manager’s expertise, we are finding even just subtle tweaking here and there is sometimes enough to affect or increase a yield dramatically which is exciting to see!
You may or not know that last year Steve applied for and was delighted to be selected as a GLA London Leader. Last month he led a tour of our farm for international delegates of the Cities Summit. The tour explored a selection of green entrepreneurs and innovators taking part in the London Sustainable Development Commission’s London Leaders programme (yes a bit of a mouthful!)
Also included on the tour was the nearby Brixton estate which uses solar panel roofs and the rather beautiful Edible Bus Stop followed by the Cities Summit at hosted by Mayor Boris Johnson at City Hall (pics via @Citymart)
…So our new on-site office has arrived!! These past few weeks, in preparing the site for expansion there’s been hard graft, heavy lifting and metal splinters getting stuck in our beards or gently cascading off our bald heads. However in the process we have had such a positive response from the locals passing by which has been really lovely.
The office is all wired up now thanks to Darryl from Bert Electrics. We have all bagsied our work spaces, been putting up reclaimed IKEA furniture (aka reclaimed from our flats!), are taking turns in the kitchenette and even made the girlfriend cry when she saw photos of the new office! (yeah we’re not sure about her!)
We are thrilled though as it’s a bit of a milestone for us, it’s been two years of building the farm, creating ‘Growing Underground’ and working from office space in Brixton or from home until now. It’s great to see the business moving forward and to now have the ground work being done at, well, ground level which is making working on the farm so much more efficient and productive …but this is just the beginning! 🙂
Last night we were at another underground location in Clapham; the opening night of the pretty cool WC – Wine & Charcuterie which used to be an actual underground toilet! They’ve managed to get the atmosphere spot on by keeping the look of the 100yr old Victorian Water closet in the decor (without the smell of course!) and with some delicious food and wine! Very unique place, highly recommended!
No limp, lonely lettuce here – try our greedy salad! Baby spinach tossed with grilled bacon, chopped apple, cucumber, feta, beetroot, spring onions and toasted pine nuts in a balsamic, olive oil and lime dressing served with lots of black pepper – and a large free range scotch egg… yum!!