Want to work for GU?

Growing Underground is seeking a driver who is interested in sustainability and the food industry! The role will suit a reliable, consistent candidate who is looking to join a dynamic team and is interested in being part of a rapidly growing company. The driver will primarily runREAD MORE

Whole Foods launch

Woohoo we’re in Whole Foods! We’re super excited to be in the iconic store known for its commitment to sustainably produced produce (try saying that quickly!) You can find our salad mixes in Clapham, Kensington, Fulham, Camden, Piccadilly and Stoke Newington stores and will READ MORE

Food Matters Live 2017

Heads up! We’re excited here at Growing Underground to be exhibiting a living hydroponic farm at Food Matters Live 2017 for the 2nd year in a row! Food Matters Live is the UK’s fastest growing cross-sector event showcasing innovation in the food and drink industry, READ MORE

BBC Future Food Award

We won the BBC Future Food Award! Which was a bonus as our plus ones for the event were our mums! To be honest we were thrilled enough with being considered for nomination after receiving the phone call back in May from Sheila Dillon, The BBC Food ProgrammeREAD MORE

Marks and Spencer launch

Not just any old salad. Growing Underground for Marks and Spencer salad! Yes that’s right we are so chuffed to finally reveal that our salad mixes will be available to buy in Marks and Spencer stores around London as of today; Wednesday 6th September. We were approached READ MORE

Ocado Launch

A belated Happy New Year to you and Happy Birthday to us! 3 years ago, we launched with a few crops in an empty tunnel getting us referenced to Breaking Bad on more than a few occasions! Today marks another milestone for Growing Underground as we launch into Ocado READ MORE

Food Matters Live 2016

We shall be part of Food Matters Live 2016 next month at ExCel London! On our stand we will be showcasing a mini replica of our hydroponic farm. This exciting exhibition will see thousands of professionals from across the food and drink industry, nutrition and health sectors at the UK’s READ MORE

RHS Urban Garden Show

We’re very excited to announce that our cofounder Richard has been invited to give a talk at the first RHS London Urban Garden Show. The event will be held at the rather spectacular Lindley Hall and is the newest show by the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society).READ MORE

Disruptive Food Panel

Tomorrow (Tuesday 11th October) Olivia will be representing Growing Underground on the panel at Disruptive Food, an event which is part of the Lambeth Food Partnership Board AGM.

Lambeth is one of the most exciting food boroughs in London and will be using this eventREAD MORE

Unreasonable Impact 2016

Picture a ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ for entrepreneurs! We are thrilled to have been selected from just a handful of entrepreneurs to participate in Unreasonable Impact 2016! Unreasonable Impact have partnered with Barclays to deliver a vibrant R&D engineREAD MORE

Royal College of Art talk

Our co founder Richard will be giving a talk this week at the Royal College of Art (RCA). He will be addressing MA Design students along with Vinny from Biospheric Studio.

Richard will discuss where he sees role of technology in the future of food security in our READ MORE

The Progress 1000

We were a bit confused when we were invited to the Evening Standard’s ‘The Progress 1000: London’s Most Influential People 2016’. We must be audience, we couldn’t possibly be on the list…or maybe the invite went to the wrong address? That happens.READ MORE

Shambala Festival 2016 Talk

Heatwaves, thunderstorms, sustainable talks, insect dinners, dancing and acrobats summed up our August bank holiday at Shambala Festival! Our cofounder Richard, presented at what is the most sustainable and eco-minded festival in the UK. ‘Adventures in Utopia’ was theREAD MORE

V&A Talk

This August bank holiday our office manager Olivia kindly gave a talk at the stunning V&A museum on our behalf, as we were already presenting at Shambala Festival.

Olivia did a great job at the August Friday Late event which explored how a new kind of growing READ MORE

Microsoft Conference 2015

Microsoft, Barcelona, 5000 people is what happened last week. After an overwhelmingly successful Microsoft Empowering Us All film on our Growing Underground farm, back in October, Microsoft then asked us to join them as a keynote speaker at the annualREAD MORE

Michel Roux Jr drops in!

Whilst filming next door at Catcus Studios for Saturday Kitchen, Michel Roux Jr dropped in to the farm for a catch up! It’s always a pleasure to have this supercool super chef dude and all round nice guy drop in! (And he’s also one of our Board of Directors of course!)READ MORE

World 1st Subterranean Farm

In glorious sunshine, the press launch of the GU farm took off this morning with a 6am start at the tunnel. Michel Roux Jr did a live interview with Sky News and he was nothing less than a pro as usual! Shortly followed reporters from Al Jazeera News, The Evening Standard, CNBC,READ MORE

GU Farm Launch

You may have noticed we’ve been a bit quiet of late in terms of the farm. Well, that’s because we’ve been just a little bit preoccupied with finalising the build of Phase One! Today we’re thrilled to officially reveal the completed streamlined farm, lush with microgreens.READ MORE

Food Revolution Day

It’s #FoodRevolutionDay! Jamie Oliver is rapping for compulsory practical food education in schools. Jamie Oliver has joined forces with Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney, Hugh Jackman, Alesha Dixon and Jazzy B to name a few to make the Food Revolution song!READ MORE

Kellogg’s Advertisement

You may recognise the recent ‘Grow with Kellogg’s’ TV campaign which is giving away seeds to encourage kids to grow their own veg. You may not know that Kellogg’s asked us here at Growing Underground to set up the seedling time lapse sequence.READ MORE

Street Feast 2015

Loving this time of year as all the food festivals kick off! On Friday we sampled some delicious food down at Street Feast in Dalston. We arrived quite early in the evening and were greeted by a security guy who took his job too seriously. READ MORE

Pure Taste Restaurant

Sampled the most delicious and exciting food at Pure Taste Restaurant last night! The UK’s first ‘free-from’ fine dining restaurant, suitable for specialist diets such as Paleo but to be honest the only *special* thing you will notice is how delicious and beautifully presented it all is!READ MORE

Solar Eclipse: above ground

Ok so we bothered to walk the 170 odd steps up from the tunnel to catch the solar eclipse. Alas it was not as impressive as our underground one. It basically went a bit cloudy and a bit cooler. It could have been any regular UK day in March really…READ MORE

Solar Eclipse: underground

We spend most of our time in our *underground* world but we hear there is some kind of special eclipse thing going on in the *above ground* world today. We’re not too bothered though as down here we’ve got our own total eclipse of the farm…
READ MORE

The Crowdcube Awards

This week we attended the Crowdcube Awards at The Groucho Club, Soho where we collected our award for ‘Pitch of the Year 2014’.
It was great to meet the guys from The Eden Project who also won an award as did Lend me your Literacy, Pip&Nut,…READ MORE

A year on

It’s already a year this week since our launch campaign of Growing Underground via Crowdcube! It’s been a rollercoaster ride, full of excitement and hard work. We built an overground office and the tunnel has been transformed into a fully functioning undergroundREAD MORE

Merry Christmas!

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

Wired: 33 Below Clapham

You have to check out ’33 Below Clapham’ – a pretty awesome film on our underground farm by talented filmmaker Elvina Nevardauskaite and has been published by Wired.

Make sure you turn the volume up for the eerie beginning!…
READ MORE

Crowdcube Tube ad campaign

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

Business Punk Magazine

Our underground farm has great a feature spread in the current issue of Business Punk Magazine which is a business lifestyle magazine in Germany
http://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=de&u=http://www.business-punk.com/&prev=search

 

 

 

 

Sherlock Holmes

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

PRWeek Awards

A touch bleary eyed but buzzing on the morning after the night before at the a PRWeek Awards! Huge congrats to Hamish and the guys at Houston PR on winning the Marketing Communications Business award for the Growing Underground launch campaign!! A great nightREAD MORE

The Hoff

Well this was pretty random! This message from David Hasselhoff, yes, The Hoff himself was sent to our PR guys at Houston PR who are nominated for the Growing Underground launch campaign at the PRWeek Awards. The awards will be held tomorrow evening at the fab READ MORE

Weekend Kitchen Waitrose

Did you see our faces and our tunnel on Weekend Kitchen this Saturday? The crew came down to the Growing Underground farm along with our very own Michel Roux Jr! Here’s a snippet and you can also catch the full programme on 4oD 🙂 READ MORE

Proper Beans!

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 Farmers Club

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

San Sebastián 3 of 3: Zuberoa

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

San Sebastián 2 of 3: Kasino

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

San Sebastián 1 of 3: Hola!

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

Jordan’s Last Supper

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

Vertical Farming Conference

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

WW2 Tunnel Reunion

Hoping you all managed to have a fab bank holiday weekend despite the rain and disappointing cold turn in the weather!
Richard spent the weekend at a big family reunion where young and old gathered around two amazing fire pits in the garden catching up READ MORE

Stop thief! ;)

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 😉

G’s Fresh Salads visit

We recently visited G’s Fresh Salads, our corporate investor, farm near Cambridge. We were greeted by Daniel Cross (MD) and the rest of the board at G’s HQ in Barway before being shown around their vast operation.READ MORE

Great British Beer Festival

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? 😉

It’s electrifying! It’s Pete Muller!

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

New Farm Manager – You say ‘tom-ay-to’, I say ‘tom-ah-to’

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.

Tomatoes!

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.

Dream job

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!

Cities Summit – London Leader farm tour

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)

New office! New office!

…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! 🙂

WC opening night

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!

Shiny new blog!

Hello all! Firstly apologies for the delay in blog updates lately – as a result this one will be slightly extended (so further apologies for that!) So what have you been doing we hear you ask? You may already be aware if you have been following us on Facebook and Twitter but if not, well, life has continued to be pretty hectic since the launch of Growing Underground back in January. More press and publicity than we could ever have imagined has ensued thanks to our PR guys 1238, our Crowdcube fundraising campaign kicked off and we went viral. With the help of our intern, Jordan, we kept the farm looking good and have had as much interest internationally as from the UK – six months later it continues still!

Our beardy and baldy selves have managed to speak coherently in interviews but not quite to the same slick level as ‘One Take’ Michel Roux Jr! Highlights have included being on various news channels such as BBC, ITV, ABC (US), ABC (Australia), CBS, NPR and ARD to name but a few. Press coverage consisted of all the main UK newspapers; The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times, The Mail, The Metro, Time Out, This is Money etc. to our old local The Bristol Post and as far and wide as The Times of Mumbai! We also had an MSN feature on us, were listed on Yahoo’s ‘Top Secret Spots’, The Telegraph’s ‘Most Watched this Week’ and got to no.1 on Viralnova’s most ‘Totally Brilliant’ use of a Rundown Building!

The following months brought a successful investor Meet and Greet event and we were thrilled to be told that our pitch had received the most views in the history of Crowdcube! Then after being invited to do a talk at Shoreditch House for further potential investors, April showered us with being chosen by National Geographic as part of a special series ‘The Future of Food’ and we got a mention on Newsnight. May brought us an invite to The Restaurant Leaders Summit in Cannes, presenting to future customers as one of the first food suppliers ever at the annual event! Of course this was an absolute honour but also a tad scary – luckily we delivered a successful presentation with great feedback (and all without stuttering, total mind blank or soiling ourselves! :))

There are many other interviews we could mention such as one that involved a photo shoot of lettuce being repeatedly thrown in our faces?! We’re assuming this was some kind of artistic angle and that we are not featured on a DVD labeled ‘Lettuce Fetish’ in a Soho basement somewhere!

Alongside all of this of course we continued to work on the farm and were booked up meeting investors so it’s been pretty full on! Now, even though our Crowdcube campaign has finished, our conversations with external investors continue, this ranges from HNWI, Venture Capital, Banks and Corporate Investors. We have received an offer of assistance to aide the growth of the ‘Growing Underground’ brand from one of the largest growers in the UK and Europe.

We have also finalised an agreement with County Supplies London who will be our New Covent Garden Market distribution partner and with whom we did a stand with at this month’s London Produce Show. Supplying thousands of sites in the London area they will take the majority of produce from the first phases of our expansion which will provide much needed revenue at the early stage of our business. So things continue to be hectic but exciting as we get down to the nitty gritty of expanding the farm, it’s all hands on deck! We hope this has filled you in on with what’s going down with Growing Underground so far….there is light at the end of the tunnel…!

Another ‘Decent’ shoot

Another fantastic photo shoot with Decent Design, this time some beautiful delicate shots of our micro greens. We are now ready with PR company 1238 on board, a film pitch, two websites, a business plan and crowdfunding campaign which we hope to launch very soon; as soon as the tunnel lease is signed that is!

Website shoot

Andy from Decent Design, our design strategy and branding agency, came down to London to take photos for the websites and business plan. He got some amazing shots on the day. The Decent crew have done an amazing job across the board with our branding and we very much look forward to working with them as the business develops.

Crowdcube film pitch

We have now put together our Crowdcube crowdfunding campaign, complete with a short film explaining the concept. On filming day it was an early start for everyone involved and there was an excitement in the air. Annoyingly Michel Roux Jr got his lines spot-on first time, whilst myself and Steve seemed to struggle to speak English!

The film was shot by James Moriarty who not only has a cool name but is an exceptional DOP. He had also accompanied me towards the end of the summer on several cutaway shoots for the film, both within London and further afield.

Take a look at the finished product http://growing-underground.com/#video

Producer: (myself) Richard Ballard/ DOP: James Moriarty/ Director: Adam Williams/ Editor: Theresa Logun/ Storyboard Artist: Jerina Jagdeo

Film Storyboard (and Michel Roux Jr!)

The business is snowballing – in a good way! We are engaging some high profile interest, continue to work hard down on the farm and on our business plan. We are now thrilled to say that in the last few weeks we have managed to bring one of the best chefs in the country, Michel Roux Jr, on board as a non-executive director which we are really excited about! 🙂

We have also started to put together our Crowdcube crowdfunding campaign which will involve a film pitch. Here’s our storyboard for the film as illustrated by the very talented Jerina Jagdeo. She has even got the variety of everyone’s facial hair spot on! We aim to keep to the initial script and storyboard with maybe very slight diversification if need be on filming day.