Back in March we were asked to be part of a SUPERGROUP at the Atlas of the Future: Fixing the Future event in Barcelona! Don’t worry we didn’t don our pants over tights! Ten ‘changemakers’ were chosen to speak at the event and including our cofounder Richard. READ MORE
We are super excited to announce our launch into Waitrose today! We are stoked that this prestigious national retailer wants our Growing Underground little (or rather, micro) salads! To start Waitrose are stocking two of our five salad mixes; Italian and English:READ MORE
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
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
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
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
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
This week Richard gave a presentation of the Growing Underground farm for the Quilter Cheviot media event announcing their sponsorship of the upcoming Countryfile Live 2017 event. There wasn’t meant to be a Q&A session afterwards but one soon eruptedREAD MORE
We previously described the story of how Raymond Blanc’s visit to our underground farm resulted in us being asked to partake in the prestigious Jardin Blanc at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2017. His thank you message to all who participated is almost as fabulous as theREAD MORE
So.. Raymond Blanc asked us to grow custom designed micro herb gardens and terrariums for Jardin Blanc at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show! He previously visited us at Growing Underground where he was very excited at the sight of our underground farm – he was equally READ MORE
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 😉
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? 😉
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 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!
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!
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 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!