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.