Plants are reaching new heights — way underground.
THE GOOD NEWS:
Biologists are repurposing London's old air raid tunnels into a sustainable underground farm.
Our population is growing faster than our food sources. 30 years from now, there could be 3 billion more people on the planet. How are we going to feed them? Some areas of the world are already experiencing land shortages. As the world keeps continue populating, land will be in even shorter supply, yet we’ll need that much more space to grow food.
Image via Markus Spiske/Pexels.
Luckily, we’ve got smart, forward-thinking people working on solutions. In London, for example, Growing Underground is one of the world’s first urban underground farms. Under the subway in an abandoned World War II air raid shelter, their “farm” is about 11 stories (108 feet) below ground. The tunnels housing the plants have colored LED lights, which replace the sun and are engineered to hit certain plants at specific heights.
Currently, Growing Underground produces microgreens — herbs and salad vegetables — which are sold to local stores and select restaurants. For some crops, it takes as little as seven days to go from planting and harvesting. How is that possible? Well, when you take away factors like seasons and daylight and use temperature and light-controlled spaces, things can be pretty efficient.
Of course, the 10 herbs Growing Underground currently produces are only the beginning. Their capacity reaches far beyond what they are generating now, and they eventually plan to grow micro vegetables, super-foods, and even edible flowers. As for the future implications on a global scale, this is only the beginning.