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World

Food for the future: London's underground farm

Opening sequence

Opening sequence

World

Food for the future: London's underground farm

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COMING UP:Food for the future: London's underground farm

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Transcript

00:00:00
>> This is one of London's busiest commuter hotspots. But unknown to passers by, it's also the entrance to a farm shaping the future of urban agriculture. No chance of finding any cows here because this farm is underground. This lift will take me 33 meters under the London choo tracks to some of there World War 2 bomb shelters.
00:00:19
Once this would have been a path of escape from German Air Raids Now, it's a production path for salad and herbs. Running the show underground, business partners Richard Ballard and Stephen Dring. They started planting two years ago. Hoping to address the looking issues of growing population and increasing food demand without a carbon footprint.
00:00:39
Sustainably powered LED lights replace sunlight and the plants are grown hydroponically. That means using mineral nutrient water instead of soil.>> Growing in an enclosed environment is a very efficient way of growing whether that's in a tunnel, whether that's in a warehouse. This is very water efficient. Hydroponics as a rule, uses 70% less water than conventional Agricultural methods.
00:01:00
It's also very energy efficient because we're working in an enclosed environment and that contains the heat. On top of that, we don't use any pesticides because we are in an enclosed area away from the ground level.>> The tunnels churn out 3,000 packs on a daily basis, supplying markets and homes.
00:01:20
For Richard, one of the most important factors is the tunnel's location, and the lack of what he calls food miles.>> What we're doing here is we're growing within the city, for the city. So we're supplying food into the markets, which are less than a kilometer down the road.
00:01:34
If we can cut produce and get it in there in less than 4 hours, this really keeps the freshness of the product and the flavor. And it also reduces food waste in the long term.>> Now that they're a viable channel for food production. The team will grow into more tunnels with hopes of finding their ways into our supermarkets.