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A network of tunnels 33 metres under Clapham in London, originally built as a WWII bomb shelter, is being used to grow a range of different salad vegetables destined for Londoners’ plates.


A network of tunnels 33 metres under Clapham in London, originally built as a WWII bomb shelter, is being used to grow a range of different salad vegetables destined for Londoners’ plates.VIEW GALLERY7 ITEMS

This week, Wired.co.uk paid a visit to the subterranean farm, descending the winding steps deep into the bowels of southwest London. The space is enormous. It’s made up of two seemingly never-ending tunnels (actually 430 metres long), lit — at least during our visit — only by the torches of Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, the founders of Zero Carbon Food, the company behind this agricultural curiosity.





History of Hydroponics and Soil-less Gardening

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While it’s easy to imagine this kind of process being labeled as a bunch of new age science fiction, hydroponics has actually been in use for thousands of years. The famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, are largely believed to have functioned according to hydroponic principles. Built around 600 B.C. in Babylonia, or Mesopotamia, the gardens were situated along the Euphrates River. The area suffered from a dry, arid climate that rarely saw rain, and it’s believed that the lush gardens were watered using achain pull system, which carried water up from the river and allowed it to trickle down to each step or landing of the garden structure.

During the 10th and 11th centuries, the Aztecs developed a system of floating gardens based on hydroponics. Driven out of their land, they settled at Lake Tenochtitlan. Unable to grow crops on the lake’s marshy shore, they built rafts out of reeds and roots. These rafts were topped with a bit of soil from the bottom of the lake, and then floated out to the center of the water. Crops would grow on top of the rafts, their roots reaching through the rafts and down into the water. Marco Polo’s writings indicate he witnessed similar floating gardens while visiting China in the late 13th century .

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BrightFarms finances, designs, builds and operates greenhouse farms at or near supermarkets, cutting time, distance, and cost from the produce supply chain.

We’ve been in urban agriculture since 2006.

BrightFarms grew out of non-profit New York Sun Works (NYSW), launched by urban farming visionary—and BrightFarms board member—Dr. Ted Caplow. NYSW created the renowned Science Barge, a prototype, sustainable urban farm and environmental education center on the Hudson River. Following its success, we were flooded with requests to build science-barge-like projects. In 2007 we created a for-profit greenhouse consultancy, BrightFarm Systems, to respond to the demand.

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The Science Barge is a prototype, sustainable urban farm and environmental education center. It is the only fully functioning demonstration of renewable energy supporting sustainable food production in New York City. The Science Barge grows tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce with zero net carbon emissions, zero chemical pesticides, and zero runoff. From May to October 2007, the Science Barge hosted over 3,000 schoolchildren from all five New York boroughs as well as surrounding counties as part of our environmental education program. In addition, over 6,000 adult visitors visited the facility along with press from around the world.

The Science Barge: now in Yonkers, New York

The ownership of the Science Barge program has been assumed by Groundwork Hudson Valley, located in Yonkers, NY. For information about public tours, opening times and education programming, please follow this link to the Groundwork Hudson Valley website

“The Science Barge is not only an invitation to ideas and learning, but to change.”
Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University
and special economic advisor to the United Nations.

– See more at:




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First North American Urban Vertical Farm Opens in Vancouver!

Last month, the first commercial vertical farm in the world opened in Singapore. This week, Alterrous systems opened up its first vertical farm on top of a parkade in Vancouver. It feels like just yesterday that we were blogging about the initial stages of construction of the farm.

We couldn’t help but smile at the picture below of Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson enjoying his first taste of vertically farmed produce.

Vancouver is well on its way achieving its goal of being the greenest city by 2020.

November 29th Edit: Please do not misunderstand what we mean by “First Vertical Farm in North America”. We have added “Urban” to that statement as we realize that it is misleading to say Local Garden is the first to grow crops vertically using hydroponics. Other businesses, such as Terrasphere have been growing certain crops on dense vertical shelving units in a suburb of Vancouver for years. 

Locavores, look no further than the 10th floor of a downtown parkade for homegrown, leafy greens.

The first vertical urban farm in Vancouver – and in North America – harvested its first commercial crop of greens, kale, spinach, arugula and fresh herbs Tuesday from the rooftop of the Richard St. EasyPark.

The clean-tech farm is green, innovative, creates local jobs and occupies unused space, making it a “win-win” for Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson said at the launch event.

Plus it lines the city’s pockets. Vancouver-based Alterrus Systems Inc. leased the underused parking space from the city at market rates and built the greenhouse with its own cash.

The $2-million, 6,000 square foot Local Garden, as the crops are branded, will employ between four to six people from Downtown Eastside organization Mission Possible.

The original VertiCrop system at the U.K.’s Paignton Zoo grows produce to feed animals, but this is Alterrus’ first attempt to sell to commercial markets.

It expects to produce 150,000 pounds of produce annually. The crops take about 20 days to grow and are rotated through the conveyor system to get maximum light exposure.

While the greens will be sold to those who can afford them, Alterrus is looking at opportunities to pay part of its lease fees in produce to contribute healthy food to city organizations, strategic advisor Donovan Wollard said.

Local restaurants and grocery stores such as Fable, Hawksworth, Spud.ca and Urban Fare want to buy the greens rather than ship the highly perishable items from as far as 2,000 kilometres away.



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Urban events at Torino: urban bees

21 settembre ore 16:00

via Paganini 0/200, 10154 Torino


• 16.00: Presentazione Orti Ex-ENEL + Discussione pubblica con i partecipanti al progetto: domande, critiche, risultati, novità

• 17.00: Presentazione Progetto Urbees + MERENDA con pane&miele

• 18.00: Racconti di orticoltura urbana (Politecnico di Milano)

• 18.30: Approfondimento 1: L’idea di orto di Nicolò Taglia

• 19.00: Approfondimento 2: L’orto biodinamico secondo Andrea Rava

• 19.30: APERITIVO con degustazione dei prodotti dell’orto

• 20.30: Presentazione del libro di Carlo Taglia “Giro del mondo senza aerei” e anteprima documentario

• 21.15: Proiezione documentario Apicoltura Urbana

• 21.30: Proiezione fotografie e video dei lavori agli orti Ex-ENEL

• 22.00: Performance musicali live dell’artista di origine turca Selen GULUN, della TACUMA ORCHESTRA ELETTRONICA e di Patrizia OLIVA

• 00.00: Djset di Andrea POMINI


MORE INFO: https://www.facebook.com/events/541121685959735/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular


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A New York le aziende Blue Sea Development e Sky Vegetable, stanno lanciando un nuovo progetto nel Sud Bronx di fattoria urbana sul tetto.

The New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development in partnership with Blue Sea Development and Sky Vegetables, launched a new housing project in the South Bronx featuring a rooftop farm. The innovative eco-friendly building offers low-incomecommunities not only affordable housing but also year-round employment and fresh food alternatives.

770 East 166th Street, Bronx NY 10459

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video: http://a002-vod.nyc.gov/html/recent.php?id=2114

more info: http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/news/2013/ecobuilding-pulse/developer-raises-the-bar-in-the-bronx.aspx


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Urban agriculture is being technologically liberated from an utopian vision, opening the horizons of contemporary design research at an accelerated pace. The creation of micro-farms is one of the most fascinating themes that was once visible, unfortunately, only virtually in exquisite video-graphic simulations — from demographics to Facebook farms. Today, however, technological opportunities are rendering their implementation and standardization concrete. The micro-farm on display at ENSCI, one of the most prestigious design schools in Paris, is the third and first truly working farm. 

MORE : http://www.domusweb.it/en/design/2012/04/13/micro-farms.html