The Future of Food Is… Underground?

Fueled by Kickstarter and some corporate sponsors, two designers are working with a community of supporters to turn an old trolley terminal under Manhattan’s Lower East Side into LowLine, an underground park where people can grow food and hang out.

Experiments are being conducted now to grow pineapple, strawberries, mushrooms, and other fruits and vegetables. Creators hope to open the solar-powered space by 2020.

Over in London, a World War II bomb shelter converted into an underground farmopened earlier this year. Food rolls out fresh from the shelter into nearby stores. In both New York and London, the underground spaces had stood vacant for decades.

Advancements from experiments in both places can be replicated for any subterranean space — mines, old subway tunnels, below deserts. Urban farming supports local food movements, food security, and the eradication of food deserts.

Urban farms also shrink the food transport carbon footprint. Today, 15 to 20 percent of the world’s food is now grown in cities, according to the UN. Urban farming connotes something that happens in vacant lots, on rooftops, or sometimes inside tall buildings. Turns out we can grow underground, too.

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Photo Credit: Zero Carbon Food

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