CLOSE

Underground Farm Opens Up in London's Abandoned World War II Bunkers

A bomb shelter from World War II has become London’s hottest new farm. Growing Underground, opening this week, is the epitome of local food: everything is grown right under the streets of Clapham, in south London. 

Tunnels that 70 years ago contained beds to house Londoners now contain beds to feed Londoners,” the farmers say

Image Credit: Zero Carbon Food ZCF via Flickr, courtesy Growing Underground


Using a clean-room loaded with LED lights and hydroponic growing technology, the farm grows vegetables 100 feet down. The produce is picked, packed, and on market shelves within just four hours. Radish, mustard, coriander, parsley, celery, and other greens should be hitting restaurants and stores sometime this month

Image Credit: Growing Underground

The project turns infrastructure made to house frightened citizens into a way to feed the city using fewer resources than traditional farming, which requires more land and trucks to ship the final product into restaurants and markets. They hope to get the project certified carbon-neutral, making Londoners’ salads will be even more guilt-free than usual. 

[h/t: Neatorama]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Food
Thanks to a Wet Winter, New Zealand Faces a Potential Potato Chip Shortage
Original image
iStock

New Zealand has plenty of unique and tasty snacks, but kiwis also love potato chips. The universal comfort food is in danger Down Under, however, as an unusually wet winter has devastated the island country’s tuber crops, according to BBC News.

Twenty percent of New Zealand’s annual potato crop was wiped out from a series of major storms and floods that ravaged the nation’s North and South Islands, The Guardian reports. In some regions, up to 30 percent of potato crops were affected, with the varieties used to make chips bearing the brunt of the damage.

Potato prices spiked as farmers struggled, but the crisis—now dubbed “chipocalypse” by media outlets—didn't really make the mainstream news until supermarket chain Pak’nSave posted announcements in potato chip aisles that warned customers of a salty snack shortage until the New Year.

Pak’nSave has since rescinded this explanation, claiming instead that they made an ordering error. However, other supermarket chains say they’re working directly with potato chip suppliers to avoid any potential shortfalls, and are aware that supplies might be limited for the foreseeable future.

New Zealand’s potato farming crisis extends far beyond the snack bars at rugby matches and vending machines. Last year’s potato crops either rotted or remained un-harvested, and the ground is still too wet to plant new ones. This hurts New Zealand’s economy: The nation is the world’s ninth-largest exporter of potatoes.

Plus, potatoes “are a food staple, and this is becoming a food security issue as the effects of climate change take their toll on our potato crop,” says Chris Claridge, the chief executive of industry group Potatoes New Zealand, according to The Guardian.

In the meantime, New Zealanders are preparing to hunker down for a few long months of potential potato peril—and according to some social media users, kale chips are not a suitable alternative. “Chipocalypse” indeed.

[h/t BBC News]

Original image
iStock
arrow
Weird
See (Probably) the World's Heaviest Squash in All Its Glory
Original image
iStock

A Rhode Island man has likely set a world record for growing the world’s heaviest squash, the Associated Press reports.

Joe Jutras stole the show with his giant squash at last weekend’s Southern New England Giant Pumpkin Growers Pumpkin Weigh-off. It tipped the scales at 2118 pounds, shattering grower Scott Holub’s 2016 record of 837 pounds.

Jutras, a retired cabinet maker from Scituate, Rhode Island, has spent the last 20 years or so growing giant foods, according to NPR. In 2006, he scored a Guinness Record for producing the world's longest gourd (127 inches), and in 2007 he grew a record-breaking pumpkin that weighed 1689 pounds. These titles are no longer in the book, but Jutras is still the only person who’s ever set world records in the pumpkin, gourd, and squash categories, making him a celebrity of sorts among growers.

Jutras says he’s finally seeing the (literal) fruits of his labor, after trying for years to hit this elusive trifecta. A few years ago he was on track with another giant squash, but it split before weigh-in time. This time around, Jutras used a seed from last year’s world-record holding squash and nurtured it to greatness using new and improved farming techniques.

Guinness still hasn’t confirmed Jutras’s giant squash as the world’s largest, but he’s confident that it will reign supreme. As for the hefty fruit itself, it’s going on display at the New York Botanical Garden, where it will be carved for a Halloween display.

[h/t Associated Press]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios