On rooftops and in tunnels, city farms lead food revolution

Only the Northern line tube trains rumbling through tunnels overhead provide any clue that Growing Underground is not a standard farm.

The rows of fennel, purple radish and wasabi shoots could be in almost any polytunnel, but these plants are 100 feet below Clapham High Street and show that urban agriculture is, in some cases at least, not a fad.

The underground farm has occupied a section of the second world war air-raid shelters for nearly five years, and Richard Ballard, one of the founders, is planning to expand into the rest of the space later this year.

“The UK is the hardest market for growing salad,” he said. “We’ve got very low prices in the supermarket, so if we can make it work here we can make it work anywhere.”