Jill Fehrenbacher

URBAN UNDERGROUND AGRICULTURE

by , 06/21/05

If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, you know that beneath the crowded streets, unexpected worlds exist. Subway exits lead to awe-inspiring underground food courts, where every culinary delight under the sun can be found behind gleaming glass cases. In one particular subterranean section of the city, a new edible phenomenon has emerged, thanks to staffing agency Pasona, Inc.

In February, the agency opened Pasona O2, an indoor urban farm where vegetables, rice, flowers and herbs flourish under fluorescent lights and LEDs in an environment that is almost entirely chemical-free. In a basement that was once a bank-vault, plants are cultivated and nourished hydroponically ? using nutrient-enhanced water instead of natural soil. Temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels are all controlled by computers. This kind of tank-farming makes it possible to grow plants rapidly, all year round, by maintaining an optimal balance of nutrients.


Although this sounds a little Frankenstein-esque, apparently the results are pleasing locals. A Japan Times investigator reported: Though it grew without natural light, no soil, and in a computer-controlled environment, there was nothing to say about that tomato’s taste but oishii!?

The mission of the experimental farm ?showroom? is to demonstrate to visitors that farming isn?t the exclusive domain of old-school rural families. Pasona wants to change the face of farming, and cultivate a fanbase for new, high-tech urban agriculture, introducing technological advancements that will allow productive plots in the midst of the city and encourage a new generation of farmers.

No doubt Pasona O2 is a feat of high-tech design, successfully yielding tasty produce two stories below ground. Although it may be energy intensive, Pasona is breaking new ground – sowing seeds of enthusiasm for growing fresh food in the most unlikely of places: the city.

For more information about urban farming check out:
Cityfarmer.org

Via The Japan Times

Posted by Sarah Rich

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