It’s called FARM:SHOP and aims at reconnecting the city with the countryside
“The first urban farm in the world”. In the heart of East London, behind the windows of a once derelict shop, hides FARM:SHOP, a sustainable agriculture initiative aiming at bringing the countryside to the city.
FARM:SHOP is many things at the same time: a shop, a workplace, a café, an event place, an urban farm selling food directly to consumers, educating Londoners to cultivate their own food in urban green areas, from balconies, to courtyards, to gardens.
Every single corner of the building has been exploited to grow food: while chicken are raised on the rooftop, inside the building fishes are grown, and fruit and organic vegetables are cultivated everywhere, thanks to a combination of traditional and new technologies. “We want to grow the maximum amount of food as efficiently as possible, keeping the labor to minimum”, says Paul Smyth, one of the co-founders.
Devised by Eco-social design practice Something & Son, FARM:SHOP, which opened in 2011, is a lucrative activity that invests all of its profit in the business. The plan is to scale up the business and develop a network of shops across the UK.
FARM:SHOP is a revolutionary new answer to urban food self sufficiency. Food is grown directly where it is eaten, reducing energy use through transport and distribution, while agriculture is people-driven: anyone passing by can ask for suggestions on how to grow vegetables, raise a chicken…
The shop aspires to become the meeting place of choice for food lovers and urban farmers as well as a special place to rest, have a coffee and smell the countryside without leaving the city.