A New Opportunity for Urban Agriculture, or, erm... Fungiculture

In an earlier issue of plantastic, Rupe posted about underground parks:

"an entirely underground park? why not, you ask? Well, because, light, I would reply. Photosynthesis, I'd then add, just to be more specific."

This was in reference to the New York 'low line' - a tract of unused space where once a supply rail ventured.  A kind of underground park was proposed, relying on fibre optics for light.

In the UK, a similar opportunity presented itself in an underground rail tunnel connecting Paddington and Whitechapel.  

Instead of relying only on fibre-optics to deal with the photosynthesis thing (as in the low line), these guys explored a different kind of growth - mushrooms.  Mushrooms don't need photosynthesis, and can still provide several benefits associated with urban agriculture, such as local food production, efficient use of space, recycling/composting and better access to fresh healthy food. Because it's available to the public, this idea could also provide community/social benefits often attributed to urban ag, such as increased participation and engagement.

I like this idea, not only cos I love mushrooms (and am sometimes teased at lunch time for eating lots of them raw), but also because it demonstrates a great example of how to use space underground - that is so often considered of little value, especially for the community.  How cool would it be to venture down to the community mushroom farm every so often and grab a few shitakes, oysters or swiss browns?  Awesome!

Thanks to Teresa Qualtrough for sending this idea through.

Click here for more info on the project, and here for more on Urban Fungiculture.

See Rupe's article on the low line from a previous post here, for more info on the low line, click here.


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