Zero Carbon Food is a commercial venture that aims to benefit Londoners, businesses, society and the environment as a whole. Utilising underground redundant spaces, we will be producing leafy greens, herbs and micro-greens. These would be grown using LED lights and a hydroponics system with all produce for sale within the M25.
The immediate benefit for Londoners is reduced food waste through increased shelf-life, bringing employment to inner cities and helping to achieve the reduction in the carbon footprint of the capital.
The wider benefits are that our system uses 70% less water versus traditional open-field farming methods, year round production negates seasonality and therefore the necessity to import produce, drastically reducing food miles for retailers and consumers. In addition to this the crops are free from pesticides.
Rich and I (Steven) are friends from childhood and moving from the rural outskirts of Bristol to the smog of the Big Smoke (as our West Country friends refer to London) never removed our desire to be among farming folks and produce grown locally by someone you know.
I dived off into a world of marketing and management of a company distributing products to the catering industry and Rich started a burgeoning film career going back to study the flicks. However this didn't dent my desire to search the food markets of London for amazing produce with excellent provenance and Rich was happy to eat this while telling me how we need to change the world and how the current systems were broken.
After a lot of pub arguments about the future of oil, energy and food we moved on to some slightly more intellectual debates about the future of London. We both knew we would never leave this great city, but were also aware (mainly because Rich told me) of the fact that the population was going to increase by three million people in a decade. Now I can't afford London prices now how the hell am I going to afford them with all those extra bodies muscling in?
Rich had convinced me to read Dickson Despommier and Jeremy Rifkin and eventually I crossed the rubicon and realised that without some major changes London, and everywhere else for that matter, had to change the way we approach our carbon hungry society otherwise there won't be a society.
This galvanised us into wanting to be part of the change that was needed and food and produce was a subject we both had some form of experience of and also some desire to get back to our farming West County roots. The only way to feed the growing population was to do it without using any carbon and by having no dependence on fossil fuels. ZCF was born.