Today’s Solutions: January 30, 2023

From underground mushroom farms to rooftop oases, the urban farming movement is hitting its stride for the betterment of the planet and city residents. In South Korea, this concept is taking root in a local metro station where startup Farm8 uses 4,240 square feet to improve food resilience and sustainability. 

Located in the Sangdo metro station in Seoul, the underground farm opened in 2019 in a space previously used as an exit and meeting point. Noticing the underused space, Farm8 signed a 10-year lease with the city to use the area to cultivate fresh produce and teach local residents about the powers of smart agriculture. 

Like many other indoor farms, Farm8 uses LED panels and robots to create a highly regulated environment with ideal humidity, irrigation, heat, and carbon dioxide levels. The system is monitored by AI for optimal efficiency and the produce grows food twice as fast as conventional farms. The farm uses 90 percent less water than conventional methods but does have substantially higher energy consumption rates. 

Farm8’s produce supplies local restaurants, as well as big chains, with fresh ingredients. They currently provide lettuce and vegetables for Subway, Burger King, and KFC restaurants throughout Seoul. 

Although well suited to meet the fresh produce needs of urban neighborhoods, Farm8 acknowledges that large-scale regenerative overhauls of our modern agricultural systems are also needed to truly meet the food needs of future generations. 

Image source: Farm8

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