A former builder has transformed unused cellar space into an underground farm to produce fresh herbs and vegetables. Luke Ellis, from Sheffield, grows his produce at Kelham Island using organic soil and food created from waste products and without natural light. The business already sells produce to restaurants and direct to customers.
Mr Ellis first became interested in hydroponics technology six years ago, but felt it was not as sustainable as it could be with most companies using high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment with a high start-up cost. To address that he decided to create a bioponic farm, an organic form of hydroponics.
"Bioponic vertical farming may sound like something straight out of the world of science fiction, but it is a sector which holds a lot of potential for growth," he said. The company uses waste materials, such as paper, card and food scraps, to create its own soil and the run-off from those systems is not wasted either.
"We make our own plant food, which means we don't ever pour anything away," said Mr Ellis. The plants are grown under electric lights which, he added, offer advantages. "Artificial light can be better than natural light because we can control the flavor of the food and control the growth rate."
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