Urban Underground Farming

June 20th, 2005 | Filed under: Architecture, Biology, Future, Social, Sustainability, Technology, Urbanism | 21 Comments »

Using computer-controlled temperature and LEDs , an underground rice and vegetable farm called Pasona O2 in Tokyo hopes to have its first harvest this summer (2005).

via Pasta and Vinegar | Trends in Japan

21 Comments on “Urban Underground Farming”

  1. 1 Dr.O said at 11:13 pm on June 20th, 2005:

    One day they will be able to produce consistently excellent wine: no need to care about the rain, drought, etc. Every vintage will be predictably perfect!

  2. 2 ap0phenia » Blog Archive » moorlock farmers? said at 3:15 am on June 21st, 2005:

    […] armers?

    Those crazy japanese, not content with building robots for the moon, now they’re growing crops underground.. more info via An […]

  3. 3 Jokamel said at 1:15 pm on June 21st, 2005:

    You people should grow some marijuana… under those conditions and the right nutrients, you’d be supplying Tokyo with the best weed they ever came upon!

    Please consider this idea… for hemp can be used for natural resoucres!

  4. 4 DoubleViking » Blog Archive » Urban Underground Farming said at 1:51 pm on June 21st, 2005:

    […] Farming”> Urban Underground Farming Via: Gizmodo Urban Underground Farming Thi […]

  5. 5 Urban Underground Farming in Japan » Uber Blah! said at 6:55 pm on June 21st, 2005:

    […] harvest this summer (2005). See pictures of these gardens! via Future Feeder This entry was po […]

  6. 6 JoeMomma said at 6:59 pm on June 21st, 2005:

    One glaring problem with this: they seem to be using electric light exclusively. Even though it all appears to be HID and flourescent, it’s still horribly inefficient compared to sunlight. Ask any indoor pot-grower or DEA agent — it takes a heck of a lot of electricity to grow healthy plants, and most of it is wasted as heat (hence the cops/DEA guys rolling around with thermal imaging gear). Why not install a few light pipes, with a nice collector at the top of each (a big fat lens, or more likely, a mirror array), and a diffusor at the bottom? It would be hard to run exclusively on such limited sunlight, but it could make a big difference in the efficiency of this setup.

    With the energy problems we’re facing today, you’ll never be able to make indoor farming a cost-effective reality on a commercial or industrial scale.

  7. 7 Dr.O said at 9:13 pm on June 21st, 2005:


    They use LEDs: tremendously energy efficient, and now available in assortment of light wave frequencies.

  8. 8 George said at 10:07 pm on June 21st, 2005:

    can we use optical fibre to direct sunlight for the farm?

  9. 9 JoeMomma said at 9:20 am on June 22nd, 2005:

    Dr. O: Noticed the LEDs after I posted, however, they are still problematic. Unless there have been significant developments in the last year or so. LEDs are still absolutely horrible when it comes to full-spectrum light, which plants need to thrive. In fact, it seems that the more efficient a light source is, the narrower its spectrum. As a workaround, they can (and presumably do) use LEDs in different spectrums (this works okay with flourescent “grow-light” setups), I still maintain that they’re fools not to use light pipes — though there may be feasability issues the articles don’t discuss (they’re pretty light on facts).

    George: Yes, but it’s terribly expensive compared to simple empty tubes with reflective interiors.

  10. 10 Pete said at 5:51 pm on June 22nd, 2005:

    This can’t possibly be anything other than research porn anyway. First of all, it’s in Tokyo, the most expensive city in the world, and the square footage is probably worth orders of magnitude more than the dearest farmland. As well, based on the pictures, they have an expensive interior designer on staff. So let’s not get too excited about whether this is practical or sustainable or whatever. I’d much rather know what they hope to learn.

  11. 11 Pete said at 5:56 pm on June 22nd, 2005:

    Ah yes… I followed some links and got a better idea. Here’s a recent one:

    It was brought into being by a personnel company as a means of providing agricultural training to young people who are having trouble finding employment and middle-aged people in search of a second career.

    And here’s an older one:

    The project is aimed at helping the Japanese capital’s jobless to train for careers in agriculture, the paper said.

    So basically they don’t care how efficient it is because it’s a training exercise.

  12. 12 richard said at 2:58 am on June 24th, 2005:

    hello…im a student doing on a report on planting using LEDs…im just wondering,what is the ideal color(s) when planting using LEDs and why?

  13. 13 Ted said at 12:08 pm on February 27th, 2006:

    Ever heard of the Omega Garden ? rotary cylinders with a central light source, uses less then 10 watts per sq. ft. and the rotation speeds up growth as much as 5 times for some crops, and you can carousel the units for vertical storage – this works. the carousel occupies 100 sq. ft. and each cylinder have 100 sq. ft. of surface area times sixe cylinders, add 60% isle space that greenhouse have, that comes to 1500 of greenhouse, then times that by 5 times faster growth, and you have a 75 to one increase in just the area used, and you can stack those us in biuldings as high as needed

  14. 14 richard said at 10:49 pm on March 30th, 2006:

    hi ted…is there any link to that omega garden where i could find more info about it?thanks

  15. 15 Ted said at 9:35 am on April 24th, 2006:

    hi Richard…..www.omegagarden.com

  16. 16 Tony said at 10:59 pm on June 25th, 2006:

    Any thoughts on a undergound greenhouse in the desert?Thanks

  17. 17 Ted said at 11:17 am on June 26th, 2006:

    Under the desert would be a perfect application for the omega garden carousel system and would be the same in a harshly cold climate except that you would have better alternative power options in the desert, such as http://www.stirlingenergy.com solar tracking parabolic mirrors with heat engines at the fulcrum.

  18. 18 Kris said at 6:06 pm on October 8th, 2006:

    In part this is a response to JoeMomma. Sunlight may not always be an option and my interest in underground gardening comes from the paranoid aspect of human survival. Growing food when there is no sunlight and in a underground enviorment…inefficient LED’s are better than nothing. I like to know what we CAN do without the sun.

  19. 19 Rex said at 7:02 pm on November 2nd, 2006:

    What do the japanese do about irrigation, and harvesting of the crops when they are grown in that environment? Do machines harvest those vegetabes? Is there some sort of drip system in the soil?

  20. 20 mark said at 11:56 pm on November 21st, 2007:

    Wow, i was actually thinking about this idea.
    hopefully power runs on solar power?!?
    this will be great for natural disasters
    and hopefully you guys build one in every poor third world countries!

  21. 21 Urban Underground Farming in Japan | Nebulosa Tech Bar said at 8:31 am on July 13th, 2008:

    […] Future Feeder Read alsoBrazilians on […]

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