Salad project wins celebrity backing

A project to grow fresh salads hydroponically deep underground in a disused London air-raid shelter has gained support from television chef Michel Roux Jr.

Zero Carbon Food, set up by entrepreneurs Steven Dring and Richard Ballard, produces a range of leafy crops including rocket, lettuce, coriander and tatsoi. They are lit by LEDs but, true to its zero-carbon ethos, the energy comes from a supplier of windand solar-generated electricity, while the firm claims that water use is 70 per cent lower than with conventionally-grown crops.

Roux, now a director of the company, said he was "blown away" by the quality of the crop. The short times from harvest to plate is a main selling points. "We can get it to the market in four to eight hours, that's what's really interesting to our customers," said Dring.

The firm is seeking £1m in crowd-sourced funding to expand production.

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