The Subterranean Farms of Tokyo
While we're on the subject of things agricultural and of things covered by just about everyone long before today, there is Pasona O2, a subterranean farm cultivated inside a former bank vault beneath a high rise building in one of Tokyo's business districts.
Though walled in from sunlight, weather and geology, it's unbelievably verdant. Tomatoes, lettuces, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers and herbs, are grown in an area about 1,000 square meters. There is even a terraced rice paddy.
This is all done, by the way, in a very hi-tech fashion. Computers control the temperature and light, which in this case is artificially generated by LEDs, halide lamps and sodium vapor lamps.
Carbon dioxide, we read, is delivered by spraying.
Understandably, people have wondered what the energy requirement is for these “plant factories,” worried that a basement greenhouse might be too inefficient for a wider application.
Of course, any highly unsustainable demand for energy can easily be offset by drilling miles deep into Japan's tectonic landscape to generate hydrothermal energy.
But what exactly is the purpose of Pasona O2? Certainly it is not where cutting edge agritechnology and biotechnology research is being done. Nor does it grow its produce to sell on the market. It doesn't even pretend to be a model for future food production in Japan whose farming population continues to dwindle.
In actuality, it was built primarily as a demonstration and training facility for jobless young people who see a career in agriculture as a possibility. Though not really plugged in to the youth culture of Japan, we'll say that the presence of all that hi-tech equipment can do a long way to maintain interest.
In any case, all our sources are from over two and half years ago, and in searching for updates to use here, we didn't come across any that wasn't written in Japanese.
Perhaps you might know of some?