The restaurant that serves what it grows

Posted on 18 March 2014.

While locavores advocate eating food produced within 200 km of home, at FARM:shop, you eat the food right where it is grown. Literally.

When you first open the door of FARM:shop, you cannot help but be amazed – and a little surprised – by this offbeat place in the east of London. The first room reveals aquariums filled with tilapia, vegetables and herbs. It's a real ecosystem in which fish and vegetables are grown in a symbiotic environment through the use of aquaponics. In the middle of the room, there are a few tables where you can work while enjoying a delicious Climpson & Sons coffee. All around, on the walls and in the corridors, different types of plant can be found growing without the use of soil. FARM:shop even has as special room in which it grows its own mushrooms. The staircase and vertical garden lead up to the rooftop chicken coop.The restaurant itself is housed in a large greenhouse at the back. It serves only food that has been freshly grown and prepared. Any extra ingredients needed are supplied by small partner-growers based on the outskirts of London.

FARM:shop is a unique concept: a farm inside a shop; a seedbed for a new approach to urban agriculture. The people behind the FARM project have set out to connect farmers inside and outside the city while raising the awareness of customers by demonstrating – through a number of innovations – that this type of business can be viable. Their pioneering initiative – backed by a healthy idea and a sprinkling of courage – has revealed a new approach to eating out.

Opened in 2011, FARM:shop quickly became a hotspot for ecologists, gourmets and those with an interest in all things new. Rumor has it they make the best club sandwich in all of London...