In January I spoke about my predicted trends for 2011, and I mentioned that urban farming was still looming on the horizon, but was probably not quite here just yet.
Well, I hope to be proven wrong this year by eco design trio Something and Sons when they fully launch their FARM:shop in Dalston, London.
The concept is simple - produce as much food as you can, by farming within the confines of the shop. But as you can imagine, this is far from simple and requires a great deal of advanced technological expertise to support the basic farming techniques.
But I love the concept - Aquaponic micro fish farming (where the waste water feeds into the tomatoes), a polytunnel and indoor allotment. A rooftop chicken coop ensures that foxes are kept at bay, and the happy (and hopefully partially sheltered) chickens will provide eggs for the shop below.
We have all seen a myriad of urban farming renderings, with the skylines of our cities paved over with crops, or huge multi-layered skyscrapers filled with levels of agriculture, but not many have got very close to (pardon the pun) actual fruition, so it will be very interesting to see how the FARM:shop concept actually works in real time, and how it could be replicated to our own high streets.
Would it just be too small, or would it just cater for a niche market (like fresh tilapia and pots of specialist herbs) or, as was pointed out quite aptly on the latest edition of The People's Supermarket, have we just become conditioned to thinking that rafter packed supermarkets and lines and lines of choice (and therefore waste) are what we want to consume?
I tend to agree with the latter - I would rather wander into a shop and see what is there, in season and looking good rather than going with a mind of preconceived recipes and a list to match.
Oh, and I love the slogan for Something and Son - Between us we know enough about everything to have a go at (almost) anything.
I quite agree, and we try and work the same way.