London-based Zero Carbon Food (ZCF) has raised £424,530 on Crowdcube, swiftly surpassing its £300,000 crowdfunding goal for 21.23% equity offered. The campaign is now open to overfunding.
Co-founded by Richard Ballard and Steven Dring, and backed by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr and Florette’s Managing Director Neil Sanderson, Zero Carbon Food utilizes redundant underground spaces in London to cultivate leafy greens, herbs and micro greens, using LED lights and hydroponics. ZCF produces fresh ingredients with a minimal carbon footprint.
Ballard and Dring, self-proclaimed “Yorkshire bumpkins,” are leading the agricultural revolution by cultivating their micro-greens and herbs in their underground former WWII bomb shelter at Clapham garden, a mile away from major produce supplier New Covent Garden’s Market and hundreds of restaurants. The garden’s location affords the needed proximity to ensure ZCF’s guarantee of produce delivery within eight hours of harvest.
Known for presiding over Le Gavroche, his cookware and television career, Roux’s name remains synonymous with fine dining. Combined with Sanderson’s 20+ years expertise in the food industry, working as Managing Director of Florette UK & Ireland, parent company to Florette and Salads to Go. Bringing over 30 years experience, agriculture consultant Chris Nelson declares that growing crops year-round under the Tube, in former bomb shelter, provides ideal growing conditions: consistent LED lighting, hydroponic irrigation and temperature regulation in a pest-free environment.
“We believe our processes and location offer many wider benefits when compared to traditional production methods. Year round crop production negates seasonality and therefore the necessity to import produce drastically reduces food miles for retailers and consumers. Additionally our crops are free from pesticides and our production system is precisely controlled so it uses 70% less water versus traditional open-field farming. Carbon neutrality is substantiated and monitored by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and their Centre for Carbon Measurement (CCM), a globally recognised authority who will scrutinise our business and define its carbon consumption.”
“We plan to have the CCM monitor the carbon produced by ZCF and if there is a need to off-set to achieve neutrality CCM will so advise. ZCF will initially source energy from a green supplier on the national grid however to allow the founders to focus on their core business, an energy consultant will assess a variety of methods to generate our own energy using tech such as bio-mass conversion, micro-hydro solutions, solar PV, heat exchanging from the London Underground and many other potential sources.”
Those investing £250 will also get to tour the tunnel, those investing £2,500 will have their picture on the ZCF website and those investing £25,000 will enjoy a meal with the Co-Founders to discuss ZCF’s business plan and future growth.
An investment in ZCF is tax-deductible to individuals with EIS and SEIS eligibility.
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