Aberdeen Standard Investments (ASI) and Square Mile Farms have teamed up to install a vertical hydroponic farm at The Hub, a private-rental housing scheme (PRS) in Harrow.
As well as fitness facilities, a café and work space, The Hub, which is let and managed by JLL, now has its own herb and vegetable supply.
Bringing an indoor farm to The Hub allows the residents to grow their own fresh produce where they live, and harvest it when they need it.
It also creates a platform for community engagement and knowledge sharing around issues such as wellbeing, through nutrition and food choices, and sustainability.
The Harrow Hub Residents’ Farm, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, reflects ASI’s ambition to set the benchmark in the growing shared-living sector while embracing the highest environmental standards.
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Commenting on the initiative, Haseeb Hassan, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said: “This is a trial initiative with Square Mile Farms, and the quality of the farm is fantastic, with the fit-out carried out in a very professional manner.
“We are really keen to see the level of resident engagement in growing their own fresh produce onsite and their interest in sustainable living in general.
“The farm will provide an opportunity for our residents to engage with each other as they manage and harvest their own crops promoting positive wellbeing.”
How it works
The ‘farm’ consists of a vertical, wall-mounted system in the communal lounge, and hydroponic towers across two floors of the building.
Because the systems are vertical, they take up little space, and LED grow-lights make it possible to grow the plants indoors.
Square Mile Farms designed the farm to fit into wall furniture in the communal lounge, so it adds to the visual appeal of the space and is accessible to residents.
The farm is hydroponic, meaning no soil is required; instead, water is recirculated over the roots of the plants.
The farm can grow 188 leafy green vegetable, salad, and herb plants at a time.
Benjamin Dean, Square Mile Farms’ COO, said: “It’s been great working with ASI and JLL on this project. ASI immediately saw the value to the residents of having a farm on site, and JLL embraced it.
“This is a modest-sized farm, but it’s a pilot. PRS schemes have rooms for swimming pools and gyms, why not farms too?
“It’s got to be the future for co-living.”
Square Mile Farms manages the farm, facilitating weekly, communal harvests, and delivering produce to the doors of the residents.
Main image: A resident tends to one of the hydroponic towers
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