Grow your own food. Weave some cloth to sew a dress. Whip up a poultice. The philosophies espoused by the founders of FARM:shop sound like they're straight out of Little House on the Prairie. With one crucial difference: This experiment in self-sufficiency is headquartered in London.
Behind a green shopfront on Dalston Lane, plants grow everywhere—up the walls, on the roof, intertwined with the plumbing. Chickens live on the roof, aquarium fish fertilize floating clumps of lettuce, mushrooms sprout in the basement, and pigs roam the yard. It's a farm in a shop, says co-founder Paul Smyth, with a simple goal: "to grow the maximum amount of food as efficiently as possible." Pull up a chair and have a cup of coffee at the shop's cafe:
Photographs via FARM:shop, except where noted.
Above: Located near the Dalston Junction train station in East London, FARM:shop's goal is to show city dwellers creative ways to raise their own food in small spaces. Image by Taxcitement, via Flickr.
Above: Hydroponic basil grows on shelves. FARM:shop's founders—Something & Son designers Smyth, Andrew Merritt, and Sam Henderson—opened the shop in March 2011.
Above: Chilies and tomatoes grow in containers inside.
Above: How much light does a basil seed need to sprout? These and other questions answered, at FARM:shop.
Above: Today a seedling, tomorrow a menu item in the cafe.
Above: On the roof, a chicken coop.
Above: From roof to table.