Urban Farm in a Shop

June 22, 2011 by

Launched in March, FARM:shop hopes to bring the countryside to the city. Photo: London Permaculture.

“People will think you’re crazy, then they’ll love it” commented Jamie Oliver on a recent visit to the FARM:shop, a once derelict London shop transformed into the world’s first urban farming hub. FARM:shop is a workspace, cafe, and events venue packed to the rafters with living and breathing food–literally a farm in a shop.

Inside FARM:shop’s polytunnel greenhouse. Shiitake logs drying in the background. Photo: London Permaculture.

Asking themselves “how much food can we grow in a shop?” FARM:shop opened its doors in March and aspires to become the meeting place of choice for London’s food lovers and urban farmers, as well as a special place to rest one’s feet, have a coffee, and smell the countryside without ever leaving the city. Busy growing their idea, FARM:shop folks have filled the old space with a mini fish farm, vegetable garden, and are raising chickens and livestock.

Hydroponic plants growing at the shop.

With a vision for bringing farming into the city, FARM:shop was dreamed up by Something & Son, an eco-social design practice founded by Andrew Merritt, Paul Smyth and Sam Henderson, who combine art, engineering, and business know-how to find creative ways of improving the world around them.

Mini fish farm.

Photo: mermaid99, via Flickr.

They have plans to develop a network of shops and grow sites across the UK. The first FARM:shop, in Dalston, is the start of this initiative. FARM:shop aims to:
1) Excite and inspire city dwellers to grow their own food, fabric and medicine and make an income doing this.
2) Create direct links between farms in the countryside with urban communities
3) Grow food commercially via a network of FARM:’s across cities and retail this food at FARM:shops

One of FARM:shop’s girls.

Art and nature: The Bacteria Wall, where local artist Synnøve Fredericks explores the possibilities of shared fermentation by using kefir grains she found on Freecycle. Photo: London Permaculture.

And on a sunny day, customers can relax at FARM:shop’s cafe, sitting alongside their indoor farm or out in their garden polytunnel. The cafe serves up some of London’s freshest food using ingredients grown in-house or sourced from local growers.


  1. Theresa/LivingHomegrown said:

    Oh, how cool is this?!

    Now I want to go back to England even more!

    — June 23, 2011 @ 09:27

  2. Dallas Farmers Market: How Great Would This Be? | D Home Pingback said:

    […] am adding this to my list of what I would like to do when I […]

    — June 23, 2011 @ 09:59

  3. Catherine said:

    What an incredible idea! I can see this reinventing Main Street.

    — June 23, 2011 @ 11:59

  4. Roberta P. said:

    Fantastic! Fabulous! This is definitely the wave of the future!!
    So calming & relaxing =) I can certainly hope that this great idea makes it to
    L.A. or better yet Pasadena,CA.

    — June 23, 2011 @ 17:01

  5. John Millar said:

    I can’t wait for my next trip to London and a chance to visit the Urban Farm in a Shop. A really great idea. Let’s hope that the idea spreads.
    My cloned city of Derby – a big retail centre now dominates the city – as in urban centres many in this country, would benefit from the Urban Farm in a Shop example.

    — June 28, 2011 @ 09:59

  6. Esther nagle said:

    Email sent, I want to be part of this incredible thing!!!

    — June 28, 2011 @ 10:55

  7. katuro said:

    “Urban Farm Store: A great Place to Pick Up Chicks!
    If you are new to chicken keeping, consider taking one of our classes. Chicks arrive at the store on the dates indicated on the calendar. They are sold on a first come, first served basis. Most breeds are $5.95 each and the chicks are typically 3-10 days old.

    We offer pre-sales during January and early February only with a 3 chick minimum. All pre-sale and special order chicks cost an extra dollar each and are subject to hatchery availability at time of shipping. Any purchased chicks that turn out to be unavailable will be refunded. Pre-ordered chicks must be picked up on the day of their arrival or they will be resold starting the next day with no refund to you.

    We sell only sexed (95% female, except bantams which are straight run only) & vaccinated female chicks and have all the supplies youâ??ll need. We keep several standard breeds in stock and always have a few rare breeds on hand. We also have a limited selection of started pullets for those wishing to obtain more mature birds. See Calendar and Events page for complete future chick arrival schedule”

    — October 10, 2011 @ 21:15

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    […] year, allows 40 children at a time to experience science through interactive technologies such as hydroponic vegetable farming, aquaponics, raised soil beds, solar panels,  rainwater catchment system, weather station, wind […]

    — November 16, 2011 @ 17:39

  9. Agen Bola said:

    What an incredible idea! I can see this reinventing Main Street.

    — August 17, 2012 @ 02:23

  10. Urban Vertical Farm and Pick-it-Yourself Market | Urban Gardens | Unlimited Thinking For Limited Spaces | Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] prototype, The Farmery, is an urban variation of a rural farm market: an all-in-one neighborhood urban food farm and retail farmer’s market that consolidates the food system by growing and selling the food […]

    — January 5, 2013 @ 13:58

  11. An Empty Swimming Pool Transformed Into an Urban Permaculture Farm - Urban Gardens Pingback said:

    […] with a pool that needed costly major repairs, they came up with a solution: transform it into a permaculture greenhouse and urban […]

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