Subway-Grown Greens

Tokyo’s subway system is regularly regarded as one of the world’s best, but they must think they have the whole public transportation thing down, because they are moving on from moving people to growing produce. Using space between two stations in the east of the city, Tokyo Metro has set up an indoor, hydroponic growing facility, where it will produce lettuce under the name Tokyo Salad.

The Metro hopes to capitalize on the growing desire to eat local—a difficult task in a city as dense as Tokyo—and promises lettuce so fresh and so clean that it doesn’t even require washing. Tokyo Metro isn’t the first nontraditional outlet to promise outstanding produce. Back in November, Toshiba harvested its first “clean” lettuce from a facility similar to the subway-operated one.

But it’s impressive to think that in Japan they can run one of the world’s busiest, most efficient and least expensive subway systems in the world, and here in New York they keep relentlessly raising fares but can still barely get it together to install PA systems that produce audible English.

Cultivation of Tokyo Salad romaine, mesclun and leaf lettuce began in January, and the company expects their greens to hit local stores and restaurants very soon.