Editorial: The ultimate in grow your own?

The houses of the future will be self-sufficient biospheres, according to this prototype

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When is a house not just a place to live? When it is a self-sufficient biosphere, according to Vincent Walsh.

The PhD student’s prototype – to be showcased at next month’s Manchester Festival – turns a disused mill into a vertical farm producing everything from mushrooms to fish to salad leaves over its several storeys. And that is just the start, says Mr Walsh; chicken coops and bee hives are to come on the roof.

The plan certainly has much bucolic appeal. As does the notion of a local supermarket as a producer as well as a retailer; food crops growing on its walls. Whether or not a diet substituting perennial kale for inefficient, once-a-year beans and tomatoes tempts the jaded palates of Britain’s multitudes is another question, however. As, indeed, is the small matter of how such ideas might work in the suburban semi, let alone the inner-city terrace. Best start trawling repeats of The Good Life for ideas.

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