With its experience in safely operating subway line -Tokyo Metro to cultivate safe-to-eat vegetables under tracks
When Remi Takahara joined Tokyo Metro, she never expected to end up growing vegetables for the subway operator. But that has emerged as a new business venture for the company to cash in on underneath elevated railway track in Japan’s busy capital. Tokyo Metro, in cooperation with Metro Development is hydroponically growing Korean lettuce, basil, chicory, arugula and other leafy vegetables without the use of pesticides in a prefabricated warehouse near the Tozai Line Nishi-Kasai Station in Edogawa Ward. According to Tokyo Metro officials, user can eat the vegetables without rinsing them, and has a long shell life.
The quality and appearance leafy vegetables are good. A company employee came up with the idea three years ago during a brainstorming session when Tokyo Metro was looking for ways to make the best use of the space underneath the tracks. For Tokyo Metro the venture should not come as a surprise as its experience in safely operating a subway line should help it cultivate safe-to-eat produce.
The growing facility, called the Metro Vegetable Center, occupies a space where a liquor shop once stood. Nearly 75 square meters of the center’s 250 square meters is dedicated to cultivation. Artificial light is used to grow the produce. The temperature in the facility is set at 25 degrees while humidity is maintained at 60 to 70 percent. About 120 heads of various leafy vegetables are harvested daily. Tokyo Metro sold its first produce to local restaurants and shops in the area in March. A bag of leafy vegetables it advertises as Tokyo Salad sells for 200 yen ($1.60). Tokyo Metro will decide on fully entering the agriculture business after a two-year trial period.