With office usage hovering near 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels, many cities are struggling with a plethora of under-utilized space. Why not dedicate those desks and cubicles to growing food?
In an old paper company and warehouse building, machines are whirring again. But instead of reams of paper pressed and cut, this warehouse is home to Area 2 Farms, which now pumps out greens, herbs, and root vegetables. There’s even a weekly CSA serving customers year-round, all in an effort to bring locally grown food to the Washington, DC, area. Really local. “When was the last time you picked up a strawberry and could confidently say you knew the farmer’s name?” asks Jackie Potter.
Potter, along with Tyler Baras, helped co-found the farm in Arlington, VA, where office vacancy rates reached 23.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic drove workers out of their offices over three years ago, many office buildings still remain deserted. According to data gathered in 10 major cities, office usage rates just crossed 50 percent of pre-pandemic levels in late January, and these numbers seem to be stalling only a few months later. Nearly 20 percent of office space is empty across the United States, and some projections suggest that more than 300 million square feet of US office space could be obsolete by 2030. The pandemic has shown that people are capable (and, in some cases, in favor) of working in a remote setting.
Read more at modernfarmer.com