Bringing farming to the office

Urban agriculture is an emerging carbon-efficient approach around world by ensuring food security, cutting supply chain and make local eat.

One questioning people are keeping asking is, can urban area hold enough production capability to supply the whole city? The prospects of urban agriculture seem bright: There are 22 countries that could supply their cities by farming less than 10 percent of urban land. Furthermore, 39 percent of the global population lives in countries that could feed urban populations by farming less than a quarter of city land.

Through all urban agriculture projects I have visited and read, most of them are planned and constructed in the residential area. P-Patches, which take the majority of urban agriculture projects in Seattle are regulated by Seattle Department of Neighborhoods and operated by community participants. It is an amazing way to stimulate liveliness of the community and benefit the city environment in a greater context.

However, when urban farming is brought to the office, with compact high-rise buildings, the carbon-efficiency generated is by far higher.


Pasona Urban Farm

The creation of the new headquarters for Japanese recruitment firm Pasona consisted of refurbishing a 50-year-old building to include office areas, an auditorium, cafeterias, a rooftop garden and urban farming facilities. Inside the 19,974 square metre office building there are 3995 square metres dedicated to green space that house over 200 species of plants, fruits, vegetables and rice.

The building has a double-skin green facade where flowers and orange trees are planted on small balconies. From the outside, the office block appears to be draped in green foliage.


Pasona Urban Farm

“The change in the way local people think and what they talk about was always one of the long-term goals of the project. It is important not to just think about how we can use our natural resources better from a distance, but to actively engage with nature and create new groups of people who have a deep interest and respect for the world they live in,” said Kono.


Pasona Urban farm, children are harvesting rice.

Pros of urban-farming installed in office building:

  • With the compact design of space, the area of farming installed and utilized in a high-rise building is far more than its counterpart of an open-air ground community farm when they occupy the same area.
  • It seems more carefulness will be put into the regulation and maintenance in urban farming facilities in the office building, since people work here every day.
  • It offers great recreational and educational purposes for the employees, and it is easy for them to engage since the only thing you need to do to take care of your farm is taking an elevator.
  • Food harvested has been cooked and eaten in a shorter period and simpler process also because, people spend quite amount time in their working place and they need to eat here either.

Pasona Urban Farm, Dining Area

In spite of these advantages, one thing we cannot ignore is combining urban farming in high-rise building needs through and restrictive design effort, and the cost on the amenities and facilities would be huge. Wide application of this approach might need long-term assessment.



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