Hydroponic News

Urban Farming The Vertical Way

With the current trend for home working becoming more popular than ever, it’s estimated that demand for office space could drop by up to fifty percent. This means employee desk space will likely be reduced by fifty percent or more too.

With the occupancy rate in offices at an all time low, what are businesses going to do with this new look office space?

Urban Farming

One idea which is being explored is to convert unused space into urban farms. For companies that do not have much or any outdoor space in their office, investing in a vertical farm is a method of growing plants without the need for soil, sunlight or water. Instead of growing plants horizontally across soil, they can be stacked vertically in trays, therefore saving space.

This isn’t a new concept however as indoor vertical urban farming projects have been sprouting up all over the world. Businesses in densely populated places such as New York, Hong Kong and Singapore are turning to vertical farms as a way to put the food supply directly in the hands of communities whilst utilising otherwise wasted space and resources.

Case Study: Pasona Urban Farm

A few years ago, in Tokyo, one such project, the Pasona Urban Farm, was started in a nine-storey office building by the Pasona Group Company.

The urban farm was created to engage the local community in agricultural activity in the hope of generating interest in working within the agricultural sector, as well as providing cleaner air and a more relaxed environment for the employees.

Incorporating an urban farm into the office also meant that the produce didn’t have to be transported so employees and the local community could enjoy fresher greens packed full of nutrients.

The project included a roof top garden and indoor facilities for urban agriculture including hydroponic systems.

There were over 200 varieties of crop grown in over 43,000 square feet. Crops of fruit, vegetables, and rice were then harvested, prepared, and served in the office canteens.

The crops grown were suspended over conference tables and the reception area even featured a broccoli field.

Salad leaves growing inside seminar rooms, bean sprouts growing under benches, lemon trees used as partitions between meeting spaces, and vines growing within vertical cages were just some of the produce on offer.

The building had a double-skinned facade where flowers and orange trees were planted on balconies giving the appearance that the building was draped in green foliage.

Grow The Hydroponics Way

Ultra-modern hydroponic systems make it possible to professionally grow vegetables and herbs in this environmentally friendly way.

Using LED lighting, vertical and stackable growing trays, and a sophisticated heating and watering system minimises water use, and maximises productivity.

Hydroponics allows for the plant’s environment to be controlled so it mimics the perfect growing conditions. This in turn maximises yield and allows plants to grow all year round.

The Pasona project saw ducts and pipes re-routed to the perimeter of the building and a climate control system used to monitor humidity, temperature and air flow in the building to ensure it was safe for the employees and for the crops.

After moving offices, the company has since created the Pasona Urban Ranch, a mix of office space, urban farm, and animal farm. The aim is to raise interest in both agriculture and dairy farming.

Urban farming is growing in popularity in densely populated cities as a way to educate communities about where their food comes from, as well as encouraging communities to have a go at growing their own regardless of the space they have.

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