Urban farming with a cause
Working on a story on vertical farming in Asia, I came across Pasona - a recruiting firm whose Tokyo office space doubles up as an urban farm.
Of the 215,000 square feet space in the nine-storey corporate office building in Otemachi, about 20 per cent (43,000 square feet) is green space: staff can harvest 200 species of fruit, vegetables and rice here, most of which are used in the office's cafeterias.
What impressed me the most about this farm-to-table, zero-food-mileage office was the reason behind this conscious use of space: the recruitment firm "believed in the benefits of (an) urban farm and green space to engage the public and to provide a better workspace for their employees," said its designer, Kono Designs, in a press release.
Pasona's long-term goal is to reverse this declining trend of farming as a profession and to ensure sustainable future food production, while bringing benefits to its employees and the public who use their space.
The next time you're in the Tokyo's Otemachi area, check this space out. The rice fields -- and a few other spaces -- are open to the public. Although I was not able to find information on tours of the building, I've read that these are conducted, as are special events like the Rose Festa in May 2015. Regular lunchtime concerts are free, but cafeterias seem to only be open to employees.
If you'd like to see more of Pasona's space and learn about its philosophy, Monocle magazine has a good video exploring its role as an urban farm, here.
The photos in the slide show were provided by Kono Designs.