In a country with very little arable land (only 12% compared with 20% in the US), in one of the most populated cities in the world, one company chose to give up 43,000 square feet of valuable workspace to grow food. In the Tokyo headquarters of human resources company Pasona Group they grow 200 species of fruits and vegetables and even rice that are harvested and served to employees.
The indoor urban farm doesn’t just provide food, but by mixing work space and farm space, the company tries to provide a healthier quality of life for employees. Here green isn’t just a window dressing: immediately upon entering the building you walk over a 1,000-square-foot rice paddy, continue through an okra field and you enter the vine-covered “tomato guest room” or the “vegetable factory” filled with hundreds of hydroponic heads of lettuce. On the second floor, fruit trees form partition walls between meeting spaces, bean sprouts are grown under benches and herbs grow on shelving along the walls.
Even the outside of the building is covered in plants helping keep the building cool in summer and warmer in winter. According to the farm’s designers Kono Designs, “it is the largest and most direct farm-to-table of its kind ever realized inside an office building in Japan.”