A group takes a tour of Area 2 Farms. Area 2 Farms. Credit: Smithsonian

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, D.C. 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, Virginia, 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 […]

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