U.S. News


Indoor vertical farms fill empty office space as the industry grows

Indoor farming is expected to grow considerably in the next few years, which could help fill the empty offices remote workers left behind.
Indoor farm inside former Brooklyn factory.
Posted at 12:20 PM, Jul 12, 2023

Office usage remains well below pre-pandemic levels, prompting questions about the future of buildings. 

According to Kastle, whose KastlePresence service supplies key fobs and locks for office buildings, offices are utilized about half as much as they were before the pandemic. The company uses app and key fob data from 41,000 businesses it secures. 

The company's data shows that office usage has held steady at about 50% since early this year in America's 10 largest metro areas. 

One possible result of all this unused office space is implementing vertical farming space. According to a report from Research and Markets,the global market for vertical farming is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2022 to $10.3 billion in 2030. 

Truck collecting freshly harvested grain.

Sustainable farming: How technology can optimize food production

New research unites technology with farming expertise to develop diverse agricultural landscapes based on natural ecosystems.


Technavio authored a similar report, showing that demand for vertical farming could grow in the coming decade. It says rising demand for food source is a major factor in its growth. 

"To produce high quantities of food products without depending on favorable climatic conditions, vertical farming offers a revolutionary approach. However, with the increasing population, the demand for food production is also increasing," Technavio said in a report this month. "Technologies used in vertical farming can significantly be used with different farming systems in multi-level designs and deliver more area than single-level systems."

One such example of a building being repurposed for farming came earlier this year in Brooklyn. Farm.One took a former garment factory and turned it into a provider of fresh produce and herbs for Michelin star-rated and other high-end restaurants. 

In addition to its farm, it also has a showroom and private event space where its products can be consumed. 

"In order to succeed, urban indoor farming requires an approach that is more than just growing healthier and tastier greens indoors," said Farm.One managing partner Derek Pitts. "You need a neighborhood-centric presence that is incredibly engaged with chefs, consumers and communities. Our urban farms are places where people can gather, hang out, taste, experiment and live the experience."