City Cast

3 Questions With: Area 2 Farms

Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Kaela Cote-Stemmermann
Posted on May 19   |   Updated on June 5
Tyler Baras picking some lettuce at Area 2 Farms. (Priyanka Tilve, City Cast DC)

Tyler Baras picking some lettuce at Area 2 Farms. (Priyanka Tilve, City Cast DC)

Area 2 Farms in Arlington is not what you imagine when you think of a farm. It's indoors and has bizarre plants that taste like roasted garlic, cheese, or oysters. And, this vertical farm is fighting climate change with all kinds of sustainable techniques. We were able to chat with its founder Tyler Baras all about it.

How does an urban farm work? How do you find the space to meet demand?

“It's really only possible because we do vertical. It’s difficult to get enough space to actually produce and feed a hundred families every week. We stack our farm up, so we have eight levels of soil and have a huge farm in a small footprint. It may seem a bit futuristic, but we're really trying to work with the natural processes, work with what the plant would want. So we water them in the morning just like you would outdoors, and they slowly move up to their morning, midday, and night lights, and then they come back down."

What’s it like being a farmer on a non-vertical farm?

"There's still a decent amount of labor. We're still planting seeds, transplanting, and harvesting, but it's more sustainable labor. So traditionally on a farm you might be bending over all the time. Our work is far more ergonomic, and it's way more enjoyable. We have music playing, and it's more fun. Part of this farm is really to try to make it better for the farmers and trying to find something that's more sustainable for their bodies."

What's next for Area 2 Farms?

"We're increasing production and going to be doing a hundred deliveries every week. We'd also like to build another 10 of these in the nearby region. Right now, we are serving our local neighborhood, so our average customer is less than four miles away. So there could be one 10 miles from here and it still would have its own neighborhood base to serve."

P.S. We were able to tour the farm (and you can, too!) and try some of their crazy-tasting veggies for our podcast. You can listen to the whole thing here!

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