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Indoor farm and retail farm store coming to Arlington County

Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced that Area 2 Farms, a Public Benefit Corporation, will operate a new organic, indoor farm and retail farm store in Arlington County. In addition to growing and selling fresh produce, the company’s plans include the production of value-added products featuring items grown at Area 2 Farms.

Area 2 Farms uses proprietary indoor growing technology that incorporates micro-robotics, and more efficiently manages heat and humidity allowing the facility to produce hundreds of different crops – all while using 25% fewer LED lights than typical indoor farms. All the food grown at the farm is not only nutrient-rich but sustainably grown as well. Area 2 Farms is a truly local farm, directly serving the community within 10 miles of its location. Over the next three years, the project will create 30 new jobs, more than $1.8 million of new capital investment, and produce nearly $3.6 million of Virginia-grown leafy greens, herbs, root vegetables, alliums, and fruits.

“Today’s announcement is further evidence that Virginia is open for business and businesses are ready to take advantage of our growing entrepreneurial ecosystem. The surging consumer demand to create exciting new enterprises will add to the Commonwealth’s quality of life,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin. “I thank Area 2 Farms for their investment in the Commonwealth and look forward to their future growth and success.”

The farmers of Area 2 Farms, Tyler Baras and Nate Arias bring substantial entrepreneurial and innovative agricultural experience to the project. Mr. Baras, who serves as the Chief Scientific Officer, is the author of three best-selling books on indoor agriculture, previously served in a leadership role at the indoor vertical farming company, Plenty, and has managed numerous indoor farms across the U.S. Mr. Arias, who serves as Head Farmer, has previously worked at greenhouses and farms across the country and has specialized in controlled environment agriculture.

“It is always exciting when successful entrepreneurs like those behind Area 2 Farms bring their ideas and technologies to help grow Virginia’s largest and oldest industry, agriculture,” said Secretary of Ag & Forestry Matthew Lohr. “This project adds to the region’s growing cluster of innovative, indoor urban agricultural operations and shows us how the Commonwealth’s oldest industry will remain a vital and growing part of the Virginia economy going forward.”

“The opportunity to build a true neighborhood farm is the most exciting endeavor of my career,” said Area 2 Farms Chief Scientific Officer Tyler Baras. “The connection between people and their food has grown too distant. This distance forces farmers to select crops well suited for transportation routes instead of focusing on which root crops taste best! A true neighborhood farm can grow crops you’ve likely never even tried. If you think kale was a hot trend, wait till you try the sour purple shamrock, sweet borage flowers or crunchy purslane”.

“Urban farming like that at Area 2 Farms saves natural resources and helps promote sustainability and resilience, values that are important to the Arlington community,” said Arlington County Board Chair Katie Cristol. “We welcome Area 2 Farms to Arlington and look forward to partnering with and learning from them as we embrace the future of a nutritious, sustainable food supply.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Arlington County to secure the project for the Commonwealth. Governor Youngkin approved a $40,000 grant from the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund, which Arlington County will match with local funds. 

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