“Let’s get together and make the world a better place!” We often hear such sentiments. Sometimes we even hear ourselves uttering these words. As often as not they are just words, but some folks infuse their words with purpose and follow-through. The people associated with Square Roots Grow just might be some of those people.
Launched in August 2016 by co-founders Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk (brother of entrepreneur Elon Musk), Square Roots Grow describes itself as representing “an urban farming accelerator powered by human ingenuity, technology, and most importantly a deep love for local, real food.” Eh…OK…So what is it—really? Well, can you image ten, two-acre farms in Brooklyn, NY—in a parking lot no less? CEO Tobias Peggs describes the plan.
Each farm is housed in a climate-controlled, hydroponic shipping container that takes up only about 320 square feet, producing approximately the same yield as two acres of traditional farm land.
The food is grown without soil, under special lighting, using no pesticides or preservatives and consuming as few resources possible. Since all crops are grown in an enclosed environment, food can be produced year round.
Peggs suggests Square Roots Grow is attempting to address the unreliability of industrialized food systems. Additionally, one of the not-so-obvious advantages of such a system is that farmers can sell their produce fresh—really fresh—hours, not days after it is harvested. Imagine small bags of greens, delivered to an office in Manhattan, only hours after it has been harvested.
Farmer Nabeela Lakhani harvesting her crops
Seeking to help young, urbanites launch innovative food startups, Square Root Grows works directly with would-be farmers, teaching them the process, then, once the crops are harvested, the company takes a percentage of the revenue.
If the New York pilot launch catches on, the company has plans to build such farms in twenty cities by 2020.
If you interested in finding out more or becoming a part of such an endeavor, explore the possibilities.
For more technical information about this process, take a look at this video from Motherboard. (Note: This video gives the erroneous impression that “Max”, the farmer, is the originator of the process).
Square Roots Grow is not the only game in town. Next week, we will present a broader view of the idea of vertical farms, urban barns and other food production innovations.