Square Roots, an urban farming accelerator, forges direct connections between farmers and consumers and is growing a food revolution in a Brooklyn factory parking lot.
Each Square Roots farmer-entrepreneur raises the crops of their choosing inside converted, engineered shipping containers. Some of the farmers participate in a subscription program, where they deliver just-harvested greens to workers at local companies on a weekly basis. Others focus on selling to a specific restaurant or market.
The Square Roots office is located inside the sprawling former Pfizer factory complex that is now home to a host of NYC food businesses, from artisan ice pops and vegan donut bakers to grocery delivery giants Fresh Direct. The venture is supported by Kimbal Musk (brother of Elon), who is focused on changing the way Americans eat through a "real food revolution."
The shipping container farms are climate controlled and protected from the elements - enabling the farmers to grow fresh, local greens year round.
Nabeela Lakhani is part of a year-long cohort of ten aspiring farmer-entrepreneurs. She raises spicy mustard greens, kale, and chard in her container farm.
Each container can support the the equivalent of two acres worth of crops and only needs about eight gallons of water a day.
Crops are GMO-free and grown in hanging, vertical planters that can be moved when it comes time to harvest. A hydroponic system delivers water and the nutrients plants need to grow.
“I was studying public health and nutrition in college at NYU and realized that I wanted to address the root cause of many of our health challenges in the United States: our food system,” explained Nabeela. After graduation she decided to pursue urban farming to learn how to change our food systems directly.
Farmers harvest their greens and hand deliver them each week directly to Square Roots members who work in offices all around around New York City.
In the kitchen staff can prepare meals and sample the farm's bounty.
Square Roots trains their cohort of farmer entrepreneurs in sustainable business and farming techniques.
Square Roots brings together technology, entrepreneurship, and a passion for fresh, local food to create a new vision for urban agriculture.