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Opening Today! The First Square Roots Indoor Farm with Gordon Food Service

Square Roots | 09.30.19

We’re excited today to officially open our newest indoor farm, in partnership with Gordon Food Service—one of the largest foodservice distributors in North America. As the first step in our strategic relationship, we’ve jointly created a fantastic new Farm Campus at the Gordon Food Service Home Office in Michigan—with a much larger ambition to build indoor farms across the continent together.

Square Roots and Gordon Food Service new Michigan Farm Campus

Renderings of the new Square Roots Farm Campus, growing local food for Gordon Food Service customers all year round. (Credit: Via Chicago Architects + Diseñadores)

Square Roots’ partnership with Gordon Food Service was announced at the end of March, and our first co-located farm is opening just six months later. This speed is possible thanks to our modular, scalable farm-tech platform. We can bring our model—perfected in a Brooklyn parking lot—to any city in the world, and we can do it fast.

As our network of farms gets larger, it also gets smarter. Cloud-connected farms and data-empowered farmers learn from each other, enabling Square Roots to replicate success from one location to another, seamlessly. Opening the Michigan farm brings us closer to the vision of a distributed network of indoor farms, bringing local, real food to people in cities across the world—while empowering thousands of next-gen leaders in urban farming through our unique training program.

The Square Roots Michigan Next-Gen Farmers

Meet the Square Roots Michigan Cohort (left to right): Rebekah Box, Winn Hermanski, Katie LaRue, Savie Sonsynath, Jacob Smaby, Jarad Jaent, Joshua Van Kleeck, Alyssa Patton, Amal Jennings.

The New Michigan Farm

This new farm consists of ten cloud-connected Square Roots Climate Containers, employing sophisticated, digitally-controlled hydroponics and full-spectrum LED lighting systems from our partner Signify. It will produce more than 50,000 lbs of premium herbs and greens annually. Initial crops will include basil, chives, and mint — harvested all year long — and will be grown without the use of GMOs or pesticides. After being hand-harvested by the Square Roots farm team, herbs are distributed by Gordon Food Service to customers in Grand Rapids, as well as throughout Michigan, northern Indiana, and Ohio.

Of course, at the center of the Square Roots model are the farmers themselves. It’s their love for each plant that makes our food taste so good. Our Next-Gen Farmer Training Program provides a unique opportunity for young people to get started in the industry and take their place at the forefront of urban agriculture. Former Next-Gen Famer, Eli Zimmer, is joining our Michigan team as Assistant Farm Manager. His advancement to farm management is just one example of the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program creating pathways to leadership roles for young farmers.

Square Roots Next-Gen Farmers

Assistant Farm Manager Eli Zimmer (left) and Next-Gen Farmers (right) working in Square Roots’ climate-controlled, indoor farms.

Square Roots Cofounder and CEO, Tobias Peggs, noted, “This partnership with Gordon Food Service reflects our shared commitment to local, real food, and at a scale that will serve people and communities across North America. And with each new Square Roots farm, the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program opens doors for more young people to start exciting careers in the agriculture industry.”

As the Square Roots Michigan Farm Campus ramps up production to bring locally grown food to people in the Michigan area, we will be announcing ways to meet your local farmer and see the campus first hand. Be sure to follow Square Roots online @squarerootsgrow and sign up for our newsletter for more information about the campus and the Michigan team.

For more information, subscribe to the Square Roots newsletter and follow @squarerootsgrow for updates.

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