Square Roots officially opens their newest indoor farm, in partnership with Gordon Food Service—one of the largest food service distributors in North America. As the first step in their strategic relationship, they’ve jointly created a 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.
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 their first co-located farm is opening just six months later. This speed is possible thanks to their modular, scalable farm-tech platform. They can bring their model—perfected in a Brooklyn parking lot—to any city in the world, and fast.
As their 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 them 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 their 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 the food taste so good. The 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 the 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.
Assistant Farm Manager Eli Zimmer (left) and Next-Gen Farmers (right) working in Square Roots’ climate-controlled, indoor farms.
Square Roots Next-Gen Farmers
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, they will be announcing ways to meet the local farmers and see the campus first hand.