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Brooklyn farming startup aims to feed an urban world

Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 01:59

Square Roots is training 'entrepreneurial farmers' to grow food inside shipping containers in an effort to revolutionize farming for an ever-more-urban world.

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Erik Groszyk used to spend all day at his desk working as an investment banker. Now he cultivates his own urban farm out of a 40-foot shipping container in a Brooklyn parking lot. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) ERIK GROSZYK, SAYING: 'I just found myself not satisfied and kind of yearning for more.' The Harvard grad is one of 10 'entrepreneurial farmers,' selected from a batch of 500 applicants, working with Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company launched in November that grows local food year-round in the heart of New York City. Now, six months into the program, Groszyk said his training in farming, artificial lighting, water chemistry and nutrient balance allows him to harvest roughly 15 to 20 pounds of produce each week. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) SQUARE ROOTS CO-FOUNDER TOBIAS PEGGS, SAYING: 'People have lost trust in the food system, right? They want real food where they know their farmer, they know where their food is coming from, and they trust their food.' Tobias Peggs, along with his co-founder Kimbal Musk, the younger brother of Tesla's Elon Musk, aim to spread out to as many American cities as they possibly can in the next five to 10 years. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) SQUARE ROOTS CO-FOUNDER TOBIAS PEGGS, SAYING: "By 2050 there will be nine billion people on the planet and 70 percent will leave in urban areas. These people need feeding, and they will want local, real food." Square Roots sells food locally. It also plans to launch more urban farms, for others to operate, and will own a share in those farms' revenues as well. Peggs says the company, by getting hyper-local, is looking to join a global food revolution. (SOUNDBITE)(ENGLISH) SQUARE ROOTS CO-FOUNDER TOBIAS PEGGS, SAYING: 'America's is the world's great, greatest exporter. Right? We exported rock and roll, we exported Levi's jeans. We also exported obesity. And the feeling is, if we can solve that, in America, through initiatives like Square Roots, bringing real food to everyone, getting more people on a healthy, low-cost, sustainable food system, that we'll also be able to export that solution.'

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Brooklyn farming startup aims to feed an urban world

Tuesday, June 06, 2017 - 01:59