By Jonny Tiernan
There has been a growing trend of inner city farms emerging in recent years. Berlin’s Infarm is an example of a company that is helping cities to become more self-sufficient in their food production, and now Square Roots is establishing itself as a leading light in urban agriculture. The Brooklyn-based startup has just raised $5.4 million in seed funding that will be used to empower food entrepreneurs and increase urban farming across the US.
An increasing percentage of the world’s population are living in cities, and this number is set to keep growing. Square Roots wants to help develop ways for inner city populations to have access to locally produced, healthy food, as opposed to the food that is currently produced on an industrial scale.
The company was founded by Kimbal Musk (yes, he is related to Elon Musk actually, they’re brothers) and Tobias Pegg with the purpose of spurring a food revolution. They want to help entrepreneurs to learn how to grow and sell their own food crops.
The startup does this by creating indoor hydroponic farms that grow food all year round. Groups of entrepreneurs are taken on for a 12-month program, where they learn how to produce and distribute their crop to the city. It opened the first of these farms in Brooklyn earlier this year, with 10 entrepreneurs taking part, growing and harvesting fresh greens that are delivered to customers in more than 80 office locations in NYC. It’s a way of connecting customers directly to farmers, and strengthening the connection between the source and the consumer.
Collaborative Fund is the leading funder in the round, supplying a $2 million injection. The funding will spur the next stage in Square Roots’ development, with the startup now looking for a second US city to open a new farm in. Collaborative Fund has previously invested in giants such as Kickstarter and Sweetgreen, so with that kind of backing we might be seeing Square Roots farms cropping up in a lot more cities in the near future.
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