You'd have to be living under a rock to not know that the world is on the brink of a food crisis. With a population projected to reach nine billion in 2050, and growing concerns over sustainability, farming, and the environment, an enormous opportunity has emerged for innovators and entrepreneurs to develop creative solutions to feed both local communities and the population at large. Enter Kimbal Musk (co-founder of The Kitchen) and Tobias Peggs, who, today, will announce the launch of Square Roots, a new "urban farming accelerator" currently taking applications for its first class of new-gen food entrepreneurs.
"Young people contact me all the time to articulate issues with the industrial food system, but they are frustrated by their perceived inability to do anything about it," says Musk (who is, notably, the brother of superentrepreneur Elon). "It's relatively easy to set up a tech company, join an accelerator, and progress down a pathway towards success. It's more complex to do that with food. Seeing this frustration—and pent-up energy—was a big part of the original inspiration for co-founding Square Roots."
The first Square Roots location, at the old Pfizer factory in Brooklyn's Bedford-Stuyvesant, will house "climate-controlled, indoor, hydroponic vertical farms" where non-GMO produce will be grown year-round. Using key learnings from Freight Farms and ZipGrow, food entrepreneurs will be able to harvest the equivalent of two acres' yield from a 320 square foot urban space—using 80 percent less water than outdoor farming.