- Indoor farming startup Square Roots has announced the location for its first "urban farm campus" at Gordon Food Service's headquarters in Wyoming, Michigan, according to a press release emailed to Grocery Dive. The two companies first announced their partnership a few weeks ago.
- The flagship farm campus will include 10 specially designed Square Roots shipping containers for direct production and four more for operational support. The containers will take up less than two acres of land on Gordon’s 50-acre site and will generate more than 50,000 pounds of non-GMO, pesticide-free herbs and greens a year.
- The herbs and greens grown on the campus will be sold commercially to chefs and to consumers who shop at Gordon Food Service’s retail stores. The construction and installation of the farm campus is expected to be complete this fall and will be operational immediately.
This will be the first of several urban campuses that Square Roots builds on Gordon Food Service sites, and launching at Gordon Food Service's headquarters will give the food distributor the ability to oversee the operation and have a better understanding of how it will distribute and sell the herbs and greens that Square Roots produces.
"This partnership brings together technology, agriculture, young farmers, and scalability, in a model that could revolutionize our food systems," Rich Wolowski, North American President and CEO of Gordon Food Services, said in a statement. "And it’s wonderful to be starting in our own backyard.”
Until now, all of Square Roots’ containers have been located in Brooklyn, but with the limited amount of space available in that area, the only way to expand is to go outside the region. This first farm campus will serve as a template for its future farms on other Gordon sites, giving both companies the flexibility to see what works and what doesn't before deploying to other locations.
In addition, Square Roots is bringing its Next-Gen Farmer Training Program to Gordon’s headquarters, and this new location opens the opportunity to more people who see a future in farming. This is especially useful in the Midwest where agricultural production is a big business, and also helpful as indoor farming gets more popular in the U.S. With the training program, Square Roots will have a lineup of future employees and the hands-on-deck it needs for additional campuses.
Indoor farming is projected to be a $3 billion market by 2024 as unpredictable weather conditions, the push for sustainability and more impact traditional farming. Some states offer tax benefits and incentives for sustainable farming as well, such as Michigan's Farmland and Open Space Preservation Act.