On September 30th, Square Roots will cut the ribbon and officially open its newest indoor farm on the Gordon Food Service headquarters in Wyoming, Michigan. The company said this is the beginning of a strategic partnership that will see Square Roots’ high-tech farms built on or near Gordon Food Service locations across the continent.
Square Roots’ partnership with Gordon Food Service was announced at the end of March, with the first co-located farm opening six months later. Square Roots' says this speed is possible thanks to the modular, scalable farm-tech platform.
Each farm is described as "smart" - with digital technology allowing farmers to learn from each other. The company says that opening the Michigan farm brings it closer to the vision of a distributed network of indoor farms.
Next-Gen Farmer Training Program
Square Roots wants to encourage more young people to take up farming as a career. To help with this, it has launched the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program. "There’s never been a more exciting time to forge a new career in farming, and contribute to the real food revolution," the company said. "The Square Roots Next-Gen Farmer Training Program is an incredible opportunity for young, diverse change-makers to learn and take their place at the forefront of urban agriculture."
According to Square Roots', thousands of people have applied for the program. The Michigan farm has seen a similar response. "We saw an incredibly diverse group of applicants, with about half local to the Michigan area, and others from as far away as Singapore and Nigeria - although we are currently only open to US residents," it said. "We’ve also been fortunate to attract exceptional talent to the management team in Michigan. Brian Mitchell, our new Farm Manager, is coming to us from a 87,000 sq. ft. indoor aquaponic facility in Minnesota. And joining us as Assistant Farm Managers are Lauren Niergarth, a horticulture major from Michigan State University, and Eli Zimmer, a former Next-Gen Farmer from our Brooklyn farm. Eli’s advancement to farm management is just one example of the Next-Gen Farmer Training Program creating pathways to leadership roles for young farmers."
In conclusion, Square Root's says it is excited to begin its partnership with Gordon Food Service. “Customers want fresh, locally grown food all year round,” says CEO of Gordon Food Service, Rich Wolowski “We’re now on a path to do that at scale with Square Roots.”