Indoor-farming company Square Rootsand Gordon Food Service, one of the largest food distributors in North America, have opened a new climate-controlled indoor farm in Kenosha, Wis., to provide sustainable produce for local consumers in Kenosha as well as the broader Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas.
The new farm in Kenosha harnesses Square Roots’ smart-farm technology platform and software-controlled hydroponic growing systems to produce more food with fewer resources 365 days a year, regardless of outdoor weather conditions. According to the company, Square Roots’ approach uses 95% less water than conventional field farms and features repurposed urban infrastructure — creating ideal growing climates inside refurbished upcycled shipping containers that are stacked vertically to reduce the company’s impact on the land. By deploying a network of local farms in cities like Kenosha, Square Roots also ensures a shorter supply chain, reducing food miles and minimizing food waste. Its pesticide- and GMO-free produce has at least 14 days of extended shelf life.
“Our partnership with Gordon Food Service, combined with our modular smart-farm platform, means we can rapidly deploy new indoor farms in strategically located cities like Kenosha,” said Tobias Peggs, co-founder and CEO of New York-based Square Roots. “We are also able to create exciting jobs in the community while making locally grown food available all year round to new consumers in nearby Chicago and Milwaukee, significantly expanding our reach in the Midwest.”
The new climate-controlled, cloud-connected facility is the company's third farm in partnership with Gordon Food Service, as well as the largest farm that the company has built to date. Square Roots now has a total of four farms in North America, including a commercial-scale indoor farm in Michigan.
“This new farm in Kenosha also accelerates our shared vision to build indoor farms together across the continent,” said Rich Wolowski, CEO of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Gordon Food Service. “Together with Square Roots, Gordon Food Service is enabling local food at a global scale, meeting increased demand for produce that is fresher, responsibly grown, and traceable from seed to shelf.”
The first harvests of herbs such as basil and parsley, alongside salad mixes and microgreens, at the Kenosha farm are scheduled for spring 2022. The Kenosha farm has the capacity to produce more than 2.4 million packages of herbs and leafy greens annually.
Square Roots’ range of fresh produce is available in more than 250 retail locations around the country, including Whole Foods Market, FreshDirect, Fresh Thyme Market, Meijer, Morton Williams, Busch’s Fresh Food Market, SpartanNash corporate stores and Gordon Food Service Stores.
Because produce grown in controlled environments is becoming more common in grocery stores,Square Roots debuted a new brand identity last month to help stand out among the indoor-farming competition.