Indoor-farming company Square Roots has joined forces with URB-E, a compact container delivery network that aims to replace trucks with small electric vehicles, on fast, local delivery of Square Roots’ responsibly grown greens. Since last December, the fleet has been delivering fresh produce grown at Square Roots’ indoor farm in Brooklyn, N.Y., to retail stores across New York City.
The network’s containerized system provides capacity for insulated cold-storage bags to protect fresh produce, leading to faster loading and unloading times, better weather protection, and less congestion on the road. All of these features work together to allow Square Roots to rapidly deliver produce to local stores within hours of harvest, thereby minimizing food waste.
“Working with local farmers to deliver their responsibly grown fresh produce — all while reducing emissions by using our vehicles — is part of building the greener and smarter cities of tomorrow, and that’s why we're glad to partner with Square Roots,” said Charles Jolley, CEO of Los Angeles-based URB-E, a venture-funded company backed by UBS Group. “Solutions like these not only take cars and trucks off the road, they ensure local, fresh food is available all year round.”
Square Roots’ smart-farm technology platform and software-controlled hydroponic growing systems enable it to grow more food with fewer resources, 365 days a year, regardless of outdoor weather conditions. The company’s method uses 95% less water than conventional field farms and repurposes existing urban infrastructure, creating optimal growing climates inside refurbished upcycled shipping containers that are stacked vertically to reduce its impact on the land.
“Square Roots strategically deploys our indoor farms close to end consumers, all across the country, resulting in shorter supply chains everywhere — reducing food miles and minimizing food waste,” noted Tobias Peggs, co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn-based Square Roots. “By working with URB-E and utilizing their electric-powered vehicles, initially in New York City, Square Roots can quickly deliver our fresh produce to stores in a way that is better for people and planet, while making good business sense.”
Founded by serial entrepreneurs Kimbal Musk and Peggs, Square Roots offers a range of fresh produce available at more than 250 retail locations around the country, including Whole Foods Market, FreshDirect, Morton Williams, SpartanNash corporate stores, Fresh Thyme Market, Meijer’s market format stores, Busch’s Fresh Food Market and Gordon Food Service Stores. Square Roots’ strategic partnership with Michigan-based Gordon Food Service reinforces a larger shared ambition to build commercial-scale, climate-controlled indoor farms together across the continent, enabling local food at a global scale, year round.