Kimbal Musk’s Urban Farming School Expands

It’s only been a year since Kimbal Musk announced the launch of Square Roots, a unique urban farming school that combines learning both the hydroponic growing side and the business side that creates customers and income. Even if real food is the new internet, as Musk is fond of saying, a successful urban grower is as capable wearing their sales and business growth cap, as they are tending pesticide-free crops. And what better way to celebrate that first successful year than to announce a bright education for the future farmer incubator in Brooklyn and beyond.

With fall’s arrival, the initial urban farming school enrollees will finish their training well-equipped to go on to start their own local food production business, and new applicants will move into their growing space. As we learned in covering Square Root’s launch last year, qualifying for acceptance in this urban farm incubator training calls for a strong entrepreneurial spirit, commitment to sustainability, social impact, and the future of healthy food. The only way to truly change the food situation today is by empowering the right people to grow and supply it to the public.

It’s an awesome opportunity, supported by the USDA, and the first group enrolled in Brooklyn’s urban farming school also received urban farm microloans from the USDA’s Farm Services Agency to cover their initial start-up costs. Start-up costs? Yes, this is real world training. Each of these new entrepreneurs must purchase the materials needed for producing a crop, and their farm has no income until the first harvest, so funding to get there is needed. It’s no different in real world farming, or any other type of business.

It has worked well for all of them too. More than 80 offices in the area enjoy farm-direct delivery of just harvested greens and numerous NYC restaurants connect these local farmers with patrons. People are learning where their food comes from at work, and while dining out. How fresh is that? And now it’s ready to spread, changing the way a new city perceives real food, furthering a brighter future of food.

So, where will the new Square Roots campus be? In last week’s news, Kimbal said that they are in the process of finalizing the details, but offered no hint of the city or region. Definitely, a major city and his vision is having a Square Roots campus in every big city in the US. It also sounds like with the recently closed round of investment funding, expanding the number of people enrolled in their urban farming school in Brooklyn each training session is looking good.

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Images courtesy of The Ink.NYC and Square Roots (respectively).

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Tammy Clayton

Contributing Writer at Garden Culture Magazine

Tammy has been immersed in the world of plants and growing since her first job as an assistant weeder at the tender age of 8. Heavily influenced by a former life as a landscape designer and nursery owner, she swears good looking plants follow her home.