Become a leader in the real food revolution! Apply now for Season 2 at Square Roots

Applications now open for Season 2 of the Square Roots urban farming and entrepreneurship program in Brooklyn, New York.

[Tweet it: 🌱 Join the #realfood revolution! Sign up for Season 2 @squarerootsgrow 🗽👊 ]

We first announced Square Roots last August, with the mission to empower a new generation of entrepreneurial leaders in the real food revolution.

Video courtesy of Curbed, featuring Square Roots Real Food Entrepreneurs Maxwell Carmack, Nabeela Lakhani and Jonathan Bernard.

We built a campus of indoor, controlled climate, hydroponic farms in the middle of Brooklyn, and created a first-of-its kind 12 month program to coach passionate people to grow real food, sell locally and build sustainable businesses.

Our first cohort of ten modern farmers started in November and have already blown us away with their dedication, ingenuity, desire — and their incredibly delicious food. The video above does a wonderful job of summing up a day in the life of these forward-thinking real food entrepreneurs.

Success stories from Season 1 are many, but to call out some examples:

  • Maxwell Carmack and Erik Groszyk are reinventing the way New Yorkers snack at work by helping to pioneer a novel farm-to-desk delivery program that now delivers fresh greens to over 80 office locations in the city. Meanwhile, they have experimented relentlessly, inventing new tools to improve the process of farming indoors and pushing the possibilities of food that can be grown hydroponically (Erik’s sweet Japanese turnips are a must-try!).
  • Nabeela Lakhani is the first “official farmer” for New York restaurant Chalk Point Kitchen — so their customers not only eat hyper-locally grown food but they get to chat with their local farmer during dinner. Meanwhile, her how-to videos have gone so viral that she now fields emails from around the world every week from people inspired to start their own urban farms.
  • Paul Philpott, a graduate of Green City Force (winner of former Mayor Bloomberg’s Most Innovative Non-Profit in NYC), has developed a unique social entrepreneurship model to bring nutritious greens to low income neighborhoods across New York City.
  • Electra Jarvis, learning the ins and outs of startup entrepreneurship while running her Square Roots container farm, has launched her own parallel business — Green Food Solutions — bringing fresh food to New Jersey through a network of Tower Gardens.
  • Josh Aliber has used data analysis to optimize the growing recipe for several varieties of heirloom basil in his Square Roots container farm. He now partners with local mission-driven restaurants and speciality retail markets, all while building the foundations to launch a large-scale triple bottom line company in real food.
Real Food Entrepreneurs, Nabeela Lakhani, Paul Philpott and Maxwell Carmack, from Square Roots Season 1 in Brooklyn, New York. (Picture of Paul Philpott courtesy of Ariel Lauren Wilson from Edible Manhattan Magazine).

We can go on and on. These new leaders are creating huge impact and are a daily inspiration — not only to us but to the wider real food community. We’ve had almost two thousand curious community members come visit the farm since we opened the doors in November, eager to see the farms, talk with the farmers, and taste their incredible food.

Almost incredibly, we had over 500 applicants for the first season of Square Roots — and it was ridiculously difficult to select the final ten. But we’d now like you to follow in their footsteps. We couldn’t be more excited to announce that the application process for Season 2 in Brooklyn is now open!

We couldn’t be more excited to announce that the application process for Season 2 of Square Roots is now open!

As we noted in our original launch post, many of us live at the mercy of an industrial food system that is devastating to our health, our environment, and our communities. It’s no surprise people are turning against this system on an enormous scale. People want local, real food — food they can trust.

It’s also true that people increasingly live in cities. According the United Nations, by 2050 there will be 9.6 billion people on the planet, and 70% will live in urban areas.

Finding the right solutions — to feed an enormous number of urban dwellers with locally grown food they can trust — presents an extraordinary opportunity for entrepreneurs. So we created Square Roots as a platform to empower a whole new generation of leaders in real food entrepreneurship, where we can work together to tackle this enormous challenge.

Real Food Entrepreneur Erik Groszyk leads a farm tour at the Square Roots Brooklyn campus, while Sylvia Channing sells her greens at a monthly farmers market held in the Square Roots community space (photo courtesy of Reuters).

Square Roots Season 2 will be a 13-month long program, starting in October this year, where entrepreneurially-minded individuals will have access to the full Square Roots platform — from the container farms, to specialist skills training, to our network of experts and leaders, all while running an urban farming business. Graduates are uniquely positioned to embark on a lifetime of real food entrepreneurship — with the knowhow to build a thriving, responsible business. The opportunities in front of them will be endless.

Square Roots Season 2 will still be located in Brooklyn and, again, we’re looking for ten passionate people who can commit to living in New York for the year and want to bring real food to New Yorkers. (Keep an eye on the Square Roots website for announcements about future locations).

We couldn’t be more optimistic about the future of food — and the leaders who will shape it — as we kickstart the recruitment for Season 2. To start playing your part in the real food revolution, apply for Season 2 here.

[Tweet it: 🌱 Join the #realfood revolution! Sign up for Season 2 @squarerootsgrow 🗽👊 ]