E2: The future of farming is here - Square Roots
Our cities are at the mercy of an industrial food system that ships in high-calorie, low-nutrient, processed food from thousands of miles away. It leaves us disconnected from the comfort, the nourishment, and the taste of food—not to mention the people who grow it. The results are awful, from obesity and diabetes epidemics to massive impact on the planet.
Cloud-connected, modular farms that utilize hydroponic water systems and AI to create the most resource-efficient growing conditions, tailored to the specific produce. This enables a distributed approach to farming—meaning food can be grown in the neighborhoods where customers live and shop, providing deep connections between the consumer, their food, and the people who grow it.
Tobias Peggs, Founder and CEO of Square Roots, joins Peter on this week’s episode to discuss:
The supply chain of “Industrial Food” and how each step means compromising on nutrition, transparency, and the environment
How the supply chain changes with Square Roots
What goes into creating a tech-enabled urban farm
How the technology re-creates custom climates for each type of produce
How AI is used to make proactive adjustments to growing conditions
How Square Roots integrates into cities
What the “Transparency Timeline” is and how it changes the relationship between food and consumers
Navigating challenges between educating and selling to consumers vs. merchants
The average age of a farmer and building the largest farmer training program in the US
What the Gordon Food Service partnership means for hundreds of cities
What’s next from here
The moonshot and potential total sum impact
Lightning Round questions:
You’ve run a number of successful companies - one acquired by Walmart, another by Adobe, now with Square Roots. What’s your biggest failure and what did you learn?
You’ve raced Ironman competitions and snowboarded backcountry in British Columbia- which is more like your experience with Square Roots?
If you weren’t working on SR, what problem area would you explore and why?
Who has had the greatest impact on your learning and why?
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Dan Mahoney and Lucas Arndt