E2: The future of farming is here - Square Roots

Spotify Stitcher Overcast


Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk


Tech-Enabled Local Farming


July 2016

Total Funding



Brooklyn, NY

Image Title, 2017

The Problem

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.

The Solution

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.

Episode Brief

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:

    1. 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?

    2. You’ve raced Ironman competitions and snowboarded backcountry in British Columbia- which is more like your experience with Square Roots?

    3. If you weren’t working on SR, what problem area would you explore and why?

    4. Who has had the greatest impact on your learning and why?


This episode is brought to you by Bite Toothpaste Bits, the only all-natural, plastic-free way to replace the paste we’ve used our whole life. If you’re looking for an easy way to cut single-use plastic from your life, go to BiteToothPasteBits.com and use code INGOODHANDS for $5 off their flagship 4-month subscription (incl. free shipping)!


Peter Levin


Dan Mahoney and Lucas Arndt


Ed Arndt


Javier Quinonez

Peter Levin