You read that right, Elon Musk’s younger brother; Kimbal is pioneering the urban farming space with his company Square Roots, which is trying to revolutionize how and where we grow our fruits and veggies.
How is Square Roots different? Square Roots is building a distributed network of indoor modular farms in order to make hyper local hyper efficient farms feasible. The farming modules are designed to fit inside of retrofitted shipping containers, and have the capability to stack together with little restriction. They are also climate controlled to allow for a year-round growing season.
That’s not even the best part though, they’re also really easy to build. The company estimates that for 2M$ they can have 25 climate controlled grow containers up and running anywhere in the country, in less than 3 months. Compared to the urban farming market average of tens of millions and years to build the classic “plant factory” design. Their small size also means they can be plopped down in a parking lot overnight and be growing food for grocery stores across the street rather than across the country, reducing logistics costs and carbon emissions greatly.
Thanks to Square Root’s modular design, each individual container can be tuned to the climate that is most conducive to the crop being cultivated, meaning they can provide a great deal of variety as well. This fine tuned approach of adapting the growth environment to the plant also means they have to spend less resources on supporting the plants themselves. Square roots uses zero pesticides and 90% less water than outdoor farms, which are at risk of monoculture driven systemic problems and collapse anyways.
That’s not the only clever thing about these smart farms, they also have been programmed to run on an inverted day-night cycle, meaning that they use power to provide artificial sunlight to the plants in the low demand hours when energy prices are low and experience a simulated night cycle when energy prices are higher. See the graph below for an example of a typical grid loading curve.
All in all, Square Roots seems the smarter way to feed the future. For more reading, see links below! And as always, if you enjoyed the post please sign up and share with your friends!
As always I’ve Been Connor- Of All Trades