Bed-Stuy is getting its own urban farming accelerator - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Aug. 24, 2016 12:47 pm

Bed-Stuy is getting its own urban farming accelerator

And Elon Musk's brother Kimbal is involved. “As I’ve said before,” he wrote, “‘Food is the new internet.’”
One of Square Roots’ vertical hydroponic farms.

One of Square Roots' vertical hydroponic farms.

(Photo courtesy of Square Roots)

Last week, we wrote about how Brooklyn was beginning to look like an urban farming hub.

Well, here’s another step in that direction: Square Roots, an accelerator focused on urban farming, is launching this fall in the former Pfizer factory at 630 Flushing Avenue in Bed-Stuy.

Square Roots is led by Tobias Peggs, previously the CEO of Manhattan-based photo-editing company Aviary (acquired by Adobe in 2014), and Kimbal Musk, the cofounder of Boulder, Colo.–based restaurant chain The Kitchen (yes, he’s the younger brother of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk, which explains why Square Roots has already gotten tons of buzz).

The accelerator’s network includes investors from around the country like Los Angeles-based Powerplant Ventures, Chicago-based Lightbank and Washington, D.C.-based FoodTech AngelsAllison Kopf, the founder of Brooklyn-based, farming startup Agrilyst, will be one of the program’s mentors.

The program is currently accepting applicants for its first class, which will include 10 entrepreneurs.

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There aren’t many details out there, like if the the accelerator will invest in companies or if it will take equity, but we’re working on getting those answers.

The participants will be working with hydroponic vertical farms grown inside shipping containers, using technology from Boston-based Freight Farms and Laramie, Wyo.–based Bright Agrotech. According to Square Roots, each shipping container, at 320 square feet, can produce an annual yield equivalent to that of two acres of farmland, with 80 percent less water usage.

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Musk, who announced Square Roots’ launch in a post on Medium, believes a counterpart to large agricultural companies is necessary to address the lack of fresh, affordable food in many areas.

“Finding the right solution presents an extraordinary opportunity for new entrepreneurs,” he wrote. “As I’ve said before, ‘Food is the new internet.'”

And why Bed-Stuy for the accelerator? We’re still waiting to hear back from the Square Roots team but space seems to be one key reason.

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