Square Roots is looking for its next class of urban farmers - Technical.ly Brooklyn

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Jul. 19, 2017 9:55 am

Square Roots is looking for its next class of urban farmers

The program equips participants to launch their own food businesses in a matter of months.

One of Square Roots' vertical hydroponic farms.

(Photo courtesy of Square Roots)

Square Roots, the urban farming accelerator based in the Pfizer Building, is taking applications for its second cohort of resident entrepreneurs. The next round of the program will begin in October.

The 13-month program includes access to the distinctive shipping-container farms, made by Boston-based Freight Farms, that participants use to grow food. Participants pay a $5,000 deposit to cover operating expenses for the first three months, but those funds are returned to them at the end of the program. To help front those costs, participants can apply for microloans through the Department of Agriculture, with which Square Roots has partnered.

Square Roots doesn’t just offer a crash course in the mechanics of urban farming. After the farms yield their first harvests a few weeks into the program, participants are expected to begin making sales. They receive guidance from program mentors in creating sustainable business plans. Members of Square Roots’ first class, for instance, have devised a variety of sales strategies for their products, from setting up shop in greenmarkets to courting the CrossFit crowd. The accelerator does not take equity in the participants’ resultant businesses, though it does take a percentage of their sales.

Applications for Square Roots’ second program are due July 31.

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April Joyner

April Joyner is a journalist who covers business, tech and finance. As a freelance writer, she has contributed to OZY, NewYorker.com and FastCompany.com. Joyner's writing has also appeared on Business Insider and USAToday.com.

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