Gordon Food Service, one of North America’s leading food service providers, and Square Roots, the technology leader in urban indoor farming, today announced plans for their partnership’s first urban farm campus location, to be constructed on the site of Gordon Food Service’s headquarters in Wyoming, Michigan.
Even as media and the marketplace responded enthusiastically to the companies’ initial March 6 announcement of their relationship, the partners were pursuing necessary local government approvals for their first site plan.
Now secured, the partners’ flagship farm campus plan includes ten specially designed Square Roots shipping containers in direct production, with four additional containers providing operational support. The containers will occupy less than two acres of the Gordon Food Service HQ’s fifty-acre site, yet are projected to produce more than 50,000 lbs of herbs annually.
Additionally, Square Roots will recruit and hire a class of new farmers to participate in its unique, year-long Next-Gen Farmer Training Program at the new Wyoming, Michigan farm campus. The recruitment process will start in early summer, and the program will begin in the fall. Interested applicants can find out more about the program on the Square Roots website, https://squarerootsgrow.com/program/ and sign up for early access to applications.
Rich Wolowski, North American President and CEO of Gordon Food Service, noted, “This partnership brings together technology, agriculture, young farmers, and scalability, in a model that could revolutionize our food systems. And it’s wonderful to be starting in our own backyard.”
The partnership’s local, fresh and flavorful produce are non-GMO, pesticide-free, and will fully meet Gordon Food Service’s high quality and safety standards. Product will be available for purchase by both commercial chefs and consumers shopping at Gordon Food Service’s area retail stores.
Construction and installation of the first container farm campus is expected to be completed by the fall of 2019, with growing operations beginning immediately thereafter. The partners approached this first deployment within the Gordon Food Service distribution network as a template for future farms, with plans to develop additional farms at or near their U.S. and Canadian distribution centers.
Jack Poll, Mayor of the City of Wyoming, Michigan, expressed enthusiasm for his city’s pioneer role in the partnership’s development plans, “Our community is proud to be home to an international business leader like Gordon Food Service and to support new, game-changing innovations in fresh, local food production and distribution.”
The Gordon Food Service-Square Roots partnership reflects a shared vision and commitment by both organizations to invest in a modern, unique offering to meet growing customer demand for local food across North America. It also signifies the first, significant expansion to new locations for Square Roots and its unparalleled farmer training program, enabled by the company’s scalable “farmer-first” technology platform. The Square Roots and Gordon Food Service exclusive partnership comes at a time when customer tastes and palates are seeing an increasing demand for fresh, high-quality, local food.
Tobias Peggs, co-founder and CEO of Square Roots, earlier noted, “This partnership means we will grow delicious, local, real food at huge scale. We’re so happy to be working with a mission-aligned partner in Gordon Food Service – leveraging technology to bring real food to a huge number of people across the country, while delivering real social impact by empowering thousands of young people to become our country’s future farmers.”
About Gordon Food Service
Since 1897, we have delivered uncompromising quality and heartfelt service for our customers. We began as a simple butter-and-egg delivery service, and have grown to become the largest family business in the foodservice industry by upholding the same approach for over 120 years—remaining passionately committed to the people we serve. Today we serve foodservice operators in the Midwest, Northeast, Southeast, and Southwest regions of the United States and coast-to-coast in Canada. We also operate more than 175 Gordon Food Service Store locations in the U.S., which are open to the public and provide restaurant-quality products and friendly, knowledgeable service without a membership fee. By partnering with organizations from across industries—healthcare to education, independent and chain restaurants, and event planners—we help our customers create food experiences that people choose, enjoy and remember.
About Square Roots
Square Roots is the technology leader in urban indoor farming. Its scalable “farmer first” technology platform brings fresh, healthy food to urban areas year-round, while simultaneously training future generations of farmers. Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneurs, Tobias Peggs and Kimbal Musk, Square Roots has a mission to bring local, real food to people in cities across the world while empowering the next generation of leaders in urban farming.
Central to the Square Roots mission is a “Next-Gen Farmer Training Program”—a year-long program that puts participants at the forefront of the indoor urban farming industry while they are growing food as part of the Square Roots farm team. Using a unique and scalable technology platform, these young farmers are armed with intuitive tools, enabling them to quickly learn how to grow food that is delicious, responsible, healthy, and profitable. During their year at Square Roots, they’re also educated on plant science, food entrepreneurship frameworks, and engaging local communities—preparing them for successful subsequent leadership roles in urban agriculture.