LED lights glow from a cluster of 10 hydroponic climate controlled farms housed in repurposed 320-square-foot metal shipping containers where entrepreneur farmers enrolled in the "Square Roots" farming program are growing and selling a variety of
Groszyk, a Harvard graduate, is one of 10 "entrepreneurial farmers" selected by Square Roots, an indoor urban farming company, to grow kale, mini-head lettuce, mustard greens (as seen here) and other crops locally in the Bedford-Stuyvesant
For 12 months, farmers like Paul Philpott each get a 320-square-foot steel shipping container where they control the climate of their own farm. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Groszyk, who personally makes all the deliveries to his 45 customers, including the offices of Kickstarter Inc. said he chooses certain crops based on customer feedback and grows new crops based on special requests. REUTERS/Mike Segar
"Literally the first day we were here, they were lowering these shipping containers with a crane off the back of a truck," said Groszyk. "By the next week, we were already planting seeds." REUTERS/Mike Segar
Tobias Peggs (C) launched Square Roots with Kimbal Musk, the brother of Tesla Inc Chief Executive Elon Musk, in November, producing roughly 500 pounds of greens every week for hundreds of customers. REUTERS/Mike Segar
"If we can come up with a solution that works for New York, then as the rest of the world increasingly looks like New York, we'll be ready to scale everywhere," said Peggs. REUTERS/Mike Segar
In exchange for providing the farms and the year-long program, which includes support on topics like business development, branding, sales and finance, Square Roots shares 30 percent of the revenue with the farmers.
The farmers cover the operating expenses of their container farm, such as water, electricity and seeds and pay rent, costing them roughly $1,500 per month in total, according to Peggs.
Groszyk harvests 15 to 20 pounds of produce each week, including Tuscan and Red Russian Kale, having been trained in artificial lighting, water chemistry, nutrient balance, business development and sales. REUTERS/Mike Segar
"It's really interesting to find out who's growing your food," said Tieg Zaharia, 25, a software engineer at Kickstarter, while munching on a $5 bag of greens grown and packaged by Groszyk.
Nabeela Lakhani, 23, said reading "Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal" in high school inspired her to change the food system. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Under pink LED lights, the farmers grow GMO-free greens, like this Tuscan Kale, all year round. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Three nights per week, Lakhani assumes the role of resident chef at a market-to-table restaurant in lower Manhattan. "I walk up to the table and say, 'Hi guys! Sorry to interrupt, but I wanted to introduce myself.
The glow of LED lights emanates from the cluster of 10 hydroponic climate controlled farms. REUTERS/Mike Segar
Erik Groszyk, 30, used to spend his day as an investment banker working on spreadsheets. Now, he blasts rapper Kendrick Lamar while harvesting crops from his own urban farm out of a shipping container in a Brooklyn parking lot. REUTERS/Mike Segar