403: Tobias Peggs on Empowering Next-Gen Leaders.

Training future farmers to shape the future of our food system.

Tobias is cofounder and CEO of Square Roots – an urban farming company headquartered in Brooklyn, NYC. He has a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from Cardiff University in his native United Kingdom. He is a Techstars mentor, competitive triathlete, snowboarder, and ramen hunter.

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Square Roots grows and sells tasty, nutritious food year-round from their Brooklyn campus of indoor, controlled-climate, modular farms. Their mission is to bring local, real food to people in cities, by empowering next-gen leaders in urban farming—because “the more of us working to shape the future of food, the better”. Founded in 2016 by Tobias and Kimbal Musk, Square Roots is also host to a “Next-Gen Farmer Training Program”—a year-long, hands-on training program that puts participants at the forefront of the indoor urban farming industry.

In This Podcast:

Wondering where the bananas came from while eating them in his native United Kingdom was just the first step for Tobias Peggs, as he sought to figure out how to grow the food in his own city that previously would have spent weeks being shipped in from different climates. He was sure he could mimic the plants’ normal environments. Peggs has not only built a working modular farm in Brooklyn, New York, but runs a Next-Gen Farmer training program to help ensure that others are working toward his mission of bringing real food to all the cities of the world.

Listen in and learn about:

    • Getting more young people interested in farming as a career as the average age of American farmers steadily climbs
    • Growing food in the middle of a big city
    • Using technology to improve both efficiency and the life of the farmer
    • Creating connections between people and their food in urban areas
    • Who the next-gen farming leaders are
    • What a typical student experience is in the farm training program
    • What kind of feedback he gets from his students and the community
“We wanted to create a big social impact.”
    • What kinds of foods can be grown on high tech farms
    • How food grown in a storage containers can taste fresh and delicious
    • How you can have a successful farm business and make a social impact

As well as:

  • His failure – Pulling together a presentation for a CEO despite an impossible deadline and giving his laptop to someone else to take to the presentation, only to find later that no one had his password and they couldn’t access the presentation.
  • His success – The customer feedback and the emails from parents after the farm tours.
  • His drive – Bringing real food to people in cities all around the world.
  • His advice – If you’re going to start a business or side hustle go for it! No regrets.

Tobias ’s Book recommendations:

The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni

How to reach Tobias:         

Website: squarerootsgrow.com

Facebook: Square Roots 

Twitter: @squarerootsgrow

Email: tobias@squarerootsgrow.com

Instagram: @squarerootsgrow

Producer’s Note:

For Tobias’ 2018 Food Tank presentation “Together We Can Build a Better Food System” click: HERE


Note: You can also find these books mentioned above at one of our favorite local independent bookstores and have the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a small business.

Some of the links in our podcast show notes and blog posts are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase, we will earn a nominal commission at no cost to you. We offer links to items recommended by our podcast guests and guest writers as a service to our audience and these items are not selected because of the commission we receive from your purchases. We know the decision is yours, and whether you decide to buy something is completely up to you. 

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