I Know the Farmer, (too)!

The High Tech Urban Farmer

What is the best basil in the world? You can try 125 kinds of basil from all over the world to decide. Do you go to the basil, or have it shipped to you? Shipping, transport, storage, time and environment all affect the flavor and texture of the Basil. Breed (or genetically modify) the basil to ship, store and last, and it may not taste very good. Even if the best Basil comes from Genoa, Italy – it won’t be the best by the time it gets to us after being transported and stored. Time, distance and uncontrolled environment are the enemy to flavorful, textured, nutritious and delicious food.

Our food supply is compromised and our food is poisoning us. Big Agriculture has been breeding for good looking, storable, transportable produce that tolerates pesticides (and carries those “safe” pesticides to the consumer) that is flavorless, looks good on the shelves for months and has poor nutritional value.

Anyone who has had local pineapple, or Apple bananas while visiting Hawaii knows they are NOTHING like the horrid things we get here that look the same. If you’ve tried to bring some back, even a 5 hour flight in a controlled airplane environment degrades them to be a messy lump of their former selves.

Consumers don’t want industrial food. We want food we can trust. Locally grown food where we know the farmer, shake hands, see, talk….

What does it take to grow the best Genovese basil? The seeds, climate and soil. Imagine, and this is really the stuff of science fiction, that you could analyze the soil and the climate then precisely reproduce it under computer control anywhere on the planet using NON-GMO seeds, certified organic nutrients and no pesticides because none are needed. Imagine you can grow the best produce in the deserts of Arabia, the frozen tundra of Michigan, the northern areas of scandanavia (where they only get 2 hours of sunlight a day) or in the parking lot of a former Pfizer plant in Brooklyn, steps from the “M” train, 5 minutes over the Williamsburg Bridge.

Imagine if you could produce this best basil and then transport it less than 5 miles, by electric bicycle, within minutes of being harvested. Would you like to use that Basil in your dishes and cooking? Now everyone in an urban setting can be connected to their farmer.

This is Square Roots. I went to a presentation they made last night. They have a 20 acre farm operating in a parking lot in Brooklyn. Their “farm” consists of 10 insulated shipping containers with high tech systems set up in each for hydroponic farming.

You might not be able to see any green or earth, but there is the electric tricycle delivery vehicle, and Tobias, the principal who gave the presentation.

Open the door to the insulated food container and you see the high tech and completely efficient computer controlled farm. It is essentially in an ideal bubble of an environment. No pests mean no pesticides needed. The computers monitor, adjust and record temperature, water, minerals and nutrients, carbon dioxide in the air, wind and track each plant from seed to retail. This mass of data is used to improve the efficiency, taste and marketing of the produce.

The receptacles that hold the seeds are 3D printed. If you want to grow something else, 3D print an appropriate recepticle and plug it into the farm – along with the program for water, nutrient and climate you want.

Square roots grows Basil, Chives and Mint.


The source is filtered, world-renouned NYC water. Under computer control minerals to match the desired locale is added. The water that isn’t used is recirculated, monitored and nutrients are replenished as needed. No water or nutrient is wasted.


The Light is produced by LED’s of specific frequency that the plants use, so no energy is used for light outside the spectrum. Length of day is computer controlled and set for the perfect number of hours the produce requires. The lights are on at night when the electricity rates are lower.


Plants take in Carbon Dioxide and expel Oxygen. the computer controlled climate injects an appropriate amount of Carbon Dioxide to make the produce happiest. Temperature, length of day and wind are also monitored, recorded and adjusted as required. Fans supply the wind.


Square Roots farms use 90% less water and no pesticides. Eliminates the need for Monsanto type GMO seeds. Square Roots can be called ‘Anti-GMO’. Why would you pay Monsanto for seeds that grow deficient produce, when you don’t need a crop that can withstand Monsanto pesticides? Instead you can choose the most flavorful and nutritious produce to grow. Make your own seeds!

This was an awesome presentation and idea that is a well executed business. I originally found out about them when a farmer set up a table in my local Brooklyn Fare grocery store. Excellent outreach.

Thank you Tobias!


1 out of every 2 hazelnuts come from Turkey. Climate change is destroying areas where foods are produced. Is is becoming too hot for the hazelnut production in Turkey. Champagne France growth is moving north. The Average Apple takes 9 months to get to the consumer – covered in wax and it with its texture, pop and nutrients grotesquely depleted. The current industrial farming system is unsustainable. Buy local, eat real food!


If you would like to see the square roots farm in conjunction with other sites and tours please don’t hesitate to contact me at dan@IKnowTheCow.com or Square Roots directly.

Prepared Food

Pesto in Genoa Italy is made like nowhere else on the planet. Yes, it’s really that different. If you would like Pesto made with fresh Square Roots Basil (we can’t call it ‘Genovese Basil, as that is a DOP protected name) like they have been making it for millenia in Genoa, Italy, I can teach you how or make it for you. Just contact me for details.

excerpt from www.butterblogger.com:

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