S2E14: s2e14 Tobias Peggs - Discovering a More Resilient Food System through Vertical Farming

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Join Harry Duran, host of Vertical Farming Podcast, as he welcomes to the show co-founder and CEO of Square Roots, Tobias Peggs. Square Roots is an indoor urban farming company that connects people in cities to local, real food. In this episode, Harry and Tobias discuss the growing demand for a more efficient global food system. Tobias speaks to the importance his organization places on transparency and visionary thinking as well as future initiatives he and his team are currently planning.

Special thanks to our Season 2 Sponsor

Ceres Greenhouse Solutions

Key Takeaways

01:34 – Harry welcomes Tobias Peggs to the show to share his background as a data scientist, the genesis of his company Square Roots, and the impact Covid-19 has had on the industry

08:17 – Tobias recalls the vertical farming landscape back in 2016 when he initially launched Square Roots and how his past experience helped him to scale his business

16:24 – The value Tobias and Square Roots place on transparency and forward-thinking

22:21 – Trends Tobias has observed from the overall AgTech industry, including collaboration between organizations and the role of technology and software

32:18 – The evolution of Square Roots’ Farmer Training program

36:52 – How Tobias has grown personally and professionally during his tenure at Square Roots and mentors who have influenced him throughout his career

43:38 – Tobias speaks to the differences in how Americans and Europeans receive and consume their food

47:27 – What is something Tobias has changed his mind about recently and a tough question Tobias has had to ask himself recently

50:33 – What excites Tobias most about the future of vertical farming and where listeners can learn more about Square Roots

Tweetables:

It became very obvious quite early that the world really needs this [vertical farming]. And that has acted as a very galvanizing and energizing focus through what, to your point, has been the craziest year any of us could ever possibly imagine.” (03:43)

“Plants are not just widgets; they don’t just grow on demand. You need a person in there willing these plants to come to life.” (06:58)

“The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is fifty-eight. The average age of a farmer in countries like Japan is sixty-eight. You’ve got this demographic time bomb that is about to detonate on the food system. We need to find pathways for young people to enter the agriculture industry and that’s what we decided to tackle first at Square Roots.” (07:26)

“The wonderful thing is when you’re stressed in the software company, you stay stressed. When you’re stressed in the farming company, you just go wander around the farm for a half an hour.” (13:07)

“There are probably lots of parallels with the sort of green or alternative energy industry. We are all in it to solve a massive problem for the planet.” (23:14)

“Some days I do have to kind of stop myself because we are running at 150 miles per hour figuring all this stuff out.” (33:58)

“You don’t have to be a bloody nutritionist to figure this shit out. If it smells great, and it tastes great and it looks great, it’s gonna be good for you.” (46:39)

“There is a desperate need to figure out a more resilient food system where people are eating healthier food and doing it all year round. And indoor farming can be a big part of that solution.” (51:06)

Links Mentioned:

Tobias’ Website

Tobias’ LinkedIn

Square Roots Twitter

Square Roots Instagram

Ceres Greenhouse Solutions

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