Brad Shuler, Farm Manager from Square Roots was our speaker.  Brad’s degree is in Agriculture, and he is excited to be a part of this new method of farming – CEA or Controlled Environment Agriculture.  Currently, there are 3 operating farms – one in Brooklyn, NY, and two in Grand Rapids, MI. The 4th farm will open in Kenosha in the next few months and 5th will open in Springfield, OH, later this year.  The idea began several years ago to grow fresh, local food responsibly, meaning less water, less land and less waste.  So, the idea to use shipping containers began. Shortly after the first farm was created a partnership was formed with Gordon Foods and they other sites have all been built right next to a Gordon Foods. This relationship assists Square Root to get the items they grow out there to sell. These indoor farms can be set up practically anywhere and especially in areas that have historically had limited access to fresh, local food.  These indoor farms operate 365 days / year, regardless of weather or season. They use significantly less water and land as compared to conventional field farms and can be in cities, resulting in shorter supply chains that reduce food miles and help minimize food waster. They never use pesticides or GMOs, and all facilities are USDA GAP-certified for superior food and operational safety.  They have created their own software to track growth by taking photos and measurements of the plants at different stages. They use hydroponics – dissolving fertilizer salts in water and an inert growth medial (i.e., peat) and they reuse water with the additional nutrients it has gained. LED lighting is used, which uses up to 70% less energy than High pressure sodium lights which have historically been used for any indoor growing and produces the same amount to light energy needed for plants. Currently they grow herbs – cilantro, parsley, dill and basil and 2 lettuce types of Salad mix.