Square Roots, the technological leader in indoor farming, and United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) today announced a new partnership to co-locate Square Roots’ indoor farms on-site at specific UNFI distribution hubs. The first Square Roots farm, which will be located at UNFI’s location in Prescott, Wisconsin, will be roughly 20,000 square feet in size and set to open in 2023.
In order to create an effective, extensive, high-quality supply chain network and reduce the time it takes to deliver produce to retail customers, UNFI is concentrating on forging deeper ties with its produce suppliers as part of its Better For All project. The first Square Roots farm to share space with UNFI will produce food for UNFI’s retail clients in Wisconsin and Minnesota, including the Twin Cities metro area.
“Today’s consumer is focused on the quality and freshness of their produce and relies on their local grocer to provide consistent access to high quality, locally grown food, all year round that won’t spoil the day after they bring it home,” said Dorn Wenninger, Senior Vice President of Produce at UNFI. “Our relationship with Square Roots and their innovative indoor farming model not only strengthens our supply chain and gives back days of freshness to consumers, but also furthers our ambitious ESG initiatives and helps UNFI make progress toward our goals to reduce waste, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and advance sustainable agriculture and operations.”
Square Roots has developed a vertically integrated indoor farming approach that can be quickly and easily deployed in any place on a small footprint to generate the ideal circumstances for continuously growing fresh produce all year long. Additionally, crops are picked, packed, and distributed to clients the same day of harvest inside the Square Roots facility.
“Our unique approach to indoor farming is fully optimized to support forward-thinking, large-scale distribution partners like UNFI,” says Square Roots co-founder and CEO, Tobias Peggs. “Growing delicious fresh produce in Square Roots farms at UNFI facilities increases supply chain resilience and reduces miles driven transporting food. It’s good business, and it’s also better for people and the planet.”
“Whether we’re learning lessons from COVID-19, or considering the future impact of climate change, it’s clear that we need more resilience in our food system,” said Square Roots co-founder and Executive Chairman Kimbal Musk. “With this partnership we can now bring local food, grown by local farmers, to UNFI’s network of retail customers, and their shoppers, consistently and reliably, all year round. We can’t wait to get started.”
Image provided by Square Roots & UNFI