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Elon Musk’s brother is disrupting farming—one sprig of hyperlocal microgreen at a time

Elon Musk’s brother, Kimbal, cofounded a high-tech company for a very low-tech product—spinach. And also chard and mustard greens and anything else that can be grown in an old shipping container outfitted with $85,000 worth of high-tech farming equipment. Called Square Roots, the idea could shake up the way we think about farming and food production. Its genesis comes from an unlikely source: weed. “Cannabis is to indoor growing as porn was to the internet,” says its CEO and cofounder, Tobias Peggs.

Backchannel takes a close look at the new startup that takes the guess work out of growing food. It lets wannabe farmers grow artisanal lettuce in the so-called “nano-climate” of an old shipping container that makes the farms impervious to weather and capable of being run almost entirely via iPhone. The nano-climate has a few other perks, too, including something straight out The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: the ability to design a specific taste in a crop thanks to tech that can precisely control growth factors like light and temperature. Check out the full story here while munching on your hyper-local bag of freshly picked microgreens.


[Photo: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images]ML