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Buffalo, NY

Kubed Root

Kubed Root

Kubed Root is an urban microgreenery and co-farming space devoted to growing fresh greens in a low-water environment and incubating local agribusinesses.

Project Summary
  • Start Date: 2019
  • Farm Size: 0.025 acre(s)
  • Products: Fruit & Vegetable

  • Loan: $5,145
  • Interest Rate: 10.00%
  • Term: 2 year(s)
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Description

Kubed Root is an urban microgreenery and co-farming space (think WeWork, but for urban, indoor farmers). Founder and owner Elias Martinez’s goal is to grow fresh greens in a sustainable, low-water environment and to serve as an indoor agriculture business incubator.

Meet the Farmers

Elias Martinez is many things: a husband, father of three, US navy veteran, doctoral student of business, and owner and founder of Kubed Root. Growing up in South Florida, Elias’s family raised a garden of fresh fruits and vegetables, which his mother shared with their neighbors. Elias watched her gift change a family’s life very tangibly and credits that moment with teaching him about the transformative power of food and love. After his mother passed away, Elias lived with his grandparents, who also planted vegetables and raised chickens. Years later, frustrated with the lack of challenge at his day job, Elias was eager to pursue a more fulfilling vocation. Already a proponent of indoor agriculture, he heard about the virtues of broccoli sprouts on a podcast, but turned off by the high price, and like his mother and grandfather before him, he decided to grow his own. What began as a hobby (a 10’x10’ space in Elias’s basement lit by a single LED light) soon became an obsession, and later, a business. Kubed Root now sells microgreens to local restaurants, health food stores, and at farmers’ markets.

Kubed Root

Reason for Loan

Elias pitched the idea of an urban microgreenery and co-farming space to his local SBA, who received it enthusiastically, but also made it clear they would not be funding the venture. Elias didn’t give up. A Steward loan allowed Elias to pay bills, purchase supplies, inventory, and materials for a hydroponic setup and cover the costs of becoming GAP certified (a voluntary USDA audit that verifies fresh produce is grown, packed, handled, and stored safely).

What's Next?

The immediate goal is to finish establishing the infrastructure of Kubed Root and develop the indoor farm incubator. In addition to growing microgreens for sale locally, Kubed Root will also provide classes and space for community members to create their own triple-bottom-line farm businesses with an end goal of providing food, eliminating food deserts and learning a S.T.E.M (agroecology) career path. Elias hopes to develop multiple Kubed Root facilities around the world to make indoor agriculture more accessible and affordable.

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