September 2019 : Vertical Roots
A symphony of produce at Southern Innovations 2019 – The Produce News

A symphony of produce at Southern Innovations 2019 – The Produce News

The Produce News recaps Southern Innovations 2019 events held in Nashville, TN at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center: including the third annual Next Generation Award, which is co-sponsored by The Produce News and which honors a young person from the next generation of produce leaders for the industry. Last year’s recipient, Ross Williams of Titan Farms, then announced this year’s recipient: Andrew Hare of Vertical Roots.

Vertical Roots General Manager Andrew Hare Named Southeast Produce Council’s “Next Generation Award” 2019 Recipient

Vertical Roots General Manager Andrew Hare Named Southeast Produce Council’s “Next Generation Award” 2019 Recipient


Award recognizes produce leaders making a difference in the industry.


CHARLESTON, S.C. – Sept. 17, 2019Vertical Roots announced today that its general manager and co-founder, Andrew Hare, was named the Southeast Produce Council (SEPC) 2019 recipient of the Next Generation Award. The Next Generation Award is given to SEPC members under 39 who have made a significant contribution to the industry through their company. The award ceremony took place in Nashville, Tenn. during the Southern Innovations Organics and Foodservice Expo Sept. 12-14.

“We are beyond thrilled for Andrew to receive this award. He pours his heart and soul into Vertical Roots, and he could not be more deserving of this recognition,” said Stefanie Swackhamer, Vice President of Mission, Marketing and Business Development at AmplifiedAg, the parent company of Vertical Roots. “The work he does daily challenges how we grow, consume, and distribute food, so we’re even more proud that our industry colleagues recognize that with Andrew’s leadership.”

Based in Charleston, SC, Vertical Roots grows fresh, pesticide-free greens year-round inside recycled shipping containers. Each farm is outfitted with fully-automated systems, LED lighting and soil-free, hydroponic growing technology. The farm company is dedicated to transparency and quality, so each head of lettuce is traceable back to its seed. The company opened its second site in Columbia in spring 2019.

Vertical Roots greens are available in grocery stores and restaurants across South Carolina and into Charlotte, NC, Savannah and Augusta, GA. For more information and to see where Vertical Roots is available for purchase, visit


Vertical Roots believes that everyone has a right to trust their farmer and know their food. With a commitment to quality, transparency and sustainability, the farm company grows fresh, pesticide- and GMO-free leafy greens and produce year-round inside repurposed shipping containers.

Currently, the company offers 6 different lettuce varieties: green and red oak leaf, red butter, arugula, bibb, romaine and a specialty Lowcountry blend that is its house spring mix. Each head of Vertical Roots lettuce is traceable from the seed, with an average harvest time of 24 hours from farm to table. Its farms are fully automated and outfitted with a vertical hydroponic growing system that uses 98% less water, LED lighting, and provide hyperlocal delivery to grocery stores, distributors, schools, and more.

Vertical Roots serves South Carolina and parts of Georgia and North Carolina from its farms based in Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina. Visit for more information and to see where its products are sold.

Media Contact:
Claire Monahan

This is AmplifiedAg

This is AmplifiedAg

AmplifiedAg is a South Carolina startup that is uniting agriculture and technology to revolutionize how communities grow, distribute, and consume food.

We are farmers, coders, engineers, and foodies. But more than that, we are a community of passionately curious, relentlessly hardworking, and wickedly creative people who are determined to change our food system for the better.

To accomplish our global mission to provide every community with nutrient-loaded, top-quality produce, we’ve gathered three like-minded companies under the banner of AmplifiedAg: Vertical Roots, Tiger Corner Farms, and Boxcar Central. Through the combined powers of these unique companies, we have built a model for scalable, sustainable farming.

Vertical Roots, your friendly neighborhood hydroponic startup, was founded to bring farms and fresh produce right into the communities they serve. Tiger Corner Farms crafts the hydroponic container farms that allow nutritious food to be grown anywhere, regardless of soil or climate conditions. Boxcar Central uses cloud-based technology to intelligently monitor and automate farm operations to ensure resource efficiency and unwavering quality. 

Together, these companies are producing smart, sustainable greens from seed to salad with a system that can be replicated around the globe.

The lettuce Vertical Roots grows in Tiger Corner Farm containers (with remarkable precision, thanks to Boxcar Central) was first sold throughout South Carolina’s lowcountry, and we don’t plan to stop until this new farming model is serving people around the globe. 

Growth is in our nature (we farm, after all). And just like we grow our greens with a meticulous eye for quality, we’re growing our startup with purpose, intention, and integrity. 

No matter how big we get, here are the things that will never change:

We know our “why”

Our values don’t live on a poster tacked up in the break room. Our values live in every office, container farm, and hard-hat zone. Because that’s where our people are. 

Every single person on our team is on our team because they believe that another food system is possible: a food system that serves local communities, farmers, and the planet in equal measure. 

To us, this isn’t just work, it’s our life’s work. And since our mission is global, it doesn’t matter where we put down roots – that core will never change. 

Our model is unconventional, and so is our team. 

AmplifiedAg is a collaboration among three unconventional companies, connected by a team of out-of-the-box thinkers. 

Our farm family is full of people from diverse backgrounds – from former Navy Nuclear Engineers to (still practicing) artists. This diversity of thought allows us to approach problems more effectively and generate unexpected solutions. 

Every person is encouraged to continue exploring their unique perspectives and to keep branching outside their comfort zone. After all, who wants to live in the tyranny of the status quo? Certainly not anyone who joins a startup seeking to change just that. 

We want our team to take new approaches and travel the road less traveled — we know there’s much to be gleaned from the adventure! Along the way, we’ve been inspired to see team members take the initiative to learn new skills and transform themselves into highly effective, adaptive, cross-sectional leaders.

Our growth mindset extends from produce to people. No matter where a team member starts at AmplifiedAg, there’s room for personal and professional growth and expansion into new areas of the company. 

Everyone’s voice is heard.

Because we operate in an environment built on trust, dedicated to efficiency, and driven by a shared mission, team members feel empowered to speak up, and they can trust that their contribution will be thoughtfully considered and (actually!) put into action. 

No wasted produce; no wasted perspectives. 

Ideas and impact take precedence over hierarchies. From (container) farm to (conference) table, we want every team member to share their thoughts. 

Farmer with an idea for streamlining software? Do tell. Coder with a plan for container farm innovation? We’re ready to explore the option. 

Some of our best inventions have come from giving our colleagues the freedom to stay curious and come up with better ways to get things done. This sort of creativity and initiative is one of the things that makes us so excited to be a part of this exceptional crew.

lettuce plants being removed by a board with pegs

There is no “typical day” 

We are never bored.

Our work is fulfilling and fast paced — and it is hard. We are building an unprecedented model in a labor-intensive industry, and that means every person has to bring their A-game every single day. There’s no coasting, no watching the clock, and no wasting time wondering what the heck you’re doing with your life. 

This work is physically and mentally demanding, and it requires laser-focus, determination, and unrelenting drive. 

Good thing we take our fun seriously too.

We know how to celebrate the fruits (and veggies) of our labor and recognize every milestone. Good times come easy when you’re surrounded by awesome people you genuinely want to spend time with! 

We want to build better communities and a better world. So naturally, we’re starting at home. At every AmplifiedAg location now and into the future, we’re working to mirror the world we want to create: a world full of good food, game-changing ideas, and happy humans. Thanks for growing with us. 

Want to join us on our mission to reimagine food? Check out our open positions and apply here!