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.

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! 

Cunningham Holds Listening Session With Lowcountry Agricultural Community – Live 5 News

Cunningham Holds Listening Session With Lowcountry Agricultural Community – Live 5 News

Live 5 News spotlighted members of the Lowcountry’s sustainable agricultural community meeting with Congressman Joe Cunningham at Vertical Roots headquarters.

I serve on the Natural Resources Committee, and specifically having this type of knowledge, this kind of information as to the industries here in Charleston, the communities they serve, and what they’re doing is vital to making the best decisions in representing our constituents in the first district and the Lowcountry,” Cunningham said.

What does it mean to be a farmer?

What does it mean to be a farmer?

Agriculture is an ancient tradition. As such, it’s not entirely surprising that our mental image of “the farmer” is badly outdated. Agriculture may be ancient, but farmers aren’t historical artifacts! 

For many, a farmer is an older, overall-clad man with a 5 o’clock shadow and sun-weathered cheeks, standing in a field as dawn breaks over his crops. In this image, we find our nostalgic ideals of rugged individualism, hard work, and simplicity represented within a beautiful natural backdrop. 

The “hard work” part is definitely an enduring truth. But farming is a highly collaborative effort, and the business of farming is hardly a simple one. Farmers don’t just have to be skilled in the already challenging task of crop management, but also in business development, marketing, technology, and more. Farming is a business, not a professional association of modern-day Thoreaus!

(Okay, at our farm team’s insistence, I will admit that we have a lot of lovers of Walden)

When we only think of farming in the past tense, we stop imagining the radical possibilities for the future of food production. 

It’s time to lift the veil on farming and get to know the real people who produce our food so we can build a more just, vibrant, and sustainable food system. 

You can get to know one of our Vertical Roots farmers right here!

Farming doesn’t have one face, or one approach: from the commodity farms in the Midwest to the container farms in our backyard, diversity abounds. 

Our Vertical Roots farmers don’t exactly fit the farming stereotype. But they’re out in our farms every day planting, managing, and harvesting crops like they were born to do it. On the job, they see firsthand exactly how things are changing and how they are staying the same.

For instance, there’s a unique drive that motivates farmers to team up with nature and do the fundamental work of feeding one’s community. That doesn’t change, soil or hydroponic, ancient or modern. But some things have changed. For the newest generation of farmers, there is a tremendous sense of urgency about designing and implementing environmentally friendly practices that can sustain the food system for the long haul. Farming has always been an industry of ingenuity, and with a growing global population and limited resources, the creativity required to create a workable, scalable model has increased exponentially. 

To feed roughly 10 billion people by 2050, we’re going to need all the perspectives we can get. 

By putting our unconventional farmers front and center, we want to blow open assumptions about the industry and allow space for sustainable innovation. We’re not a food company that works with farmers. We’re a farming company that makes good food, and we’re tired of farmers being hidden away, admired but under-valued. When we bring transparency to farming, we aim to foster the next generation of farmers and open the doors for people from all walks of life to consider their role in the future of food. 

AmplifiedAg represents a turning point in farming where getting back to the fundamentals is more critical than ever, and so is finding newly efficient ways to do so. Our team embodies traditional values of productivity and ecosystem preservation, executed with a game-changing approach that allows farmers to grow in any climate at any location throughout the year. Our tech-enabled hydroponic container farms thrive without pesticides and use 98 percent less water than conventional methods; and since they’re portable, we can grow food right in the communities we serve. No more shipping thousands of miles between the farm and the grocery store and losing essential nutrients in the process. 

Our farms may not look the same as conventional farms, but they’re built from the same place of love for people and the planet. And our farmers may not all fit the stereotypical image, but each one of them carries the resourcefulness, gumption, and skill that has carried this tradition throughout millennia. 

Modern farming doesn’t look like any one thing, and that’s a good thing. That means that the modern farmer might just be the person looking back at you in the mirror. 

To learn more about our approach to farming, click here.

And if you’re one of those people with the drive to grow food and change the food system, apply to farm with us here

Overalls are not required. 

Support Local. Shop Local. Eat Local!

Support Local. Shop Local. Eat Local!

There are numerous benefits of eating local. 

One is the economic benefit of purchasing local; sales of local foods in the US have nearly doubled from $5 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2014. Research shows that for every dollar spent on locally-produced foods and their products, between $0.32 and $0.90 is returned to the local economy. Another benefit is the environmental impact of purchasing locally. Locally sourced food can also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation due to the shorter distance the food travels. Consuming local foods may have added health benefits as well. Often, we are purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables from local producers and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to decreased risk of some forms of cancer and heart disease.

Want to know more about how you can support local year round? Hear from a local registered dietician and foodie, Stephanie Hodges, on her recommendations.