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Farmer Spotlight: Ashleigh Burgess

Farmer Spotlight: Ashleigh Burgess

Farming is just one piece of the puzzle 

Our team is dedicated to the mission of providing global access to safe food, but that’s not the only thing that makes them an asset to our team. It’s their motivation to make a difference in many different areas, breaking barriers, and tapping into hobbies that make them better versions of themselves. We’re all here to learn and to evolve and to help each other get to (wherever it is) we want to go. 

  1. Go back to your childhood. What did you want to be when you grew up? 
    • When I was little, I wanted to be a princess but realistically I wanted to be an agriculture teacher!
  2. What’s your motivation for being a farmer today? 
    • What motivates me to be a farmer is my love for agriculture and educating others on the importance of where our food comes from.
  3. What has been your most memorable moment with VR?
    • My favorite part of VR is how we’ve become a big family and it makes me look forward to going to work everyday to see my best friends.
  4. What people, movies, or books inspire you?
    • The people that inspire me are all the women in agriculture. You don’t have to be a man to farm or drive heavy machinery.
  5. If you could make one change to the food system, what would it be?
    • If I could make one change to the food system, it would be transparency. People want to know where their food is coming from, what’s in it, and how long it took to get from farm to shelf.
  6. Favorite local nonprofit?
    • My favorite local nonprofit is Feed My Sheep because they provide food, clothing, and will help find homes for veterans, homeless, and families in need.
  7. What would you tell someone who wants to pursue a career in agriculture?
    • To anyone wanting a career in agriculture, I would tell them if they put their heart into it every single day, it is the most rewarding career you will ever find.
  8. What would you tell someone looking to live more sustainably?
    • For someone wanting to live more sustainably, I would tell them to think about how much energy they are using everyday at home. Unplug your appliances, turn off the lights, turn down the heater and use a blanket instead.
  9. Now the hard one: Favorite type of lettuce?
    • My favorite type of lettuce is Rouxai!
  10. What do you like doing outside of work?
    • I enjoy welding!
Columbia-area food suppliers adapt as restaurants sales drop

Columbia-area food suppliers adapt as restaurants sales drop

The Post and  Courier – Free Times highlights Vertical Roots farms in Charleston and Columbia, SC.

Charleston’s Vertical Roots, which has a growing site in West Columbia, saw an initial 30 to 40 percent retail sales spike but then saw that dip back to average sales, details Andrew Hare. The general manager and co-founder of the hydroponic projects that sales will stay stable next week and notes that restaurant sales are almost at zero.

Coping with Covid: Vertical Roots  – Charleston  Business Journal

Coping with Covid: Vertical Roots – Charleston Business Journal

Charleston Business speaks with Andrew Hare, GM of Vertical Roots.

“This virus, this pandemic, has not changed how we operate,” Hare said. “We abide by the highest level of food safety, and that’s not changing whether or not there’s a … virus spreading.”

Hare said he never wants it to come across that hydroponic farming is better than conventional farming — the two methods are just different. The most basic difference, he said, is that conventional farming is outdoors and susceptible to the effects of livestock and nature, while hydroponic farming at Vertical Roots is within a controlled environment.

The Healthy & Local Benefits of Vertical Roots Lettuces

The Healthy & Local Benefits of Vertical Roots Lettuces

We are closely following the coronavirus (COVID-19) with the guidance of the South Carolina Department of Health (SCDHEC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Vertical Roots takes your health seriously, check out our blog post about the safety measures taken by our teams here

Big Changes for Our Local Food Systems

It’s increasingly important to support our local food systems, not only do they help reduce negative environmental impact like lower emissions, they also support economic opportunities. Vertical Roots has two farming operations in South Carolina: one in Charleston with the capacity to produce about 1.2 million heads of lettuce a year and the second location in West Columbia which is about 4X the size of Charleston. We want to help these areas and raise awareness for how local restaurants are adapting their businesses to keep providing our communities with fresh and healthy food. For the Charleston area, Charleston City Paper is keeping track of restaurants with to-go and delivery expansions and for the Columbia area, WIS 10 Columbia has captured a similar list and carryout options. 

With the local food system rapidly changing to keep communities safe, maintaining a balanced nutritional diet is also vital. Vertical Roots products are packed with lots of vitamins and minerals that support immune system health.

Why is the Immune System important?

The immune system is a defense system for our bodies. It helps fight infection from germs (microbes) and viruses. Nutrition is a key factor to immune system health to ensure our bodies can fight and prevent these infections and ideally, make us less susceptible to infections. 

How do leafy greens support healthy immune systems?

Dark green and red-colored leafy greens indicates higher nutritional content and most leafy greens are a great source of vitamins and minerals essential for immune system health:

    • Hydration supports the immune system and leafy greens hold high water content that’s packed with soluble nutrients
    • Antioxidants can help protect and balance the body by fighting free radicals. 
    • Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that’s converted into Vitamin A, which is a nutrient appearing to be rich in disease-fighting elements. 
    • Fiber promotes the removal of toxins.
    • Potassium helps regulate body functions such as the nervous system, muscle and heart contractions, and fluid balance.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids can help prevent blood clotting, promote heart health as well as fight inflammation, depression and anxiety.
    • Folate helps your body create new cells and may play a role in preventing heart disease and inflammation.
    • Vitamin A is known to promote healthy eyes, skin, and immune system.
    • Vitamin B’s
      • B5 promotes the production and release of antibodies from B-cells.
      • B6 may promote brain health, eye health, and may help fight depression.
      • B1 (thiamin) is needed for nerve and muscle functions as well as metabolizing carbohydrates
      • B2 (riboflavin) is needed for metabolism and energy production.
      • B12 helps to maintain healthy cells, nerves, and DNA production.
    • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps boost your immune system and may help combat iron deficiency, lower heart disease risk, and lower blood pressure.
    • Vitamin K plays a role in benefits that include healthy bones, improved memory, and heart health.
Let’s stay healthy, safe, and keep our local food system strong. We’d love to see what you’re eating, tag @verticalroots with your nutritional doses of Vertical Roots lettuces.