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 As such, it’s not entirely surprising that our mental image of “the farmer” is badly outdated.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. 

Vertical Roots comes to the Midlands – WLTX 19

Vertical Roots comes to the Midlands – WLTX 19

WLTX 19, LEXINGTON, S.C. — Vertical Roots, based out of Charleston, is expanding their hydroponic lettuce farms to a second location at the S.C. State Farmers Market in Lexington County.  

CEO of Vertical Roots, Don Taylor, explains hydroponics as farming without using soil as a medium.

 “The roots are hanging in the air and the water and water is running over the roots. So, we deliver water and nutrients to the plant with no dirt,” said Taylor

Growing local lettuce the smart, safe, and sustainable way – Count On News 2

Growing local lettuce the smart, safe, and sustainable way – Count On News 2

Count On News 2 features Vertical Roots farm site on Daniel Island, SC. 

A local organization is redefining what a farm looks like – trading fields for shipping containers. Done with safety and sustainability in mind, Vertical Roots’ diverse team is producing local lettuce for the Lowcountry with a firm background in science.

Vertical Roots and its parent company AmplifiedAg started 3 years ago with an idea Stefanie Swackhamer and her father, Don Taylor, had – melding his warehouse management software with horticulture.”