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.

A Growing Trend In Produce Farming Gives Back to Lowcountry Organizations – ABC News 4

A Growing Trend In Produce Farming Gives Back to Lowcountry Organizations – ABC News 4

ABC News 4 features Vertical Roots farm site on Daniel Island, SC.

“We can grow 3, 400 heads of lettuce at a time,” explained Wheat, Vertical Roots Director of community engagement. “They’re going to be harvested on the second of January.”

Twenty-four of these recycled shipping containers have been transformed into Hydroponic Lettuce Farms, making Vertical Roots one of the largest in the nation.

Vertical Roots 2019 Update: Southern Hospitality Goes Green

Vertical Roots 2019 Update: Southern Hospitality Goes Green

Vertical Roots was founded in the Lowcountry, by Lowcountry locals, for our Lowcountry neighbors. Our home is an ecological wonderland with pristine beaches, living wetlands, and old-growth forests. It happens to be a culinary wonderland too – and the story of our food culture is as much about people as it is about flavor.

As a startup born and raised in the culture of Southern hospitality, people and place are central to our everything we do. As we look back at 2019, we’re proud to report that we gave back to our community and environment – and had an awesome time doing it! 

Here’s what we were up to this year while growing the best lettuce around: 

Love for the Planet 

By the Numbers:

~14,000 … pounds of organic material converted to compost and healthy soil

~18 … tons of waste kept out of landfills and recycled for a new life

1500 … pounds of litter cleaned up from our local beaches, wetlands, and forests 

Our unique approach to farming enables us to conserve resources and dramatically cut down on greenhouse gas emissions normally involved in producing and transporting produce. For instance, in 2019 we saved 64 million gallons of water compared to conventional farms! But we don’t just want to reduce our impact, we want to proactively work to improve the health of the environment. 

To do that, we called on our friends and worked with like-minded organizations in the Lowcountry. Which leads us to –

Love for our Neighbors 

By the Numbers:

~300 team-member volunteer hours out in the community 

~200 events and tours to educate, assist, and collaborate with local farmers and leaders

~194,069 … pounds of lettuce donated to feeding programs

Conservation is a community affair. As much as we want to (and we really want to), we can’t save the world on our own. But as a group of farmers that are deeply integrated with our community, we are leveraging the power of many to build a vibrant future for our neighbors and a bright future for the food system more broadly. 

Want to jump on the bandwagon? Here are just a few local organizations that we volunteered with this year––click through and sign up! 

Thanks for sharing our excitement for good food and big change! We’re thankful to be making your dishes more delicious and better for Mother Earth, to boot. 


Your Local Lettuce Farmers

To stay up to date on our work, follow us on Instagram. And to learn more about the perks of hydroponic farming, check out these facts!

Harris Teeter: Meet Your Neighbor Features Vertical Roots

Harris Teeter: Meet Your Neighbor Features Vertical Roots

Harris Teeter features hydroponic container farm, Vertical Roots. This video feature was recorded on-site at the State Farmer’s Market in Columbia, SC. The Harris Teeter: Meet Your Neighbor program, lists Vertical Roots as a Home Town and Regional Partner for the Southeast.

Lead Farmer, Rebekah Laughridge shares the passion behind Vertical Roots’ mission, “Here at Vertical Roots we’re not just a farmer. We’re producing new lettuce from seed to harvest and we’re getting local food out to our communities in a sustainable way.”

With a committment to support local businesses such as; farms, fishermen, local town products, and breweries is clear with Harris Teeter’s “Meet Your Neighbor” program. These business and product features reach across four categories: 1) From your local neighbor (in-state partners), 2) From your regional neighbor, 3) From your USA neighbor, and 4) Harris Teeter Home Town. This program also shares video and images, education points about each partner, and recipe features for farms and produce brands.

The highlight video on Harris Teeter’s YouTube channel features team members from across the company. Including highlights from Andrew Hare, GM, Rebekah Laughridge, Lead Farmer, and Evan Aluise, Chief  Engineer. Follow the link below to see and hear more Vertical Roots Farm. Vertical Roots is changing the produce industry with software, technology and indoor hydroponic systems built in up-cycled shipping containers.

Harris Teeter is a subsidiary of The Kroger Co., founded in 1960 by North Carolina grocers W.T. Harris and Willis Teeter. Harris Teeter operates over 230 grocery stores in seven states including; North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Delaware, Florida, and the District of Columbia. The regional grocery store chain employs approximately 30,000+ associates, according to the retail giant.

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.

Indaco, GrowFood, and Vertical Roots Partnership

Indaco, GrowFood, and Vertical Roots Partnership

Take an inside look at how local food is distributed to local restaurants through Charleston’s GrowFood Carolina, Indaco Restaurant, and Vertical Roots.

“Since I moved here about a year and a half ago i was really really happy to find GrowFood. It’s kind of the main space to help connect all the farmers to all the local restaurants.”  – Chef Michael Holler, Incado