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. 

Love,

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!

Being Sustainable is Obtainable

Being Sustainable is Obtainable

Work + Life + Mission 

“You work for Vertical Roots? That’s so cool, what’s it like?!” I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve had that conversation in the last couple of months. It is SO “cool”  to work for an innovative and sustainable company right here in Charleston, South Carolina. I have to tell you, it feels good to grow and package high quality, beautiful lettuce while staying mission driven and creating a minimal footprint on the earth. Our growing method is sustainable, natural, and local. We all believe in the product and the process, I am positive this is the reason we show up happy and love our jobs.  

Making a Bigger Impact

In the last couple of months there has been some great achievements in the means of sustainability throughout the companies. We have partnered with CompostNow whose mission is to divert compostables at a business and residential level from ending up in a landfill. Instead, CompostNow uses the compostables (pizza boxes, coffee grounds and filters, paper products and all food scraps including meat, bones, and dairy) to create healthy soil. The soil created by our companies is donated to The Green Heart Project! Soil is an essential component to sustain the community gardens and urban farms that Green Heart creates and manages. (If desired, the soil can be earned back by the resident or business). We love that our employees can bring their compost from home, creating an even larger impact. The more the better! CompostNow picks up the bins which they provide, does all the heavy lifting, and records how much is being composted by weight. Composting helps combat climate change by decreasing the amount of methane emissions created by decomposing compostables in the landfill.  

For Future Generations

There has also been a beehive implemented at our Clements Crest location through the Bee Cause Project. One of our Hydroponic Farmers, Sophia Sergiadis is the Community Outreach and Events Coordinator for the Bee Cause project. The project strives to provide youth with opportunities to understand, engage, and learn from honey bees in order to connect with the natural environment while developing STEM skills. STEM is an education approach that focuses on Science, Technology, Education, Arts, and Mathematics. The vision of the project is to create a world in which future generations have the skills necessary to act as stewards of the natural environment through careers in STEAM. To date, The Bee Cause Project has provided hives for 300 schools in 50 states and 4 countries that are apart of the Bee Cause community. We are thrilled to be apart of this movement! If you have any questions or would like a hive tour you can directly email Sophia (sophia@verticalroots.com). There will be team-wide bee activities, information sessions, and volunteer opportunities in the future, so keep buzzing around and you’ll continue to learn from our awesome crew!

Stay tuned, there is always something new and exciting going on, we’ll keep you updated! Goodness grows inside!

Mary Bryan

Mary Bryan

Hydroponic Farmer

Mary studies Urban Sustainability at the College of Charleston. She’s on the board of Charleston Surf Rider Foundation as the Ocean-friendly Garden Coordinator and has been a member of the Vertical Roots family since 2018.