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Upstart University

Upstart University offers specialized farming courses to teach you how to plan, build, and operate your farm. Taught by Dr. Nate Storey and other industry experts, Upstart University empowers you to make your farm a lasting success for the price of a few lattes a month.

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Course: Crowdfunding Campaign Success

This webinar course dives deep into the most important elements for having a successful campaign including things like how to authentically earn community support, what gifts to give, how to master your social and email promotions, and even how to turn your campaign success into long-term sales.

Course: 1000: Goals and Action Planning

To get started, let’s assess your farm goals, analyze your current position, and organize an official timeline to keep things moving forward.

1010: Understanding ZipGrow

ZipGrow is the primary vertical production method, so understanding how the technology works and is applies is important for anyone wanting to engage in modern, high-density farming.

1020: The Four Markets

Upstart Farmers primarily serve four markets: Farmers’ Markets, CSAs, Restaurants, and Grocery Stores. In this course, learn the benefits and challenges of each.

1030: Intro to Hydroponics

Ready to learn how to grow hydroponically? Here’s an intro to hydroponics with Dr. Nate Storey. We strongly recommend that every Upstart U student complete this course before moving on to higher level course work.

1040: Intro to Business Planning

When you’re looking to start an Upstart Farm, a business plan is essential. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a backyard farm or tens of thousands of square feet in a warehouse – a business plan will guide and define your efforts.

1060: Farm Compliance & Food Safety

Need to know farm compliance and food safety? We’re going to deliver a bunch of information to save you the time of looking it up on the internet and wading through pages of legalese to find the info you want.

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2000: Funding Your Farm

Getting the funds together for your first farm can be a daunting task. Truth is, there’s plenty of funding options out there for Upstart Farmers – you just have to know which option you want to pursue and what information you’ll need.

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2010: Insect Pest Management

Understanding how to properly manage insect pest problems on your farm will help you be successful and profitable. In this course, learn insect ecology, management and applications.

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2050: Foundations of Aquaponics

This course provides all of the initial information necessary to begin to dive into the art and science of aquaponics on a deeper level. This course is a great starting point for anyone, regardless of their education or experience level.

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4000: Lighting for Upstart Farmers

Light and lighting is hugely important for planning your vertical farm. Learn the fundamentals of lighting for Upstart Farmers in this course.

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Webinar: LED Lighting for Indoor Farmers

Whether youre growing indoors or just providing supplemental lighting for the plants in your greenhouse, LED lighting should be on your radar. This webinar-based mini-course will teach you the basics of LED lighting.

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Green Walls for Restaurants Mini Course

In this mini course, guest lecturer Teryl Chapel of City Planet Farms, gives insight into how to contract green walls for restaurants.

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Intro to Aquaponics Mini Course

This course focuses on how things work in aquaponic systems, why they work that way, and what this means for your decision to go with hydroponics or aquaponics.

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Law for Upstart Farmers Part 1: Intro to Organics Mini Course

In this course, we’ll focus on the relevant laws surrounding organic production in the United States, including labeling, pros and cons, practices and issues facing organic producers, and more.

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Law for Upstart Farmers Part 2: Basic Legal Research Skills Mini Course

This course will outline a strategy for conducting your own legal research, discuss the resources you’ll need and how to access them, and how to apply them.

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Law for Upstart Farmers Part 3: Intro Food Labeling & Weighing Mini Course

Proper labeling and weighing of produce is a regulatory area that every Upstart Farmer will encounter. Learn the proper techniques & methods in this course.

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SketchUp Basics Mini Course

When planning your greenhouse or warehouse it is an advantage to have a tool that creates visuals of various setups. This mini course will give a basic introduction to SketchUp and how it can be used to plan a ZipGrow farm.

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Understanding Freight Farms Mini Course

Freight Farms members walk you through their story and show you how a high-density Freight Farm works.

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Bright Agrotech eBooks

Bright Agrotech eBooks cover topics ranging from crop management to marketing for farmers. Get started with these info-rich lists, guides, and keys.

The Recommended Crop List

The Bright Agrotech Recommended Crop List is a tool for many novice hydroponic growers that saves time and heartache. This list covers a wide variety of different greens, herb, and fruiting crop species while giving in depth advice on the environmental needs, reproductive cycles, harvesting and pruning best practices for each crop.

Nutrient Deficiency Key

The Diagnosing Plant Nutrient Deficiencies Key is a step-by-step guide to determining nutrient deficiencies in your system. Fix your system now!


Farmers’ Market Grower’s Packet

Farmers Markets are an easily accessed, ever-growing market. Theyre becoming more and more popular, driving participation from more customers and vendors. Learn what it takes to sell at Farmers Markets.


Business Planning Guide

In this guide, youll learn how to write a business plan, determine your farm costs, and predict your farm revenues. This resource was written specifically for those pursuing commercial hydroponic production using ZipGrow towers.

Recommended Crop List

Get growing with this guide to the best crops for ZipGrow towers. Yield, light requirements, common pests, and more are discussed for each recommend green, herb, and other crop. Choose your crops wisely.

CSA Grower’s Packet

Market, sell, and implement your new CSA with this packet. Included are best management practices, a getting started checklist, a CSA contract template and more.

Restaurant Grower’s Packet

Approach, sell, and maintain local restaurants as a part of your farms marketing strategy. This packet will guide you through the process to get you started.

Production Estimates Calculator

By inputting your growing area square footage, desired proportions of greens and herbs production, and local market prices, this calculator will tell you your weekly and annual revenue, your weekly and annual production, and the number of seedlings necessary to achieve these production results.

Pest & Disease Control Packet

Having trouble with plant disease or pests? Dont worry- this tailored guide will help you learn how to combat common plant diseases and pests quickly and efficiently.

Grocery Grower’s Packet

Prepare your farm for the grocery store market with this guide to negotiation, the grocery sales process, and compliance.