What is an Upstart Farmer?

Let’s face it: getting started in agriculture isn’t easy.

Young farmers [or any new farmer] are being priced out of the market by increasing land costs. Resources are limited, and those resources that new farmers can access farmer traditional tractorare expensive.

Old methods and equipment aren’t suited towards small, local farms, despite ever-increasing demand for fresh, high-quality local foods.

The work is hard, to say the least, and traditional returns aren’t very high.

This has discouraged an entire generation to seek careers elsewhere. The average age of a farmer is nearly 60 years old. But in the face of these challenges, a new breed of farmer has emerged: the Upstart Farmer.

Who are the Upstart Farmers?

Upstart Farmers are innovative food producers that are improving agriculture with sustainable, efficient techniques and a passion for what they do.

They’re overcoming daily battles by embracing new technology.

They’re working together to share expertise, knowledge, and innovative ideas.

They’re community-oriented.

They’re conscious of their impact on future generations.

Pretty amazing, right?

IAC four farmers Upstart Farmers Chris Lukenbill, Eric Amyot, Chris Michael, and Teryl Chapel discuss farming and farming software at the annual Indoor Ag Conference in 2015.

That’s why we’re so excited to introduce you to them.

What are Upstart Farmers?

Upstart Farmers are commercial agricultural producers (i.e. they grow food!)

This means they’re not only feeding their local communities, they’re also making a living growing crops. However, just because they’re a “commercial farmer” doesn’t mean they’re anything like Big Ag. In fact, Upstart Farmers represent a beautiful meeting of volume and transparency.

fwe_farmers_market_standUSFs serve local markets, like restaurants, local grocery stores, farmers’ markets and CSA shares.

They know the future isn’t high intensity monoculture far away from the city center. Instead, it’s all about growing for their local communities within the city limits where they can empower local consumers with the freshest, healthiest food possible.

They use ZipGrow towers and the Live Sales model developed by Bright Agrotech to make this happen.

Upstart Farmers are Impact-Conscious.

As soon as your food is harvested, it begins losing precious flavors and nutrients.

By growing locally, USF’s reduce the distance your food travels (also called “food miles”).

With the help Live Sales – where the farmer brings an entire tower of living food to the consumer who harvests exactly what they need – USF’s can reduce labor, packaging, and handling costs, not to mention food waste.

And when over 50% of North America’s food waste is occurring at the harvest and consumption levels, that’s a big deal.

Upstart Farmers care about making a difference and by reducing food miles, they’re not only reducing impact, they’re adding value to the lives of those in the local communities.

Dig Deeper: Learn how ZipGrow towers reduce waste and add value >>

Page Roof wall harvesting
Upstart Farmers are Innovative.

Upstart Farmers recognize the importance of efficient, labor- and cost-reducing technology as key to their success.

Remember: You can’t compete in this industry by increasing production alone. It’s all about scaling production while keeping costs constant! (Learn more)

Better yet, they are innovative, applying the ZipGrow tower to their individual use, such as retail displays, demonstrating the ingenuity of this new generation of farmers for all to see.

Not only do they delight their customers with fresh, aromatic herbs, they also give the gift of experiential harvesting.

When a customer can clip their own basil or chives, they are a customer for life!

Upstart Farmers are (Becoming) Experts.

Upstart Farmers at Indoor Ag Con 2015Through trial and error, Upstart Farmers have gained a vast knowledge of farming systems. They know what works and what doesn’t.

They’ve seen pest problems, nutrient deficiencies, and a host of other things-gone-wrong. And, they’re creating a more efficient, smarter farm every day.

They understand the importance of establishing themselves in a local market.

Most of all, when they don’t have the answers, they turn to the community of Upstart Farmers to seek and share support.

Want to join the community? Apply here.

Upstart Farmers are Positive and Passionate.

Above all, Upstart Farmers maintain an infectious, positive outlook about their farm and the future.

They are passionate about succeeding and improving their local food communities, sharing their knowledge and expertise with other farmers – when they aren’t busy in the greenhouse, of course.

Health food enthusiasts and grocery shoppers across our country feel lost, confused and neglected by Big Ag.

Over the years, our farmer has slipped further and further away from them and they can’t figure out where their food comes from.

When an Upstart Farmer brings an ultra-fresh (remember… the tower is still ALIVE!) tower of basil or mint into a local grocery store, customers begin to regain hope. Faces light up.

It’s a beautiful experience for all.


But here’s the big question: why become an Upstart Farmer?

Why join the movement and become an upstart farmer?

Lets be frank: its difficult not to.

Land prices are becoming too high for young, independent farmers to get started.

By growing with ZipGrow towers, small farmers are able to get a start.

For a much smaller investment, theyre able to start growing and expanding organically all supported by their local market and a strong community of like-minded, similarly positioned farmers.

With limited resources today and in the future be they environmental, land, financial, or capital eager, new farmers cannot afford to embrace anything less than the Upstart Farmers mission.

Upstart, not Startup

Anyone can be a startup farmer.

Upstart Farmers are different. They’re growing up – in more ways than one.

While their crops grow vertically, they’re slowly changing the face of modern agriculture and small farms.

We can’t wait to show you what they’re doing.

Find an Upstart Farmer near you. >>

Want to become an Upstart Farmer?

Check out Upstart University, the online training program to learning everything you need to become an Upstart Farmer. Courses made of videos, written content, quizzes, and assignments are designed to empower and equip you.

For $10 a month (redeemable at purchase), aspiring farmers have nothing to lose. Register now.