WHO WE ARE
We are a science powered team of young whiz kid farmers, designers, and managers out to make the world a better place. Our co-founders Conner and Kevin met while doing their Master of Science degrees at the University of Toronto where they realized we need to make a change!
WHY WE DO THIS
We know the world needs more food, but importantly it needs better food. We set out to take on the challenges of sustainability, fresh food, and modern living by building a system that grows more food, faster, using 99% less water and no pesticides. What makes us unique? Is that we do this in a single beautiful system that not only fits in your home but makes it a better place to live.
TOGETHER WE HAVE ALREADY SAVED
When urban dwellers have access to fresh,
affordable, produce year-round, everyone wins.
We’ve set some serious goals: Before the 8 billionth person is born we want to accomplish three things: Eliminate 8 billion miles of food transported. save 8 million litres of water, grow 800 000 lbs of local, sustainable food. No biggie.
The ability to grow food promotes resilience in cities and communities. Environmental damage (fertilizer run-off, ocean “dead zones”, top soil degradation, water usage, food miles), is mitigated. We want to empower you to be a part of the greater solution, and enjoy all the personal benefits that come along with it.
Conner Tidd MSc. BA.
Conner is an avid sustainability strategist and innovator. His sustainability work has brought him around the globe. He has experience working in international management roles in the charity sector, tackling sustainability and innovation challenges in the agricultural industry, and doing academic research coast to coast.
Kevin Jakiela MSc. BSc.
Kevin is a chemist and plant scientist with years of experience. Kevin has tackled health challenges across Canada. He has worked with Oxford County Health Department screening water for potential contaminants as well as working with First Nations Cree in Northern Quebec as an educator. He also has a breadth of experience working with hydroponics at a commercial scale.
Operations and Sales Lead
Sales and Marketing
TOGETHER WE'VE ACHIEVED
WHY OUR STORY MATTERS
(and all the exciting science behind it)
Had you asked us a few years ago where we thought we'd end up, the vertical hydroponic farming business would have been an unlikely guess. However, as the story often goes, our destinations can be unexpected.
We are excited to be where we are now.
As graduate students at the University of Toronto we often hear about so many environmental and social problems which lack real solutions. These include:
The two of us have unique backgrounds in agriculture, science, and the environment. Our passion for these issues brought us to a collaboration in plant science and international development.
We are solutions driven individuals. We saw a unique opportunity to take on many of these challenges by empowering people to grow their own food.
We started Just Vertical in pursuit of solution that takes pressure off of the environment, enables individuals to grow their own food, and ultimately changes the way cities feed themselves.
Our first crack at the hydroponic thing
We tried licensing and reselling other products on the market with our own plant science. It worked on a small scale and we achieved a positive reception. At the time, however, we spent all our time in the lab with our heads down instead of keeping a finger on the cultural pulse.
"Can’t you make it look a little nicer?"
Our first custom product, the design-focused AEVA, empowers our customers to easily and affordably grow their own food from their homes.
The AEVA's advanced irrigation system delivers water and nutrients directly to the roots of the plants via submersible pump and tubing - it's as simple as that. It's also pretty easy on the eyes.
So about all those problems, what kind of impact can we create?
Water scarcity is a huge global issue and agriculture is one of the largest users of water around the world. Our system uses 95-99% less water than traditional agriculture since it uses direct irrigation on a closed loop system.
In other words:
The water you use has nowhere to go but to the plants.
Fertilizer run-off is a major cause of ‘dead zones’ in places like the Gulf of Mexico. When fertilizer is sprayed on a farmer’s field there is a chance that it will leech into groundwater or run off the top into local watersheds. When enough of this fertilizer accumulates (specifically the nitrogen and phosphorous) it creates algae blooms which are fatal to aquatic life.
Farmers and companies have made great strides in improving fertilizer usage but we still face significant challenges.
We solve this problem by having all our nutrients go directly to the plants with no fertilizer ever running into local watersheds.
SAVING OUR SOIL
Healthy top soil is vital to the Earth’s ecosystems. It's like the skin of the earth that produce needs to grow. Unfortunately, over half of the Earths soil has been destroyed or degraded. As one of the less sexy environmental problems this one doesn’t get much attention, but that doesn’t take away from the magnitude of the issue.
By using zero soil in our hydroponic system, we are giving the earth's top soil a chance to recover.
Consuming the amount of food we do at current prices makes pesticides a necessary evil. It’s no secret that when pesticides are not used responsibly they can harm their surrounding ecosystems.
No need to worry here: The AEVA is completely pesticide free.
People just like you all over the world are frustrated with what they see as a decline in the quality of food at the grocery store, from tomatoes with tough skin to cilantro that goes bad the day after you buy it.
These are unintended consequences of the current food system.
Getting fresh produce when the ground outside is snow-covered means your food needs to be grown far away. Often produce is picked a week or more before you ever see it. To maintain freshness, the fruit is picked before it is ripe (think green bananas) for it to have a longer shelf life.
We are changing this by giving you access to fresh food all year long.
FOR MORE OF US
Cities and urban sprawl have led to some significant problems with food ‘deserts’. These can be areas of several square blocks where there is no access to fresh food in stores. This can severely affect someone’s diet and health.
We strive for towards the day where we can minimize or eliminate these food deserts by empowering individuals to grow their own food.
Have you ever gone to a grocery store and seen a head of lettuce suddenly cost $10 and somehow they’re sold out? This happens when a system of bad weather knocks our monoculture system off balance. A drought in California or a flood in South Carolina can drive the price of produce through the roof and cause a decline in quality.
Fresh food is set to increase in price during a time where we need to feed more people with less farmland to expand into.
Remote areas in Canada and around the world struggle to bring in fresh produce. When they do have access to fresh produce it is often ridiculously expensive. By creating the ability to grow indoors, in any condition, Just Vertical can bring fresh food to the Arctic, the desert, or... even Mars (Elon Musk has yet to return our calls).
We want to ensure that families and cities will always have access to fresh produce at an affordable price.
GET YOUR AEVA
You can almost taste it! Get your AEVA now and start growing.
Buy your AEVA today and you will have your fresh herbs before you know it
Learn more on our website or contact the Just Vertical team directly