Did you know that Rise Gardens’ customers have saved 8 million gallons of water from growing their own vegetables? I now live near the shores of Lake Michigan, with its abundant fresh water. But I grew up gardening in Colorado, a “high-altitude desert” where every yard has sprinklers, and you can’t be a successful gardener without daily watering. Rise Gardens’ saves water because 90% of the water in your garden is taken up by plants, and your nutrients are kept in solution rather than running to waste.
This matters because our current agricultural system is, frankly, unsustainable. It was a major motivation for me to get into hydroponic gardening. A powerful illustration of this can be found in the Imperial Valley in Southeast California, which grows 67% of the US’s vegetables in the winter. The water for this desert climate comes from the overtaxed Colorado River. The New York Times has been running an excellent series on the water crisis threatening our agricultural production and water supplies in major Southwestern cities.
According to our mobile app, Rise Gardeners have planted over 500,000 plants, and we are collectively growing 50,000 plants now. That translated to 470M food miles eliminated and over 300,000 pounds of food harvested in addition to the 8 million gallons of water saved. These numbers are certainly higher as not everyone records every plant in their app (sound familiar?) The real numbers are probably twice as high, which would mean that we’ve grown at least 1M plants and saved 940M food miles and 16M gallons of water. These are huge numbers any way you look at it.
What’s more, you’re not only growing food hyper-locally, saving water, and avoiding pollution, but you’re also eating much better food. Leafy greens start losing important vitamins immediately after harvest, expiring over 50% of certain vitamins within two days of harvest and nearly all of them before they land on your local grocery store shelves. So, your Rise-grown lettuce is nutrient-dense and free of pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides. You should feel great about what you’re doing for the environment and your body!
While the stats are impressive, there are probably other reasons you bought your garden. I’m a gardener, and I understand very well that we do this because we love coaxing and nurturing life from a simple seed. All those grown plants represent a lot of joy coming from our gardens. This year, I enjoyed experimenting with mixes of lettuces for an ideal salad. I landed on a combination of soft texture (buttercrunch, arrowhead), color (red romaine, red-veined sorrel), crunch (Paris Is Co, radicchio) and spice (mustard, arugula). I wanted to find out how many shishito peppers one plant could grow (I gave up counting after 200, and the pepper plant took over the garden). And I enjoyed letting my kale and basil run wild as a source for smoothies most mornings and pesto sauce weekly. I unintentionally let a radish grow too big and then let it keep going just to see how big it could get. It ended up being over 7” tall before I pulled it.
I was inspired to use my garden as a source of a fun housewarming gift. I took a 3D-printed mason jar top and dropped a Holy Basil plant in it. The hostess was delighted as she had a Rise Garden, and she transferred it immediately.
We also shared the joy of growing with many kids in schools. We had several thousand gardens go to schools this year. Think of all the students, teachers, siblings, and parents our plants inspired! It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job. If you need any inspiration, just look at this video created by a partner of ours.
In addition to spreading a lot of joy, Rise Gardens as a company had a good year. I set out to raise some money to fund our growth, and though it was a challenge in a tough financial environment, we were supported by our investors. This year, Rise Gardens has taken another leap forward. We've introduced the Rise Roma, a testament to our commitment to continuous innovation and, for the third consecutive year, won the Consumer Electronics Show’s award for Best Food & Ag Tech Product. Imagine growing Roma tomatoes, fig trees, lemon trees, right in your living room. That's not just gardening; it's a deeper connection to the food we eat and the world around us.
So, as we look forward to 2024, let's celebrate this journey of growth, sustainability, and joy. Let's keep planting, nurturing, and harvesting, for the health of our planet and of our families.
Founder, Rise Gardens