Jeffrey Orkin - owner
Jeffrey's passion for growing indoors began in 2008 when he lived in a condo in the heart of downtown Nashville. At the time, he was a Landscape Architect for Gresham Smith and Partners and was committed to infusing sustainability into everything he did. Jeffrey wanted to grow his own food, but living in a downtown condo meant he had to improvise. After some research, he learned that he could grow produce indoors and without soil using hydroponics. For a few years, Jeffrey experimented with growing food in his window until he discovered an unused utility room on the roof of his building. In 2012, he launched a Kickstarter to help fund his R&D arm know as Urban Hydro Project to build a hydroponic system in the utility closet.
After 16 months of R&D, he decided to take his hobby to the next level and rented the 6,000 sf warehouse that now houses Greener Roots Farm. Jeffrey and his wife, along with Andy and various other friends, built the entire farm from the ground up. In July of 2014, Greener Roots Farm planted its first seeds, and Nashville's first commercial scale vertical farm was born.
Jeffrey has degrees in Landscape Architecture, Landscape Contracting, and a MBA with a sustainability concentration. When not growing lettuce indoors, Jeffrey enjoys gardening, hanging out with his dogs, and exploring Nashville's unbelievable food scene.
Andy Balazs - indoor Farm manager
Born and raised in Indiana, Andy became determined to pursue a career in the hydroponic industry while studying at Indiana University. He was quite fascinated with hydroponic technology, and saw the exploration of it as a possible sustainable food source as a unique opportunity to blend his passion of science, plants, and environmental consciousness.
He ended up with a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Physics and headed to Nashville in 2013. Andy joined the team in 2014, when the vertical farm was an empty warehouse, and has become an integral part in the growth of Greener Roots.
When he’s not farming for a living, he enjoys growing his own extremely hot peppers and then cooking Hungarian food that is too hot for anyone else to eat.
Alex neild - Assistant Grower
Alex’s love of plants and the outdoors began as a child; gardening in the backyard with her parents, visiting apple orchards, and hiking forest trails along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Her love has grown as she worked in the research greenhouses at the University of TN, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a concentration in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and has led her to Colorado where she’s spent 2 summers studying the effect of climate change on local plant populations and tracking patterns of the Carbon Cycle through plant communities at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.
During her downtime, Alex enjoys yoga, hiking and eating tacos.