About Us - Our Micro Farm & Greenhouses | Bootstrap Farmer

About Us - Our Micro Farm & Greenhouses

The Bootstrap Farmer Family

Founders - Brandon Youst & Brad Youst

Brandon wears many hats at this stage of the company but he's built the current team so he can focus on the big mission - creating a network of businesses that bring hyperlocal food to a national scale.  Along with leading Bootstrap Farmer, Brandon also created the food truck and meal subscription service the Craven Local Food Market, the Urban Farm Academy entrepreneurship resource, and has most recently co-founded STEM.ag, a K-12 digital + dirt education company. 

Heres the podcast where Brandon introduces himself:

Brad is helping out with Bootstrap Farmer whenever he can.  To sum it up, Brad will basically handle anything involving a number. 

Liz Nahikian - Customer Happiness & Logistics Coordinator 

Liz (Brad's wife) is now firmly in control of our shipping & logistics as well as most of our customer inquiries.  If you've got questions - she can answer them!  If not, she'll find someone that can.  Liz loves getting feedback on how we can improve, so please reach out to her at contact@bootstrapfarmer.com! 

Megan Horner - Customer Service Representative

Bootstrap Farmer Megan

Customer support is the backbone of Bootstrap Farmer. We rely heavily on Megan to ensure our customers get our best. Megan is a standout gardener, goat mama, wife, business owner, and mother of two of the sweetest girls. Not only does she help keep things running at Bootstrap Farmer, but this busy mom and her family started a market garden, launched a local farmer’s market ,and founded a community garden to share their love of gardening. Megan and her husband Josh have been farming for over 10 years. In the last 3 years they switched to intensive market gardening and pasture poultry. We are beyond fortunate to have her on our team.

Nick Burton - Photography, Videography, Podcast Host, Community Leader & Business Consultant

Nick is clearly a man that wears many hats.  Nick can be heard on our podcast, Bootstrap Farmer Radio, or found behind the scenes of the Urban Farm Academy, doing what he does best - which is all things consulting, media & content.  Nick is the the founder of all things Victory Gardens in Paris, TX and also a co-founder of the Urban Farm Academy. 

Here is the podcast where Nick introduces himself:

 

Boots on the Ground - Piper-Klee Waddle

As one of the “boots on the ground” for Bootstrap Farmer, this Texas Master Gardener has hands-on field experience with her thriving culinary garden business Urban Dirt Co. When she isn’t designing, building, and maintaining food gardens for some of the top restaurants and corporations in the Northern-Texas area, she provides exceptional technical and customer support through phone and email for Bootstrap Farmer. This kind of expertise on staff is a resource we strive to offer our customers. 

Blog Writer/ Technical Support - Katie Russo

Katie and her husband Andy run TerraWorks, a large scale strawberry farm in Bozeman, MT. Katie is passionate about indoor and outdoor growing and has years of experience to share with our customers. Locally nicknamed “the microgreens lady” in Bozeman, we knew she was the perfect fit.

Microgreens Grow Expert/ Customer Service- Emily Gaines

Emily grows microgreens and edible flowers from her tiny urban homestead in Northern CA. She bootstrapped her Little Rainbow Farm from a side passion into a business that allows her to work at home. The better to chase after her son, pastured poultry and the occasional round of spring lambs. Emily adores testing out new crops and growing methods in a never-ending, tasty science experiment. 

'How it All Started'

by Brandon Youst

Bootstrap Farmer sprung out of my Farm-to-Table Food Truck Model, Veg2Bowl,  in Eastern North Carolina.  I was growing vegetables and herbs in high tunnel greenhouses which would go right into the mobile kitchen. Since it's a certified commercial kitchen, I was able to harvest, prepare and serve meals to customers all on the same day with little to no waste. 

 

Veg2Bowl Trailer

 

Some of the foods that I most frequently grew were lettuce, kale, chard, microgreens, tomatoes, peppers, and onions.  And of course, a few chickens for pasture raised eggs. We were doing a local and fresh version of Blue Apron, except everything is already prepared ready to eat or ready to be heated, along with private events and festivals.


    Growing Lettuce and Kale

An Idea...

For better or worse, while I was building the farm for Veg2Bowl, I was noticing tons of things on my little farm that I wish were better or more efficient. After months of research, I had figured out the most efficient way to build a high tunnel greenhouse, because knowing I had to build it myself with savings from living with mom and dad, I was not going to waste a dime.  Then while running the farm, I had the tiny idea of making seed trays so durable that they'd stop breaking on me.   

Maybe it was because I had already quit my previous job and left everything behind, I was feeling adventurous? I still don't know, but what I did know is that I could provide value to people. From there, there was no turning back.  The idea to create an ultra durable seed tray and a better high-tunnel greenhouse kit was the germination of Bootstrap Farmer, which has now grown into something I could have never imagined. 

 

The Evolution...

However... that came at a cost.  I was struggling trying to run 2 completely new businesses.  I was running a food truck, greenhouses and building an e-commerce business - all from scratch and all by myself (did I mention I also had no previous experience in any of it?)  Somehow, by some miracle, both businesses were off to a great start, but it was becoming clear, in order to turn either one of them into a long-term business, something had to change.  

The Bootstrap Farmer

It was in late 2016 when I went to seek out some mentorship with experienced business owners in Austin Texas, where I had a lucky encounter with Tom Bilyeu, the founder of Quest Nutrition.  I told him about where I was at and how running 2 businesses was about to break me.  Even though I had an e-commerce business I loved, it was not the idea I set out to change the world with. Was Bootstrap Farmer a massive distraction? - I kept asking myself.

Veg2Bowl was supposed to be my cool little business model that created the life I had envisioned for myself, and I was doing it. Certainly, I wasn't going to stop that, right?  

 

The 'Ah-ha' moment...

Tom asked me a thought-provoking question after I complained about not having the resources to scale both businesses - he asked 'If you had all the money in the world, what would you do differently?'  Coming from a near billionaire, he definitely had credibility asking the question.  

After about 3 seconds... poof.  Like magic (that guy is impressive when you meet him).  I realized, if I had all the money in the world, I'd use it to tell as many people as I could about the Veg2Bowl model.  Instead of running it myself on a daily basis, in my local community, I would have to take a step back and tell others how to start this business.  I realized, I DIDN'T NEED THE MONEY!  Bootstrap Farmer could be the ultimate conduit to spread this idea.

I realized I had everything I needed, right in front of me.   

So with the growth and reach of Bootstrap Farmer, we then launched the Urban Farm Academy to be the resource for showing others how to set up the same kind of business for themselves.  And not just the Veg2Bowl model, but ALL sustainable business models that are part a regenerative food system.  I want to explore them all.  

Growing Seedlings in Kranty Raft 

There is still much more to come from Bootstrap Farmer, Urban Farm Academy, and now STEM.ag.  I hope you'll keep following along.  If you want to follow along on my travel and backyard adventures, feel free to follow me on Instagram @brandonyoust

Thank you all for reading my story!  Please know that every product I sell, I've used on my little farm.  I learn from experience and share that with you.  I find others, learn from them, and share that with you too.  Bootstrap Farmer's goal is to find the most efficient way of doing something and sharing it with you the best way we can. 

 

I wish all of you great success with your farms and home growing projects!  

- Kind Regards,

Brandon Youst 

Founder, Bootstrap Farmer, Craven Local Food Market, Veg2Bowl, Urban Farm Academy, STEM.ag

 

To get started browse our collection of products that will help to insure you are growing the best way possible.

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Resources

Bootstrap Farmer prides itself on providing strong, versatile and cost efficient materials that you need to get your farm started.  Whether it's DIY Greenhouse KitsGreenhouse Accessories and Building Supplies or Extra Strength Plant Propagation & Growing Containers, our products are meant to last years.

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