SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Born and raised in Effingham County by his grandparents, Grant Anderson cherished fresh food cooked with love. He later went into business, working as an auditor for banks in Atlanta and the Lowcountry.
After meeting his wife and starting a family, Anderson found himself falling out of love with the career path he had chosen. That’s when he realized something.
“It bothered me that we didn’t have food available for our son like I had available when I was growing up,” said Anderson. “I didn’t see a whole lot of folks who grew food anymore like my grandparents did.”
In 2015, he did some research and came across an article about retirees in Boston who started growing produce in old shipping containers.
Learning more about hydroponics technology, Anderson saw a gap in the southern market in this field.
“Being good with numbers or working in an office environment just didn’t satisfy me. The idea of growing and selling better quality food became my passion,” said Anderson.
Combining his knowledge of business, his childhood joy and newfound research, he started Better Fresh Farms in 2016.
He started off with just two hydroponic systems and advertised his produce at farmers’ markets.
Brighter Day Natural Foods Market and Husk Savannah were some early partners who helped to spread the word about his greens.
“We get frequently told by restaurants and individuals alike, that we ruin people’s salad
experience,” said Anderson. “They’ll have some of our romain and then they’ll complain
to me that they can’t go back and have the salad they used to think was their favorite.”
Now, having eight systems, he produces thousands of pounds of greens a week.
Limiting waste is an important business model for Anderson, and in the fresh food market, product has to move. He still does that by selling at local markets and donating to the community.
Since hydroponics is the use of a nutrient solution and little water, Better Fresh Farms uses roughly 15 to 20 gallons of water a day versus 325,851 gallons per acre for traditional farms on average.
“There is still a considerable amount of electricity it takes to do this, and we’re trying to improve that,” said Anderson.
He is looking into solar, geothermal and wind turbine technology to mitigate some of their energy use.
Anderson had support from various organizations along the way to build his dream, groups like Georgia Grown, the City of Metter and the United States Department of Agriculture.
He’s now working to begin growing mushrooms and start a delivery service called Four Fun Guys.
Anderson looks to strengthen the economies of local communities and provide his son and other children with fresh produce.
“I think a lot of people get the impression that we think we’re gonna fix farming at Better Fresh Farms or something to that effect,” said Anderson. “But our whole goal is just to be an appropriate supplement in the market.”