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How Just Vertical Responded to COVID-19

Author: Conner Tidd

SARS-CoV2, the cause of COVID-19, has spread across the world at a blistering pace, changing how we live our lives. However, the pandemic was not just left to scientists and doctors to solve. Everyone had to pitch in.

From wearing masks, staggering unemployment, and working from home; “the new normal” defined our lives for the past 8 months and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This pandemic has forced everyone to change how they live their lives and Just Vertical is no exception.

At Just Vertical, COVID-19 presented challenges for how we wanted to interact with customers and how we operated. Our co-founders focused on how the teams could WFH as much as possible. Everyone looked for opportunities to normalize their schedules whether it was adjusting fitness routines or taking up new hobbies. However, one area that the pandemic hit very hard was our desire to build partnerships in the community.

Operation and Sales Lead Patrick Ladly-Fredeen was exploring a wide range of partnerships that included schools and restaurants which were shuttered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to build these partnerships because we want growing your own food to be a common experience and not a niche one.

A key goal for Just Vertical is to educate people and children to understand the benefits of growing their own foods. We wanted to introduce growing food at home to children at a young age so they could understand the benefits.

First, we initially considered a wide array of hands-on projects to help teachers plan lessons, but the pandemic made this an impossibility. Instead, Patrick built education plans for grade 1 and grade 3 students that could be done virtually.

Second, no one was immune from the pressures of having kids not going to school and we wanted to help parents supplement their children’s activities in a fun and educational way. We distributed almost 500 seed packs to parents for free so that they could try germination experiments with their kids. We thought this would alleviate some of the pressures from parents and help teach the new generation more about how to grow plants.

Ultimately, we want everyone to begin thinking about growing their own food at home. The first step is to help people understand how to grow and what the benefits are. Despite the pandemic, we hope that you are all staying safe and are finding new ways adjust to the new normal.


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