MEET THE FARMER
Southern Pines, NC
"My name is Isaac Kundinger and I am 26 years old. As a young entrepreneur in 2017 I took the money I had saved over my life time and embarked on the adventure of starting my own business, The Conscious Cultivators LLC. I grew up in the Sandhill’s but my roots are in the mountains of North Carolina. My grandfather and great grandfather were farmers who farmed the land “the old fashioned way” with mules, hand plows, and such. I had originally taken some college classes for pre dental. After working in the field for a year or so, I realized that the work was not fulfilling for me. I had friends out west
who were growing medical marijuana, this peaked an interest with me in indoor farming. I was very interested in the science of vertical gardening and began researching it in my free time. I made a couple trips out west to my friend’s farms to observe their growing process and techniques. I began to see that especially in urban areas that indoor farming is becoming the wave of the future. In my research I discovered microgreens- colorful vegetable greens that are highly nutritious and packed with antioxidants, and harvested after the true leafs have developed. They appeal primarily to those who focus on nutrition or else are used in both a visual, and flavorful component in fine dining restaurants. The concept of growing microgreens indoors appealed to me through vertical farming and it was evident to me that one can grow more nutritious food for more people in much less space. This has become my passion and in 2017 I decided to launch the Conscious Cultivators LLC, a commercial farming business, specializing in the cultivation and distribution of microgreens. I started out in a 10 x 20 bay of my parents garage and turned it into a vertical grow room with 25 shelves and 20 different varieties of microgreens. I experimented with the growing process, the lighting, temperature, ventilation, heating/air, water, etc. until I developed a thriving environment for microgreens. Once I was able to consistently produce a top quality product, I began taking samples to local upscale restaurants, country clubs, health foods stores, and farmers markets. Working close by the customer is how I have built my clientele over the past 2 years. My vision for the future is to get GAP certified so that I can expand to large distributors, catering companies, colleges, and other large commercial outlets. I recently tripled my indoor vertical space to accommodate the growing needs of my customers. Building a business from the ground up has not been easy but I can truly say that I am finding joy in the journey. I would like to thank all of the chefs and businesses who have supported me and believed in me, you have played a huge role in my success. Seeing my product used so creatively and artistically displayed to create mouthwatering, and nutritious dishes in our local restaurants and knowing that I played a part in it is extremely rewarding."
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