We love seeing the growth of our past winners and want to share their sustainability journeys with you! We have been following up with our past winners by asking them a series of questions to see how their careers have developed over time.
Conner was one of the 2018 Clean50 Emerging leaders, awarded for co-founding a multi-million dollar sustainability-driven urban agriculture company, Just Vertical, which has successfully eliminated millions of food kilometres through local growing, saved hundreds of thousands of litres of water, and grown hyper-local produce without using pesticides or biotechnology. He was also awarded for engaging in a project to grow 1000 lbs of food for the on-campus food bank at the University of Toronto.
Q: Can you describe your current position and company?
A: I am currently the CEO at Just Vertical where we build stylish indoor gardens that are as good-looking as they are productive. Our gardens empower people in urban centres to grow their own food 365 days per year while using 95% less water and no pesticides when compared to traditional agriculture. redefining the term waste to resource.
Q: Since you were last recognized for an Emerging Leader award, how have your impacts grown?
A: We have continued to grow our company and our impact. To date, we have now eliminated over 200 million kilometres of food transport and have deployed over 1000 gardens across North America.
Q: How has being recognized early on in your journey as a Clean50 emerging leader affected your journey?
A: Being recognized as a Clean50 emerging leader has helped immensely on my journey as it has validated our journey in others’ eyes and brought attention to the mission we are on.
Q: Any upcoming exciting news that you would like to feature? What’s your next goal?
A: We recently received a venture capital investment from Arlene Dickinson which we are using to further push the company and expand our impact. Our next goal is to pass our goal of a billion miles of food transport eliminated.
Q: Do you have any advice for young adults starting their sustainability careers?
A: My advice would be to not be afraid to get into the trenches to try and figure things out. So much of what I’ve learned has been things I’ve had to do on the fly without any formal training. If I hadn’t been forced to try new things and just stayed in my comfort zone I definitely would not be where I am today!