2008: Humble Beginnings
Green City Growers is established. Jessie Banhazl was inspired by a college friend who had come across a few ambitious farmers that had started businesses installing and maintaining vegetable gardens for home owners. The idea drew Jessie away from her career in reality television, and with zero horticultural experience but a strong desire to learn, she moved back to Boston to shape a business that transplants a farm’s essence anywhere in the city.
2009-2010: Takin’ It to the Roof!
GCG develops its business plan, collateral, and establishes a client base. The company begins to understand pricing and market capabilities, which had been difficult because GCG’s business is in a brand new industry! By the end of 2009, GCG has installed over one hundred raised-beds, partnered with a major corporation and established themselves as the leading producer of raised-bed vegetable gardens for homes and businesses in New England. GCG installs its first corporate wellness garden at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare and forges a partnership with b.good. Boston’s first rooftop farm is launched by Green City Growers atop Ledge Kitchen and Drinks in Dorchester, MA, through a collaboration with Recover Green Roofs.
2011: Sales Double
GCG begins research and development of communication systems, horticultural techniques, and operating efficiencies to drive further growth. With installations like a rooftop container farm for b.good in Downtown Boston and the beginning of GCG’s relationship with Camp Harbor View, sales double in the Greater Boston area. GCG invests in staff and infrastructure, as well as lays the groundwork for additional commercial customers.
2012: Planning and Restructuring
GCG sales grow in Massachusetts, and the company secures its contract with Whole Foods Market: Lynnfield, paving the way for the first rooftop farm on a grocery store in the US. The costs of goods sold is reduced by 20% though investment in equipment. GCG’s key management positions are secured. The company is restructured to handle additional growth and reduce expenses for future product/services, and a marketing and sales plan is developed for the future.
2013: A Book, A Grocery Store, and a School System
Green City Growers is converted to an LLC. The company widens the reach of its services to Central Massachusetts and Long Island with new clients. The Whole Foods Market rooftop farm is installed by Recover Green Roofs and put into production for the second half of the growing season, and, in collaboration with the City of Beverly and their Be Healthy Beverly initiative, GCG implements a comprehensive, inter-disciplinary garden education program across all third grade classrooms in the Beverly Public School system. GCG’s book “The Urban Bounty: How to Grow Fresh Food, Anywhere” is completed.
2014: Corporate Clients Abound
The company books a significant number of strategic customers, including athenahealth and Boston Properties, which owns the spaces for two of GCG’s Kendall Square locations. GCG begins conversations with area municipalities to secure land to install urban farm projects. GCG also begins to launch its Direct Public Offering, and is named a Benefit Corporation!
2015: The Red Sox’s Other Farm Team!
Fenway Farms is launched for Fenway Park Opening Day! Once again teaming up with Recover Green Roofs for the installation, GCG proudly works to bring fresh produce to the members of Red Sox Nation. News of Fenway Farms took GCG’s name to the international arena, with spotlights on NBC Nightly News and in the Associated Press. GCG hires a number of new staff members, secures its largest investment since its founding, and raised additional capital via its Direct Public Offering. GCG continues to build relations with area developers, and installed gardens for Assembly Row and The Street at Chestnut Hill, among others. Finally, GCG begins a partnership with Himmel Hospitality and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care as part of the Farm to Change program, to bring garden education to several area Boys and Girls Clubs.
2016: New Partnerships, New Growth
A year of significant growth and development for GCG, with expanded sales, outreach, and flourishing farm sites! GCG partners up with the Partnership for a Healthier America through their FNV campaign, allowing GCG to formally align with Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity mission. GCG also signs on to the City of Boston’s “Boston Women’s Workforce Council,” signalling our commitment to closing the gender wage gap across industries. GCG reinvigorates a partnership with B.GOOD restaurants with Hannah Farm, a 1 acre in-ground farm on Long Island in the Boston harbor. Our highest garden is installed on the ninth floor in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, and new projects come online at The Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston, four area YMCAs, and several assisted living facilities, expanding our products and services to a new audience in the eldercare sector. An additional garden installed in Merrick, NY means that GCG is officially moving beyond New England! Jessie is also featured on “Ask This Old House,” with additional press attention from Boston.com.