In entrepreneurship, stories often unfold with unexpected twists and turns. Hank Adams, the CEO of Rise Gardens, is no exception. As we dive into his story, we uncover the roots of his passion for sports and gardening, the pivotal moments that shaped his journey, and the profound impact of Rise Gardens on people's lives.
The Roots of Passion
Hank's journey began with dual passions—sports and gardening—etched into the fabric of his childhood. A Colorado native, he played multiple sports at a young age, continuing his athletic pursuits into college. "I grew up tending to our family garden in Colorado, and that's where my love for gardening started,” Hank said. “As the years went on, I had to let it go when I moved away to go to college, but it was always a passion I had in my life and the back of my mind," Hank recalls.
After a remarkable 30-year career in sports tech across three different businesses, Hank found himself at a crossroads. Despite the success and impact in the sports world, he questioned the true measure of well-being his products brought to people. This introspection led him to a profound realization—his next venture needed to be impactful.
Generational Gardening: A Family Legacy
Hank's connection to gardening is rooted in his family's history. “My mom spent part of her childhood on a farm, and both my parents were old enough to remember Victory Gardens being a thing,” Hank said. “ I still have the old ration cards from my grandmother from World War II.” As kids, Hank and his brother took the lead in their family garden, even being the ones to install the sprinkler system. “I remember going out in the garden every morning and bringing in a whole orange plastic pitcher of strawberries for my family to have for breakfast,” Hank said. “Everyone loved having the fresh strawberries.”
A Vision Takes Root: From Sports Tech to Rise Gardens
The inception of Rise Gardens was an evolution that spanned three years. "Honestly, hydroponics wasn’t even on my radar,” Hank said. “I originally looked into large indoor farming, and I bought a few small indoor gardens in the process," However, uninspired by the indoor garden options in the market, he took a bold step—scaling down the approach of large-scale farming for the consumer.
"Different than the other gardens in the marketplace, we do have great lights, we do have the right nutrients, and we do have quality parts for our gardens,” Hank affirms. “Because that’s how you’re going to grow the best plants and crops.” Thus, Rise Gardens emerged, marrying cutting-edge technology with a passion for gardening, providing consumers with the tools to grow a diverse array of crops right in their living spaces.
Hydroponic Gardening: A Sustainable Future
Hank envisions hydroponic gardening as an imperative for the future. "I don’t see a way it doesn’t become super important," he asserts. The looming challenges of climate change, water shortages, and the diminishing nutritional value of harvested produce during transportation underscore the need for sustainable alternatives. With its ability to support year-round local crop growth, Rise Gardens stands as a solution to these pressing issues.
The Rewards of Team and Community
As the leader of Rise Gardens, Hank finds immense joy in working with a team of passionate individuals. "It’s incredible to work with motivated and capable individuals," he shares. Beyond the confines of the office, Hank also shares how amazing the Rise Garden community is. "Our Facebook community is super involved. There’s a lot of really happy people out there. And that’s what truly leads to a successful business," Hank emphasizes.
Rise Gardens in Everyday Life
As you may expect, Hank enjoys his Rise Gardens daily. "I have three gardens at home and one in my own office," he said. His gardening tasks take unexpected turns, from cultivating a colossal radish to letting a shishito pepper plant dominate his office garden. "Right now, my current kick is the aromatic herbs. Sage, rosemary, and basil are so fragrant when you grow them fresh. I use it as aromatherapy," Hank shares.
Family Support and Shared Experiences
Hank's family has played a pivotal role in Rise Gardens. Two of his three sons have interned at Rise, and in the early days, all three contributed by hand-seeding pods. Despite initial skepticism about his shift from sports to farming, Hank's sons quickly embraced the technological marvel of Rise Gardens. "Before I knew it, they were showing all of their friends that came over how ‘cool’ the garden was," Hank laughs. The shared experience of gardening has become a bonding ritual, with his youngest son mastering the art of making pesto for Sunday dinners.