Our roots trace back to 2008 when our Founder and President Trevor Kenkel was just 12-years old.While exploring the stream near his family’s house in Kalispell, Montana, Trevor was shocked to discover that the frogs and fish were gone. Determined to find out why, Trevor visited the stream regularly to see if he could figure out what was going on. One day, after heavy rain had fallen, Trevor noticed how the stream had expanded due to all the extra water running into it from the surrounding land. He started following a particularly large tributary and soon found himself on the outskirts of a nearby farm. Trevor quickly realized that pesticides and fertilizers were washing out of the soil and into the stream and promised himself right then and there that he would find a more environmentally friendly way to grow organic food.
Beginning with his own small garden in his parents’ backyard, Trevor learned the basics of organic gardening. Each year, his garden got more productive but Trevor grew frustrated with the short growing season in Montana. He took to the internet and learned how hydroponic greenhouses were making it possible to grow vegetables all year-round. Trevor got excited until he noticed one very big problem—while hydroponic greenhouses are great ways to extend the growing season in cold weather, they use a tremendous amount of chemicals and fertilizers
from unsustainable sources that must be reordered, manufactured and shipped with every new planting. Instead of reusable soil, hydroponic greenhouses use disposable growing mediums that often end up in landfills. Trevor kept on researching and eventually discovered aquaponics (link to what is aquaponics page).
Trevor instantly fell in love with the idea of replacing outdoor fields with indoor greenhouses where water circulates continuously within a closed loop system that grows fish as well as plants. Just before the beginning of his freshman year of high school, Trevor took some of the money he earned over the summer and bought a 20-gallon fish tank, a pump, some fluorescent lights, five goldfish and a package of lettuce seeds. Trevor’s first crop was a stringy disappointment. Undaunted, he learned from his mistakes, made some adjustments and kept on trying. Over the next three years, his aquaponic system evolved into a 300 square foot greenhouse and Trevor was producing enough fresh produce to feed his family year-round and supply a local restaurant.
During his undergraduate studies at Bowdoin College, Trevor was thrilled to discover Maine’s natural beauty and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities. He was also impressed by Maine’s long history of supporting local food producers as well as the thriving farm to table restaurant scene. Trevor began exploring towns where he could apply everything he’d learned about aquaponics, business and sustainability and eventually found a 168-acre parcel of land available in for sale in nearby Lisbon. With Boston just over two hours away, the huge New England market within easy access and lots of hard-working people to recruit in the surrounding area, Trevor realized Lisbon was the perfect place to build a commercial-size aquaponic greenhouse. And Springworks was born.
At Springworks, we’re on a mission to grow certified organic lettuce people feel good about in every way – how it’s grown, where it’s grown and how it tastes. Simply put, we grow better lettuce in a safer, cleaner and more responsible way.
Organic is who we are, what we do and why we’re here. It’s our unshakeable belief that our proprietary aquaponic growing technology enables us to grow the best organic lettuce, build a successful business and create opportunities for our people with minimal impact on the environment.
Growing great-tasting lettuce is only part of our mission. At Springworks, we’re out to prove to the world that aquaponics is the most sustainable way to farm.