It all started with a pumpkin. A 1,138 pound pumpkin which shattered the state record by a whopping 428 pounds…but a pumpkin nonetheless. William Layton is no stranger to Lynchburg, having been raised just up the road in Nelson County, VA. After an economic downturn left him looking for a career change more than a decade ago, he rediscovered his love for the land, and for growing things as close to nature as possible. When he started getting noticed for his record-breaking pumpkins, a friend suggested that he try to turn that into a career…and that’s just what he’s done.
What is Agria™?
Formerly known as TrueOrganic, Agria™ comes from the Latin term for “wild, of plants”, which is exactly what their mission entails. Headquartered in Lynchburg, Agria is, at its core, designed to be environmentally friendly, community focused and sustainable. Circular in its sustainability methods, through eliminating waste and continuously reusing its resources, Agria™ is at the cutting edge of future growing technology. It conducts AgTech (agricultural technology) research, and is continuously innovating, developing and perfecting products and methodology.
Freshly Cut from the ‘Farm’
Starting in a greenhouse and abandoned facility in partnership with the City of Lynchburg, Agria™ consistently produces USDA Organic Certified produce without the use of chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers. Crops include tomatoes, spinach, varieties of lettuce, herbs, edible flowers, carrots, beets, red onions, strawberries and more. While it doesn’t look like any farm you’ve ever seen, we can attest to the quality based on extensive ‘research’ (taste tasting).
As part of their partnership with the City of Lynchburg, Agria™ has been providing food to community centers and the people in their neighborhoods. Long-term, this is what they see as the future: feeding their own community with food produced from the community. While the pandemic has hindered some of their ability to interact in person, William and his team are looking forward to continued involvement with their community, and hope to provide education and training resources to young people in the community centers.
Looking to the Future
Agria™ is just getting started, and has the knowledge, investment and innovation to continue to scale upwards. With a focus on sustainability, community and the environment, they hope to use their methods as a model for other communities to emulate. As William can tell you, this isn’t just a business, it’s personal. Investing in the land and the community that raised him means this isn’t just work…it’s a lifetime of commitment. And to think…it all started with a pumpkin seed.
Find them on Instagram: @trueorganicag