They claim to be "a renegade team of landscape designers, farmers, and technologists passionate about regenerative practices and permaculture. We’re working to usher in the next agricultural revolution that will feed people and wildlife, protect the planet, and create rewarding jobs everywhere. Our Master Growers are currently located in central and southern United States." I don't recognize any of the names from permaculture circles, and "Master Grower" does not appear to be a standardized certification and so could mean anything. They claim to be a public benefit corporation, but https://bcorporation.net/directory?search=thrive%2Blot turns up no results. Better Business Bureau has no listing, their domain name registration is anonymized, and without knowing where they're incorporated I can't search state tax records.
They have no geographical address information listed either on their site or on Facebook, only an 800 number and an email address. Their chatbot ended the conversation when I asked to speak to a human. So either they are sketchy and being evasive on purpose, or they're legit and coming across as evasive by accident.
Yes, I could just call or email them. But if they're as influential as they claim, surely they've crossed paths with permies already. Anyone have experience with them? Thanks in advance.
I got a reply back from Justin West, and it turns out he contacted me a few years ago about my work developing what is now permacultureplantdata.com. So he is a permie going back at least that far.
His answers to my questions:
We are incorporated in TN, which allows for Benefit Corporation formation without paying B Labs their fee. I believe in B Labs and will be paying that fee so we can use the words "B Corp" and their logo soon, but for now we're being extremely pragmatic financially and can't afford it.
"Master Grower" is a term I'm not excited about, but it's something we can communicate to our average customer in a simple way that this is not just a gardener, landscaper, or even Master Gardener (which would not pass our filters for ecological systems design at all). So, instead of telling customers we'll connect them with an "agro-ecological systems design and implementation expert"–and have them think a colonoscopy is part of it–we use the simple, almost nowhere else used, "Master Grower."
We have examples of past work from our partner agro-ecological experts as many of the images on our site, but we just had our first installations in the fall and won't have any of our own pictures (that are beautiful and living at least) until the spring.
Hey thanks for posting my reply in here Ben! Saved me some time when I saw this haha.
Fundamentally, our goal is to support and enable the growth of an agro-ecological industry that brings ecological, edible, and economic abundance to local communities all over the country and eventually the world.
We’re using technology, advanced marketing and sales systems, and a project success team to support small businesses in agro-ecology now and enable new ones in the near future.
We also help our customers by connecting them with these awesome local businesses and supporting the relationship and communication throughout every project.
God is a comedian playing for an audience that is afraid to laugh - Voltair. tiny ad:
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