Happy Birthday, Upstart U!

It’s the 3rd year at Upstart University, and that means some big, exciting changes.


Here’s a quick look at Upstart University’s history:

A Year in Review

At three years old, Upstart University is serving more farmers in more ways than ever before. If you haven’t already, check out some of the new features designed to get you farming better and faster:

Hydroponic and Aquaponic CropsNew membership for the committed learner
Annual Unlimited Plus. This new membership gives any annual student full access to all the courses, plus included access to every e-book and digital resource, all year long. This is a more comprehensive, smooth transition for the farmer who knows where they want to go and are on the fast course to get there.

Downloadable course PDFs for those who learn on-the-go or need offline learning.
Last fall, we introduced downloadable courses for the first time, allowing many of our users throughout the world with poor connectivity to access their education more easily.

New reference materials for field (farm) use
We have 20 new ebooks, guides, posters and various downloadable and printable resources for quick and easy reference in the place you need it the most: the farm!

What else happened?

This last year marked some big changes in the structure of Upstart University as well. In July of 2017, Bright Agrotech, Upstart University’s parent company, was acquired by Plenty. Now, Upstart University lives on with even more momentum than before. As a part of this transition, the ZipGrow brand has become its own individually operated company (if you need sales support for ZipGrow, please contact them directly at sales@zipgrow.com).

Here’s what remains the same:

We believe that people everywhere deserve the freshest, most flavorful, most trustworthy food possible.

At Plenty, we build high-efficiency local farms capable of serving local communities and large retailers, but we know this movement to transform produce is bigger than us. It takes passionate modern farmers of all shapes and sizes using resource-conscious growing techniques to feed the world.

Upstart University is Plenty’s online learning & training platform for aspiring farmers who want to be part of the delicious food movement by either working at a modern farm or starting their own.

As an exciting part of this movement, Upstart University introduced a new part of the site – Opportunities. Opportunities is a way for new and aspiring farmers to connect with potential job and experience opportunities in modern farming. Because whether it’s through a career at Plenty or education to start your own farm through Upstart University, we want to empower you to bring local food to your community.

What will the 4th year of Upstart University include?

Upstart University

After having published over 40 courses and getting lots of wonderful feedback (thanks to everyone who answered our surveys and/or sent us feedback), we learned that a majority of our community is increasingly ready for and interested in more bite-sized, technical information. As a result, we decided to make the focus of this year on diving deeper into more specific technical concepts in the form of quickly reference-able resources like posters, ebooks, and guides.

For example, we just published:

In a hydroponic system, you are responsible for providing all of the nutrients to your plants through nutrient solutions and supplements. The rules and strategies for doing this effectively can be quite a lot to remember!

Imagine having information about the necessary inputs, what to monitor, and what not to do, ready at a glance! That’s what this Hydroponic Cheat Sheet will do for you!

This cheat sheet provides the following quick-reference information in a simple, visual format:

  • Basic rules for nutrients & water quality
  • Supplements
  • How to a system flush by volume
  • How to do a system flush by time
  • Recommended pH ranges for popular crops
  • Recommended EC ranges, light and temperature for crops
  • and much more!

Download this FREE cheat sheet here.

Have you found yourself wracking your brain in your aquaponic farm trying to think of the correct pH or nutrient levels you need? Or the next step in cycling your system? We know your pain! That’s why we created this quick reference, cheat sheet. You can access it right from your phone, iPad, or even print it and hang it up as a poster right in your farm.

In this guide:

  • Recommended nutrient concentrations
  • Recommended pH ranges and when/how to raise/lower it
  • Don’t-do-this
  • Fish feed calculation & recommended feeds
  • Stocking density ratio
  • How to do fishless cycling
  • Cycling with fish

Download this FREE cheat sheet now and save time later!

Understanding nutrients in an aquaponics system is the key to a successful system. They are incredibly intricate and must be managed carefully. The best way to diagnose disease, deficiency, and pest issues correctly is with a clear understanding of the needs of your plants. Most of these needs are related to nutrients.

In this Upstart University eBook, learn how nutrients enter and exit your system, how they interact with one another, how plants take them in, and how to keep them in balance.

This 19-page PDF includes:

  • How nutrients enter the system
  • How nutrients leave the system
  • Why plant nutrients matter
  • The 3 non-mineral nutrients
  • How to diagnose a deficiency and supplement the following:
    • The 3 primary macronutrients
    • The 3 secondary macronutrients
    • The 7 micronutrients

Download this ebook today!

More tips, tricks, and inspiration from your fellow farmers

We’re also excited to spotlight more and more new farmers and hope that you can learn (and be inspired by!) their experiences and ideas. Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to interview two of our community members and share their farms’ success stories. Check out:

Who’s next?

We want to share your farm’s story! Share it with us by emailing support@upstartuniversity.net.

Upstart University

Upstart University