Our Mission and Story

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Our Mission and Story

Our mission is to empower and educate everyone to grow their own produce


StartOrganic is building a sustainable local food system in the Bay Area. We offer residential services to start successful gardens as well as a range of maintenance services to support continued growth. We teach practical organic gardening techniques to families with our @Home Education Service. Our school programs are bridging the gap in education and starting from the ground up by stressing the importance of sustainability in children. And, finally our Corporate Programs offer hands-on gardening education to employees on campus while they work. In short, we are taking the excuses out of gardening.

We believe that “everyone can grow something.”

Founders and Company Origin…


Long-time friends and soccer teammates at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Josh Levine and Troy Smothermon shared a passion for travel and culture.  After studying abroad in Southern Spain in 2003, the two went off into the ‘real world’ each pursuing their own careers.  Troy became a general contractor and a custom home builder in the South Bay Area. Josh worked for CBS in San Francisco as a marketing manager. After a few years in the corporate world they both realized that there are more important things in life than making money.

Committed to Positive Change

They came together for a trip in 2010 to South Africa for the soccer World Cup. Some freedom and combined cultural experiences sparked the conversation to work together to affect a positive change in the world. Upon return from this trip, Smothermon and Levine quit their jobs and started to brainstorm. It only took a few trips to the grocery store for them to find their calling. At local stores they not only failed to find organic produce, when they did, it was always coming from a land far away. This didn’t seem to make much sense.

The Bay Area has one of the best climates for growing produce. Yet, we grow water-thirsty lawn instead. Having had experience growing their own vegetable gardens, Levine and Smothermon decided it was time for a change. During the wet winter of 2011 StartOrganic was born.

StartOrganic’s Very First Video