Co-Founders and Owners
Co-Owner and Founder
As an award winning architect and contractor, Robbie worked in the private sector as the owner of an architectural practice and construction/development company. He also has worked in the public sector. During the 1990’s he served as the Executive Director of the city’s non-profit Columbia Development Corporation, Master Planner for the State Budget and Control Board, and as Director of the state’s Office of General Services a 600 employee agency.
Having spent the last 30 years in the professional world, he has returned to the profession that provided him with his first job – farming. His father was raised on a farm in Lake City, S.C. and Robbie had the good fortune to spend the summers of his youth there, working and living with relatives. Those summers left him with fond memories and an awareness of the pleasures and demands of the farming life.
In 2008, ready for a new challenge, Robbie learned of the McArthur (Genius Award) award winning urban farmer Will Allen and his farm Growing Power in Milwaukee and enrolled in its 5 month Commercial Urban Agriculture Program. With the Growing Power model in mind, he acquired the land for City Roots in 2009 and began construction completing the building and greenhouse in early 2010. In its first year City Roots has been widely recognized for its innovative efforts winning the International Down Town Association’s Pinnacle Award, The Free Times Best New Green Business, Columbia Choice Award, and Richland County’s Farm City Award.
Co-Owner and Farm Manager
Eric, like his father Robbie, first pursued a career in the architectural field only to find himself back with his hands in the soil in his native South Carolina. A graduate of Tulane University School of Architecture, Eric returned from New Orleans to initiate the construction and implementation of City Roots.
As a child, Eric spent time at his grandfather’s farm in Lake City, SC. Later, while studying architecture, he had the good fortune to work, study, and travel through Europe, Central and South America learning about architecture and culture. The most interesting aspect he observed was a more efficient use of land and how that affected the buildings they lived in and the food they ate. The creation of City Roots has given him the opportunity to work towards a sustainable and equitable model of land use for the production of locally grown food and the dissemination of information to share with the community.
Eric has always loved working with his hands, both with the earth and constructing built forms. Much of what he has done with farming parallels his work in the architectural profession. It’s the attention to detail and the intimacy of the process – from the moment you break grown, sow seeds, and hold a hammer or put pen to paper until you see the fruits of your labor, whether that be literal fruit or physical structure – that has made City Roots a true labor of love for Eric.
Sales and Market Manager
Programs and Communications