1 of 2
Chris Schup holds Rosie in her backyard farm. (Photo by Jay Paul)
2 of 2
Root and Ramble Shirts (Photo by Julianne Tripp)
After two years in Hawaii serving on the board of an aquaponic association, Chris Schup had found her passion.
She loved everything about aquaponics, a form of sustainable agriculture that blends raising fish with growing plants without the use of soil. Fish waste serves as an organic food source for the plants, which in turn filter the water.
To promote the aquaponics community, Schup created an online business, Root & Ramble (rootnramble.com). The line of graphically designed T-shirts and apparel launched in May, with assistance and input from other local creatives, including Kent Eanes, Pete Humes, Doug Thompson and Richmond magazine photography contributor Jay Paul.
There are four different designs revolving around aquaponics and the Root & Ramble brand. The T-shirts cost $26. There’s also the “Get Up and Grow” trucker cap, a specially designed soap that caters to soil-encrusted hands, and the popular “Thinking Cap” that features the saying, “Thinker, Grower, Maker.”
Schup is a graphic designer who has worked for local publications including Style Weekly and the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She went to Hawaii in 2010 after deciding to take a break from the commercial world. She noticed there was no clothing out there that promoted the industry, and her business was born.
“There were a few aquaponic conference T-shirts out there, and shirts promoting aquaponic businesses, but there was no, ‘I raise fish and grow plants,’ messaging,” she says.
Schup says demand for her apparel has been strong. It’s a one-person operation, which can be overwhelming, but she lives by her own motto, “keep going.”
She’s had requests to develop similar products for other grower industries, including beekeepers and chicken farmers. Schup is no stranger to chickens: She and her wife, Kate Scanlon, have nine chickens and two dogs on their property along with a garden producing a variety of vegetables and other flora.
She lives the grower life and wants to further the industry. “I’m aiming to create a shared identity for thinking people who take pride in growing anything,” she says. “If I can do that with clothes that convey who we are, how we feel and what we value as growers, I’m happy.”