Our Founder - Chris Lannert
As a registered landscape architect in Illinois and Indiana with over 40 years experience in all facets of land planning, landscape architecture, and community consulting, Upright Farms President Chris Lannert is in a unique position to understand how Upright Farms fits into the scheme of things—and how to help it be the solution to the problems surrounding food availability, a flagging economy, and fragmenting communities.
“As an early proponent of sustainability and conservation on numerous projects, I recognized the potential of vertical farming to not only provide food, but also its potential to rescue urban communities and create jobs,” says Lannert. My understanding of zoning and municipal bureaucracy is an asset when it comes to acquiring necessary permits, allowing us to locate sites and install our farms quickly and effectively. I see Upright Farms as an extension of the work I’ve already done, and am excited by its endless possibility.”
Always looking for the next best thing, Chris welcomes this new challenge. When the economy stalled and new community development, disappeared, he noticed that folks were not buying homes—but they were still eating!
As he has done with BMP's for community development, Chris will apply the same extreme design focus to maximizing crop production and minimizing water consumption.
“The ending of the information age will morph back into the second agrarian age,” Chris says. “It’s the the circle of life. This coming age won’t be the one from the Great Plains or Western Territories, but the home grown, local, safe, urban one that creates jobs, does not use pesticides, eliminates all transportation emissions, is healthier, better tasting, balances lifestyle and wellness, and is just more fun.”
With a degree in landscape architecture and urban planning from Michigan State University, Chris is president and CEO of nationally recognized Lannert Group Landscape Architects and Planners, a company he founded in 1982.
Under Chris’ guidance, the Lannert Group has managed numerous land planning and landscape architectural projects in Illinois including the new-urbanism community Mill Creek in Kane County, winner of the Best in American Living Award sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders and Professional Builder magazine; the Galena Territory in Galena, a recreational community on 6,500 acres, including three golf courses, homeowner amenity packages, resort facilities, and more than 20 miles of mixed-use trails; and Prairie Crossing in Grayslake, one of the first ecologically sustainable communities. Incorporating a working organic farm with community gardens, and multi-use trails, Prairie Crossing has been universally recognized as a model of land stewardship.
Chris has consulted with numerous communities and has provided expert testimony on a variety of land planning issues. He has also directed the comprehensive planning for the Village of New Lenox, Oswego and the St. Charles Parks District in Illinois, and the City of Beloit in Wisconsin. The Village of New Lenox Comprehensive Plan led to the design of New Lenox Commons cited by AIA as one of the 150 Best Places in Illinois.
As president and board member of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, he was instrumental in raising more than 2.5 million dollars for the LAF Endowment Fund which became the springboard for LAF case studies work. Chris has also served as Illinois chapter president of the America Society Landscape Architects and as board member and chair of the Department of Professional Regulations in the State of Illinois. Chris remains active in the profession.