Interview: Nikhil Arora, co-founder of Back to the Roots

Nikhil Arora is co-founder of Back to the Roots.nikhil

Listen to Nikhil’s interview here.mushroomWhen they learned you could grow gourmet mushrooms in used coffee grounds, Nikhil and Alejandro Velez were inspired to create something new and fresh from things that were recycled. They began experimenting in Alejandro’s fraternity kitchen to see what they could grow. They saved themselves from careers in the corporate world. They delved into the world of what is now being called Urban Farming.

Local businesses around UC Berkeley were very supportive. The community wanted to see what these two guys could grow. The product that came out of it was the Mushroom Kit. It is now carried by Whole Foods, among others. They started working with Peet’s Coffee, collecting 3.5 million pounds of used coffee beans to work on their mushroom kits.

When you get your mushroom kit, you pop open the box and add water. In 10 days, you’ll get your gourmet oyster mushrooms.

Their mushroom kit is available through their website for $19.99.Aqua-Farm-3

Their second product, the Aquafarm, is a self-cleaning fish tank that allows you to grow food on top of it. The fish clean the plants, the plants clean the water. It is available through Petco and others.

The team visited an aquaponics farm in Milwaukee. It was a huge warehouse that had thousands of tilapia that supplied fertilizer to the plants. They wanted to see if they could minimize the process to something that can be kept in a home. They employed aquaponics experts to put it in a 3 gallon fish tank.

The Aquafarm is available through their website for $59.99.

They ran a contest on where anyone who posted their fully grown mushroom kit on the Back to the Roots Facebook page would have a mushroom kit donated to an elementary classroom of their choice.

Click here to listen to Nikhil Arora’s interview here.


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Posted on August 6, 2014, in Entrepreneur, Internet, Small Business and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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