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Business isn’t the only thing growing at Oakland’s own Back to the Roots. Co-Founders Alejandro Velez and Nikhil Arora are hard at work farming a forest of delicious gourmet mushrooms—in a warehouse.
Alejandro and Nikhil stumbled upon the idea for their small business while in school together. The seeds of inspiration? They learned that they could recycle coffee grounds—a waste product found everywhere in Oakland—into the perfect fertilizer for edible, delectable mushrooms. After a period of trial and error, urban mushroom farm Back to the Roots was born. Today, their product line has grown to include even more earth-friendly treats, as well as DIY kits for growing your own fungal food at home.
“The most important thing, looking back, is adapting to opportunities that come to you,” Alejandro says. He would know—Alejandro was moments away from becoming an investment banker when inspiration struck, and the decision to embrace his new business demanded a big leap of faith.
That faith paid off. Take a peek inside Back to the Roots HQ, and you’ll see how big their ideas have grown.