a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

Agtivists Strike Again

The Agtivists are changing the world. Or maybe it’s that change is creating agtivists?

And in one of those “wish I had thought of that” stories, Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez, both students at UC Berkeley found themselves doing a little of both. While nearing graduation, as well as big money job offers in banking investment, they each had an ah-ha moment during business ethics class and came together to pursue a entrepreneurial, good for the world opportunity as mushroom farmers.

It turns out, you can grow mushrooms abundantly in coffee grounds and what a better place to do that than in a caffeine-addicted society? Where they could “turn waste into something of value and have a huge impact” while encouraging people to grow their own food, even if it’s on their kitchen counters.

They did their homework and contacted the well-known mycologist, Paul Stamets for advice.
A lot of hard but passionate work later, their business, Back to the Roots, was up and running online and in Whole Foods Markets. They turn coffee grounds into food, first as mushrooms they sell wholesale and then as grow-your-own gourmet mushroom kits for any household.

“We want to show people in households across the country that it’s not hard to live sustainably, to think about waste and grow your own food at home,” says Arora. “You get great food out of it, yes, but it’s more about understanding tangibly what this whole sustainability buzzword means.”

This story isn’t completely new. Recall the Princeton students that started TerraCycle worm poop and more? And well, you don’t need the college degrees to get the work done. I think it’s passion and pluck that makes an entrepreneur tick.

See the whole cool story on Back to the Roots on Grist, here.

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