Back to the Roots – Urban Gardens and More

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Walking into the JW Marriott Le Merigot Hotel in Santa Monica, I entered one of the ballrooms near the pool. Inside were some fascinating entrepreneurs presenting their new products to the media.

Nakhil Arora caught my attention with his Back to the Roots products. I learned that this Oakland based Company got started by two innovative students from UC Berkeley – Alejandro & Nikhil. They learned in a college class that you can grow mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds. With a $5,000 grant and collected used coffee grounds from local restaurants. In return they gave the restaurants freshly grown mushrooms 10 days later. Soon, this duo became mushroom farmers in 2009.

Back To The Roots founder - Nakhil Arora
Back To The Roots Co-founder – Nakhil Arora started the company in 2009 – Photo by Jill Weinlein

They had on display, their Mushroom in a Box kit. Anyone can grow gourmet, organic oyster mushrooms in just 10 days! Just open the box, mist with water, and harvest. It’s a great gift for kids, foodies & chefs. The kit includes organic plant-based soil, oyster mushroom spawn, a spray mister and organic heirloom tomato seeds to grow with your composted mushroom kit.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

With their success, they created herbs in a can. They also sell a four-pack organic herb garden in cans. All you need is water & sun to watch basil, cilantro, sage and dill grow. The kit come with organic seeds, nutrient rich soil from biochar – charred remnants of organic agricultural waste. Its highly moisture retentive capacity helps avoid over-watering issues, aerates the soil for quick root growth, and increases nutrient absorption and microbial activity in the soil.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

They also created Ready To Eat cereals that are the first USA grown, 100% stoneground cereal and healthy snack that is made with only 3 ingredients -100% organic stoneground whole wheat from California, pinch of organic cane sugar from Florida and sea salt form the San Francisco Bay. They make a Cocoa Cluster cereal that has the same ingredients, plus pure, non-alkalized cocoa from the Dominican Republic.

For those who can’t eat wheat, the company makes a Purple Corn Flakes made with 100% organic, non-gmo purple corn from Minnesota, sea salt from San Francisco and cane sugar from Florida.

Want to enhance your breakfast, yogurt or smoothie? The organic Breakfast Toppers offer delicious blends of fruits, seeds, and nuts that make it easy to customize your breakfast or snack on the go.

Photo by Jill Weinlein
Photo by Jill Weinlein

Another clever product is the Aquaponics Kit – You can grow herbs and lettuce, plus have a pet fish in a self-cleaning fish tank. It’s a closed-loop ecosystem—the fish feed the plants and plants clean the water! The Water Garden comes with a Fish tank and gravel, organic seeds and grow stones, natural fertilizer, fish food, a silent, submersible water pump and even a coupon for a Betta fish. It’s designed and manufactured in the USA!

Photo Courtesy of Back to the Roots.
Photo Courtesy of Back to the Roots.

This company gives back to the community, by offering a Grow One, Give One and Pour It Forward campaign. Purchase one of the Ready to Grow or Ready to Eat products, Take a photo with your product and upload it. For every photo shared with Back to the Roots, they will donate a product to a classroom of your choice in the U.S.

Want to know where to buy these products? Go to


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