In this interview, Co-Founder Nikhil Arora shares how their green business idea became a reality, from the early days of collecting used coffee grounds from local Berkeley coffee shops, to their partnerships with Peet’s Coffee and Whole Foods, to the $5 million business it is today.
He also talks about the evolution of their product design, and how their urgent ad in Craigslist turned their mountain sized heaps of coffee ground waste into a valuable sideline business in soil amendments.
As of 2011, the company has:
- Diverted and reused 1 million lbs of coffee grounds from the landfill
- Helped customers grow over 250,000 lbs of their own fresh mushrooms
- Sustained 10 school gardens through our nutritious soil amendment donations
- Created 21 urban, green-collar jobs in the West Oakland community
10% Off Back to the Roots Aquafarms
And Get Free Shipping Until X’mas – Use Discount Code AquaFarms-Entrep
Now what exactly is an AquaFarm, you may ask?
It’s basically a fish tank that grows herb. From a company that grows shrooms.
Here’s how it works. You get a 3 gallon fish tank. The nutrient-rich water from the tank gets pumped up to the plants in the growing tray. Basically fish fertilize the plants, and the plants filter the water for the fish. It’s an awesome symbiotic relationship. You can grow organic herbs like basil and wheatgrass with this closed-loop ecosystem in any kitchen or classroom! Guaranteed to fascinate children, and adults.
Mentioned in this Podcast
The Tropical MBA Podcast
Where to find Nikhil and Alejandro
- Back to The Roots Website
- Facebook Page
- YouTube Channel
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