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Biz Bulletins

Green products, services and other announcements from green companies.

Back to the Roots Certified as a B Corporation

Back to the Roots, an urban mushroom farm that makes the Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden from recycled coffee grounds, is now a Certified B Corporation. B Corporations use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. Back to the Roots recycles coffee grounds into the soil for grow-your-own mushroom gardens, creating green collar jobs and inspiring families to sustainably grow their own food at home.

Back to the Roots was founded on the idea that business can work for good, and the B Corporation certification will help the company assess its progress and the difference it is making with the support of B Lab and other B Corporation certified companies. Back to the Roots is joining the likes of Patagonia, Care2, Uncommon Goods, Ogden Publications, and Sungevity in their quest for transparency and sustainability.

“The B Corporation certification is an honor for us,” said co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez. “Being recognized for the founding principles of our business by which we live every day and hold as business standards is a humbling experience, as is joining the ranks of companies like Numi Tea.”

The company was founded in 2009 after co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez heard about the possibility of growing mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds during a business ethics lecture. They realized that business could be used for good, and began experimenting in Velez’s fraternity house to come up with the best way of growing the mushrooms.

Their grow-your-own mushroom kit makes it possible for anyone to grow oyster mushrooms on their kitchen counter in about ten days. Each box can be harvested at least twice and can grow up to one and a half pounds of mushrooms. For more information on the kit and the mushrooms, people can visit

Since then, the company has provided over 30 green-collar jobs in its home of Oakland, California, as well as reached over 10,000 kids with classroom donations of kits and sustainability curricula with their One Photo, One Kit campaign. They diverted over 1 million pounds of coffee from the landfill in 2011 and are on track to divert more than 3.6 million pounds in 2012.

About Back to the Roots 

Back to the Roots is an Oakland, California based urban farming company that manufactures grow-your-own oyster mushroom kits with soil made from recycled coffee grounds. The company was founded in 2009 by two Berkeley soon-to-be graduates, and was off the ground with their first order from Berkeley Whole Foods Market. Back to the Roots Grow-Your-Own Mushroom Garden allows anyone to grow fresh mushrooms and fresh food on their kitchen counter in just ten days. To date, they've diverted over 1 million pounds of coffee waste from the landfill and reached over 10,000 kids with the grow-your-own mushroom garden and sustainability curriculum. To see the kit and learn more about how to make a difference, visit

About B Corp 

Certified B Corporations 1) meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance; 2) legally expand their corporate responsibilities to include consideration of stakeholder interests; and 3) build collective voice through the power of the unifying B Corporation brand.  As of May 2012, there are over 530 Certified B Corporations from over 60 industries, representing a diverse multi-billion marketplace. 

About B Lab 

B Lab is a nonprofit organization dedicated to using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.  B Lab drives systemic change through three interrelated initiatives: 1) building a community of Certified B Corporations to make it easier for all of us to tell the difference between “good companies” and just good marketing; 2) accelerating the growth of the impact investing asset class through use of B Lab’s GIIRS impact rating system by institutional investors; and 3) promoting supportive public policies, including creation of a new corporate form and tax, procurement, and investment incentives for sustainable business. 

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