Back to the Roots finds success in simple food


Not everyone can say that a lesson in a college class changed the course of their lives, but that’s exactly what happened for two UC Berkeley alumni and founders of Oakland-based food company, Back to the Roots.

After a 2009 class at the Haas School of Business showed then-seniors Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez that they could grow edible mushrooms from leftover coffee grounds, they each bailed on their plans to move to New York for careers in consulting and finance in favor of a slightly uncertain career path — urban mushroom farming.