Since 2009, Oakland, California startup Back to the Roots has been on a mission to "Undo Food" by reconnecting consumers (and kids) with what’s on their plates, and driving the food industry towards greater transparency and integrity.
Back in March, the brand got a major boost, becoming a regular on the menu for New York City school district’s breakfast program. Now, Back to the Roots is teaming up with triple-platinum rock band Fall Out Boy to bring its indoor gardening kits and curriculum to 20,000 Chicago elementary school students. The kits are expected to land in Chicago schools in October.
The move, which will help bring food education to Chicago Public Schools, marks the launch of the new Fall Out Boy Fund, a philanthropic organization focused on giving back to the band’s home city of Chicago, Illinois.
Back to the Roots reached out to the band after receiving texts from friends saying a purple llama eating purple cornflakes — Back to the Roots' signature cereal, to be exact — was featured in the teaser video for Fall Out Boy’s new album.
“We realized we all shared a commitment to education and giving back to our communities, particularly around food,” Nikhil Arora, co-founder of Back to the Roots, said via email. “As we chatted with the FOB team, we realized we could really make a big impact together.
“This is just the start of what FOB and Back to the Roots will be doing together. We’re super inspired and excited about the impact we can make together!”
When asked about whether there were any plans to expand programs similar to those being rolled out in Chicago and New York, Arora revealed that the future is looking bright. Back to the Roots has now expanded into school districts in Austin, Dallas and San Jose, and is in talks with several other large districts across the country.
Amazon also gave Back to the Roots a nod this week, featuring the company’s indoor gardening kits on its Amazon Launchpad homepage as one of the digital retail giant’s “brightest startups.”