Oakland, Calif., start-up Back to the Roots (BTTR), which has made a name for itself with its DIY mushroom kits and new “AquaFarm” home aquaponics system, has taken another step in fulfilling its commitment to “making food personal again.” Through a new joint campaign with healthy school-lunch provider Revolution Foods, the two like-minded organizations are furthering both of their missions to educate and inspire children about healthy food.
As of this month, the AquaFarm is available at Whole Foods, Petco and Nordstrom stores nationwide. BTTR and Rev Foods decided to utilize these new distribution channels to maximize the reach and impact of their "Grow Food, Give Food" campaign, through which they are giving thousands of kids across the country free servings of fresh vegetables to augment their school lunch programs.
BTTR co-founder Nikhil Arora said the two Oakland-based companies, both started by UC Berkeley grads, brainstormed the idea for the campaign together, as they looked for ways to leverage the newly expanded AquaFarm distribution to create awareness and drive impact in schools.
"We've looked up to Revolution Foods since we started Back to the Roots and have always been inspired by them. We love their vision and thought there could be a cool synergy here,” Arora said. “With our ‘Grow Food, Give Food’ campaign, we've found a way to partner and combine our common visions of inspiring families to realize good food can be fun, delicious and accessible. We're really excited to be partnering with them."
For the rest of the year, AquaFarm packaging will feature a call-out for the campaign, encouraging buyers to log on to the Rev Foods Facebook page to choose one of three nominated schools to receive a donated serving of veggies. All three schools can win, as each vote equals one serving. Arora said the goal is to donate thousands of servings of veggies to students' lunches this holiday season.
The three finalist schools were chosen from a larger pool of 12 Revolution Foods partner schools that submitted applications via the company’s Facebook page. All 12 semi-finalists received a free mushroom kit and an AquaFarm, allowing students to experience growing food firsthand.
“Revolution Foods is excited to partner with Back to the Roots to bring awareness to the importance of increasing access to real, high quality, fresh food,” said Kirsten Saenz Tobey, co-founder and Chief Impact Officer of Revolution Foods. “We love the idea of growing veggies and giving veggies to school kids at the same time. The partnership was a natural fit for us because we are both mission-driven companies with an emphasis on education as well as access. We hope that by working together and using social media to generate buzz about the 'Grow Food. Give Food.' program, we will bring greater awareness to the need for accessible, fresh food in communities across the U.S.”
Just in time for the holidays, BTTR has created Mushroom Mini Farms, a stocking stuffer-sized, lower-priced version of their wildly popular Mushroom Farm, now available at Whole Foods, The Fresh Market and select Home Depot locations.