Psst! Wanna buy some mushrooms?: Nikhil Arora in the alley outside Back to the Roots' warehouse. Photo: Bart NagelWhen two good-looking 23-year-olds give up careers in investment banking to grow mushrooms, oysters and shiitakes aren't the first fungi one imagines. But Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez are on a different trip. Their business, Back to the Roots, turns coffee grounds into food, first as mushrooms they sold wholesale and now as grow-your-own gourmet mushroom kits. It all started with a "random fact" tossed out by their business ethics professor in February 2009, in the last semester of their senior year …
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Bonnie Azab Powell was Grist's food editor until February 2011. A dot-com-bubble rider turned university refugee, Bonnie co-founded one of the first "food-politics" blogs, The Ethicurean, in May 2006 -- also coining that term to describe someone interested in sustainable, organic, local, and ethical (SOLE) food that also happens to be tasty.
Obsessed with our broken food system, she switched from writing freelance business and technology articles to SOLE food. Her work has appeared in a bunch of places printed on dead trees. She lives in the Bay Area, where she gardens half-assedly and cooks wholeheartedly while running two meat CSAs for small local farms. She loathes the word "foodie."