Oakland, California-based Back to the Roots, an organic gardening company and pioneer in small-space, indoor gardening, has launched a new small-space, organic craft gardening category in big-box retailers nationwide. Back to the Roots will kick off 2020 launching in more than 2,300 Walmart stores across the country and accelerating its growth as the gardening brand for millennials.
Co-founders Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez first started off as urban mushroom farmers when they began growing gourmet mushrooms on spent coffee grounds in their fraternity kitchen at UC Berkeley. Since then, the duo has built Back to the Roots into a national brand focused on helping every family experience that joy of growing food—redefining the gardening category along the way and bringing a whole new generation into it. Apart from Walmart, their products are now available nationwide at leading retailers like The Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Costco, Whole Foods Market, Cost Plus World Market and more.
“At Back to the Roots, the goal has always been to make organic gardening accessible to every family across the country, no green thumb or backyard needed,” said Velez, who is also co-CEO. “And we are so excited about the opportunity to partner with Walmart and help inspire a whole new generation to reconnect with their food and experience the magic and joy of growing it themselves.”
With these national retail partnerships, Back to the Roots is disrupting the $48 billion garden industry and bringing a new consumer into the category by focusing on organic, edible plants (not just flowers) and small-space solutions great for apartments and urban living.
“Building a new retail category and reshaping how consumers engage with certain products is tough—it takes a lot of hard work, the right partners and the right timing. But if a brand can pull it off, like Back to the Roots is doing now, it has a chance to reshape mainstream culture quickly,” said John Foraker, co-founder and CEO of Once Upon a Farm and former CEO of Annie’s. “These new gardening sets in national retailers are going to rapidly accelerate awareness and access to organic, fresh food for millions of families across the country.”
In 2019 alone, Back to the Roots partnered with families and classrooms to plant more than 1,000,000 organic small-space gardens across the country. Additionally, Back to the Roots donated thousands of gardening kits to schools as part of its #GrowOneGiveOne campaign, where the company donates grow kits and STEM curriculums to U.S. elementary school classrooms to help make gardening a part of all school curriculum.
“Gardening used to be about big backyards, putting who-knows-what chemicals into your garden and having to figure it all out yourself with a green thumb,” said Arora, co-CEO. “But the future of gardening is different—it’s about organic, it’s about simplifying the experience with great product design and it’s about Millennials who are living in smaller spaces but still want to grow. It’s about making it all easy and accessible for anyone.”
Through this new expansion into Walmart and other mass retailers, Back to the Roots is expected to double the number of its organic gardens planted this year as it continues to lead this cultural movement.
Its products include the Water Garden (a home aquaponic ecosystem), Organic Microgreen Grow Kits, Organic Hemp Grow Kit, Organic Mushroom Grow Kits and a range of windowsill herb and veggie planters for schools and homes.