Alejandro Velez, BS 09, co-founder of Back to the Roots, a company that sells kits to grow gourmet mushrooms from coffee grounds, will show off his romantic side in the upcoming season of The Bachelorette, which premieres Monday, May 14.
Velez will be one of 25 bachelors vying to win the heart of Emily Maynard, a young full-time mom who appeared on the 15th season of The Bachelor and whose fiancé died in a plane crash in 2004. An Inside Scoop SF blog post on Velez points to his appearance on the show as proof that urban farming has reached “its inevitable culture apex.”
Velez, originally from Medellin, Colombia, and co-founder Nikhil Arora came up with the idea for Back to the Roots while still at Haas, after hearing Lecturer Alan Ross speak on the potential to grow gourmet mushrooms on recycled coffee grounds.
By the end of last year, the company had used 1 million pounds of coffee grounds, primarily from Peet’s, for its $19.95 home mushroom–growing kits, which have been featured in Sunset Magazine, Oprah, and the New York Times.
Velez’s competition on The Bachelorette includes a biology teacher from Nova Scotia, Canada; a race car driver from the Netherlands; and a fitness model from Chicago.