Ayesha Curry, Mayor Boost Urban Farming to Oakland Students

Celebrity cook Ayesha Curry and the Mayor of Oakland were joined by students of the Oakland Unified School District at the Oakland Whole Foods Market on Tuesday to have a cook off to promote healthy eating and urban farming.

The day started with a gardening workshop where students were taught about the science of photosynthesis and how to plant their own gardens by Back to the Roots — an Oakland-based startup that aims to reconnect communities with farming with its organic indoor gardening kits.

"This is all about making sure you guys grow up with healthy food, that you get connected to your planet, that what your goes in your body needs to be deserving of your incredible selves," Mayor Libby Schaaf told the students.

Curry, an investor in Back to the Roots, showed OUSD students how to cook using the Mushroom Farm harvest kit.

The co-founders of Back to the Roots, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, were present at the event. They said the company started from something they learned at UC Berkeley: mushrooms could grow entirely on spent coffee grounds.

"These kids got excited about these products," Schaaf said. "They're not just little gardens in a can, but the idea that these mushrooms are grown from recycled coffee grounds that we in Oakland care about, not just for the health of our bodies but the health of our planet."

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