Looking to reduce waste and to feed her plants simultaneously, Cindy Gutierrez created a completely eco-friendly fertilizer derived from the way that her mother and grandfather used to garden. Gutierrez developed Fertile Grounds, a fertilizer that is made from emulsified coffee grounds that are liquefied and free of all chemicals. She created her product because she knew that many people already fertilize with coffee grounds but wanted to make it easier and cleaner for them.
She took her idea to the Enterprise Launch class offered by the Scheinfeld Center at SBCC, won the 2013 Scheinfeld Center New Venture Challenge, and used the $4,000 prize money to start her company.
“Over a billion pounds of coffee grounds are dumped into landfills in America,” said Gutierrez, who utilizes grounds from area coffee shops. She hopes to cut down the amount of waste by recycling the grounds in a biodegradable way. Gutierrez added that coffee grounds are especially good for fertilizer because they are naturally acidic, lowering the pH level of soil, which is ideal for all types of plants.
While many fertilizers have a foul scent, Fertile Grounds smells like coffee, so Gutierrez encourages people to use it for indoor plants. She says that her fertilizer is especially helpful for flowering plants and vegetable plants, and is also a good soil additive. Fertile Grounds can currently be found at Whole Foods.