FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PROVIDENCE -- Earthly, a Rhode Island-based company dedicated to repurposing food waste, will be presenting an educational seminar on the use of its products in organic-style growing at the Rhode Island Cannabis Convention on October 28th and 29th. The company was recently named 2017’s “best new business” in the New England cannabis industry by the New England Cannabis Network (NECANN). The title comes after having won first place in the organization’s “Pitch Slam,” a Shark Tank-style competition held earlier this year as part of the New England Cannabis Convention at Hynes Convention Center in Boston.
“We are very grateful and excited at having won the Pitch Slam because it’s real validation that our products and purpose resonate with a number of emerging consumer values,” said Frank Mastrobuono, Earthly’s co- founder. “Having started out as a project in social entrepreneurship, we’ve worked really hard to move things forward in that spirit.”
Earthly’s strategy is to deal with food waste close to the point of production to reduce the transportation burden imposed by the standard business model of a composting operation. The company collects and processes food waste faster, more efficiently, and without any foul odor by feeding it to a specific species of worms. The worms process the organic material and their manure is referred to as "worm castings," an all-natural, eco-friendly, and high market-value product that can help grow a wide variety of crops. Earthly has formulated an entire user-friendly growing system centered around its worm castings that helps growers achieve great results without the use of chemical fertilizers.
“Our goal is to empower people to provide for themselves not only through education, but also by offering high- quality, easy-to-use, and socially responsible products that make organic-style techniques more accessible to growers of any skill level,” said Mastrobuono.
Earthly’s business model immediately grabbed the attention of officials at NECANN at their annual regional convention this past April.
"We received dozens of qualified applications for the 1st annual Pitch-Slam, representing all aspects of the industry," said Marc Shepard, President of NECANN. "We were very pleased to see the award go to such a talented group of creative entrepreneurs. Earthly is a great example of the smart, innovative, hardworking, business people that make up New England’s Cannabis Industry and we are excited to watch them take their next step.”
Since winning the award, Earthly has expanded its operations in Rhode Island and has been featured in a number of publications, including High Times Magazine, one of the country’s leading cannabis media outlets.
“With the winning pitch of the show, Earthly fresh worm castings had some of the most innovative ideas on how to keep your grow in castings soil and tea without ever going stale,” wrote Mary Oughtsix in a story published on April 26 on the High Times website. “The texture of the castings was perfect, not too wet or dry, and their mailing system should be going viral right about now.”
The mailing system refers to the company’s newly launched subscription service that provides growers an easy-to-use monthly package of everything they need to get great results out of an all-natural grow.
Mastrobuono, a Saunderstown native and University of Rhode Island graduate, and his co-founders Mike Kowalczyk, a fellow URI grad, of Newport and Animesh Mishra, a native of Mumbai, India, began Earthly in September 2015. The concept originated when Mastrobuono and Mishra were attending Hult International Business School in Boston, and after graduation it evolved when Kowalczyk – who worked with Mastrobuono as a pedicab driver in Newport – came aboard.
Thus far, cannabis consumers comprise the majority of Earthly's regular customers, though the company stresses the wide array of potential applications for its products.
"Cannabis growers are just the early adopters of these techniques," Mastrobuono said. "As an environmental scientist, I firmly believe the techniques organic cannabis growers are developing will be used to grow many of our fruits and vegetables in 10 years. It’s happening now on the west coast where cannabis markets are more mature, and many of our customers already tell us they love being able to say their food was grown from food waste."
Earthly is scheduled to present at 1:30pm on Sunday, October 29th on the Track 2 stage at the Rhode Island Convention Center. Advance tickets are available at NECANN.com/ri for $20 each. More information on Earthly and its endeavors can be found at www.growearthly.com.