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Jared Criscuolo is the Founder and CEO of San Diego-based Upcycle and Company, a sustainable, organic fertilizer company breaking the cycle of consumption hoping to get users to the point where they no longer need fertilizer at all.
Jared, originally from Cheshire, Conn., grew up around farming. His mom was a big gardener and his grandfather had a garden that bloomed with strawberries and rhubarb during the Summer. With Jared’s first job at a greenhouse, he was inadvertently pushed towards his present ventures.
Following college, he wanted to be an environmental lawyer or prosecutor, but his career took a turn elsewhere after struggling to find a role on the East Coast for eight months. He followed an instinct to San Diego and had 26 interviews in his first four days on the West Coast. He started a job that same week as a Financial Advisor at UBS.
When he went surfing in San Diego, he got really sick from water runoff. This spurred an interest in the Surfrider Foundation, which served as a springboard for his further activism.
Cue Below the Surface, his first nonprofit that created the equivalent of Google Street View, but for rivers to track wastewater and runoff. While here, he was introduced to Mike Thorton, who asked him a crucial question: Why are you still working for other people? Mike wanted help gaining buy-in from the community for a project that would catch runoff water before it flowed into the ocean and repurpose it for irrigation. Jared took on this role, reaching out to his connections from various wastewater organizations in the San Diego region. In no time, the project was approved and is still operating today.
This sparked his founding of Rising Tide Partners, which originally helped coordinate municipal environmental groups to work on resource recovery. He learned all about how methane from run-off could be used for electricity, and how valuable human waste was in fertilizer. Jared sold his agency to our very own Neal Bloom in order to focus on creating a fertilizer using local products.
That was the beginning of Upcycle and Company. When the company was launching, the organic, locally sourced food scene was blooming, and Jared saw a big opportunity. Combining local brewers’ used grains and hops, San Diego shoreline kelp, and biosolids, Upcycle and Company has created an authentically – San Diego product.
Since then, the product has been found in retailers such as Target and Home Depot, but the company is pivoting to more commercial clients, as Jared believes this is where the startup can make the biggest difference in regenerative agriculture. Jared and his team hopes to improve not only the quality of the soil, but also the sustainability metrics that large corporations often use.
Tune in to hear about what makes Upcycle and Company’s fertilizer unique and the startup’s future plans to “heal the soil” and make a positive impact on our climate.
Jared’s Favorite Tacos:
Tury’s Tacos in Barrio Logan
Connect with Jared:
Keep up with Upcycle:
Thanks to our partners at Cox Business for their support in enabling us to grow the San Diego ecosystem.