Eco Mushroom Farm Visit - Mushroom Initiative

About 30 of us visited an Organic Mushroom Farm at the weekend in Tai Po. The weather was great !  I learnt about this farm becuase it uses coffee grounds and soy waste in its substrate. The spent substrate is then used as fertiliser on the farm to grow veggies - closing the circle. This is significant because many mushroom growing enterprises use wood chips, actively engaging in deforestation to create a supply of substrate. A non profit called the Mushroom Initiative runs the farm along with some farmers. They are not growing on an industrial scale with industrial processes. They grow the mushrooms in upcycled shelters made of bamboo and election banners and harvest mainly in the humid months.  

 

 

 I feel I will never look at a mushroom again in the same way. They are such marvelous things playing a very important role in our ecosystems as decomposers of organic materials. We started with some coffee / cascara drinks and then took a tour which lasted about 2 hours. We first learnt about mushrooms themselves. We were warned never to pick wild ones - it is impossible in principle to know which are poisonous !  The mycellium grow at incredible rates and form lengthy ( in hundreds of meters ) dense networks.We learnt how mycellium are used to create eco friendly packaging and absorb environmental damage like oil spills. We then got to create some substrate by hand - it consists of coffee grounds / soy waste / lime ( to balance the acidity of the coffee grounds.) 

 This is placed into jars and a hole is created in which to place the mushroom spores. 

 

These jars are then placed into the shelter to grow as pictured below.

The mushrooms are sold locally in tai Po and online. The spent substrate goes onto the farm to grow seasonal vegetables.

It was really great to see the hard work this organisation is putting in. They did say that they needed glass jars - so if you feel inspired please visit and be sure to take as many

as you can to donate ! At the end we all took a jar home to grow and eat - mine have grown from nothing to this in about 3 days !

 

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