What is the social/environmental problem/issue that this project will address?
This is aimed at reducing CO2 emissions – by growing food locally, and encouraging people to shift their eating habits, to replace their (mass produced) meat with (locally grown) mushrooms; by using waste, that would otherwise be transported elsewhere, to grow local food. And Fungi Fruits waste, the used-again coffee grounds are now a great compost for gardeners.
What is your solution?
To reduce the amount of CO2 generated during the growing and transport of food eaten by people in Bath.
We intend to collect waste coffee grounds from the coffee shops in Bath by tri/bicycle, to use as the nutrient to grow mushrooms. The mushrooms will be grown in otherwise-unused vaults of Green Park station in Bath. The mushrooms will be sold in the farmers market, on the floor above where they are grown, and to restaurants and wholesalers in Bath. “Grow-your-own” packs will also be sold, which will enable people to grow mushrooms in their own homes within 10 days. Other support will be provided to people who want to grow their own mushrooms – eg spawn, bags and know-how.
How will you deliver this?
We have a lease for the vaults at Green Park Station – this is a property operated by The Ethical Property Company, who are fully supportive of this project. There are over 200m2 of unused vaults suitable for growing mushrooms – more space than is needed. We have been running a small-scale pilot to test the supplies of spawn, the practicalities of growing mushrooms in the vaults, and the market for mushrooms in Bath.
The vaults need a good clean and existing moulds need to be removed. Individual bays need isolating. Scaffolding will be installed, from which to suspend the bags of coffee grounds. For the initial spawn-running stage, thermostatically controlled heaters are needed, and for the fruiting stage, lighting and humidity control are needed. Semi-sterile conditions need to be established in the mixing and growing rooms. We are seeking funding to cover these costs.
On a daily basis coffee grounds will be collected from the coffee shops in Bath, using a tricycle or bicycle and trailer. The coffee grounds would otherwise go into the bins, for disposal with the other waste. Coffee shops are happy to provide us with the grounds. The coffee grounds will be brought back to the vaults – less than a mile’s journey – and mixed with mushroom spawn before being hung in bags for the mycelium running phase. About three weeks later the bags are moved into the fruiting bays. Within two weeks they will produce their first flush of mushrooms, and after a few days resting, the bags will produce further flushes of mushrooms – each subsequent flush produces fewer mushrooms.
The mushrooms will be picked and either delivered that day to restaurants/wholesalers by tri/bicycle, or stored for sale within a day or two. Most will be sold at the Saturday farmers market.
Within a year, we intend to setup a spawn growing laboratory, and become a centre for growing spawn for Fungi Fruits and others in Bath, and beyond.