Investment project code: 35
We want to set up small farms in three community cafes around Edinburgh: training volunteers from these spaces to transform waste including cardboard and coffee from their cafes into delicious nutritious food they can cook and use in their cafe’s kitchens.
Being able to grow our own food indoors from local waste is a really valuable skill in a time of increasing climate instability which threatens outdoor crops. Indoor mushroom cultivation can be practised year round at household or community levels which is very significant in a country where we have to import 90% of our fresh produce in winter.
The aims of the project are to 1) reduce waste and emissions by growing food with zero food miles from waste within cafes 2) engage new audiences in food growing, and its links to climate change by offering an accessible year-round indoor food growing project 3) Train people in mushroom cultivation skills to build resilience in our communities 4) build connections across Edinburgh by starting a network of community micro mushroom farms.
The funds would be used to pay for a mix of material and staff costs. These include the material costs of building an automated mini mushroom farm and the supplies needed to run it for a year. In a space the size of a cupboard we can set up a mushroom farm able to grow over 10 kilos of fresh mushrooms every month. The grow space would be located in a public facing part of the cafes to allow people to enjoy watching the beautiful mushrooms grow.
The staff costs would cover extensive training for volunteers from the three community spaces we partner with. This training would include: a tour of our own mushroom farm; time spent with volunteers building their own micro-farm; 5 follow up sessions at the cafes where we carry out the mushroom ‘inoculations’ together, a special session on cooking mushrooms and some follow-up check-ins and support.
Because mushroom cultivation can be practised indoors year round, sat at a table, without the need to stoop like most forms of food growing it is accessible for people with mobility issues, be that because of age or disability. Mushrooms also have a very short cropping cycle, taking only a few weeks to grow - making them an exciting project for the short attention span of children. We plan to use these features to engage a diverse group of people who may not usually participate in food production. As a final part of this project we would bring together people from the three cafes to take part in shared events, including meals. This would be an opportunity to share their experiences learning to grow mushrooms, and form a diverse network from across the city of new community mushroom growers.
Location: Three cafes across Edinburgh, including Bridgend Farm Cafe and Oxgang Neighbourhood Centre
Proposed on behalf of: We are Rhyze Mushrooms, a non-profit community mushroom farm and education project based in Fountainbridge. At our urban farm we work with volunteers from our community to grow edible mushrooms on urban waste streams we collect from local businesses. Oyster mushrooms are powerful decomposers and can be grown on waste streams including coffee grounds from cafes, sawdust from carpenters and cardboard. We also run a variety of workshops teaching folk how to grow mushrooms at home and in their communities.