FREMANTLE’S coffee waste is helping grow gourmet oyster mushrooms in Australia’s first urban mushroom farm.
Savvy ecotrepeneurs Julian Mitchell and Ryan Creed developed the novel idea after watching Paul Stamets’ TED talk “6 ways mushrooms can save the world”.
In the talk the American mycologist explained how fungi can be used to clean pollution, treat the flu or act as an insecticide. After months of research the pair found they could grow oyster mushrooms from coffee grinds: just one per cent of a bean goes into a cup of coffee, with the rest of its energy wasted in landfill.
The pair has scored $15,000 from Fremantle council and is hoping to crowd-source another $15,000 to shift their nascent business to a fully commercial site.
“There’s a lot of potential in mushroom fungi, not only as food but as construction materials for houses or as biofuels,” Mr Mitchell told the Herald.
“They can be used for oil spills, damaged soils. It’s limitless. We are only touching the surface by producing food.
“I have a background in health. So feeding people healthy food from recycled waste ticked all the boxes.”
Their process involves collecting buckets of grinds daily by bike, mixing them with mushroom spores and storing them in special bags in climate-controlled rooms.
Four to six weeks later the mushrooms are ready to use.
Fremantle’s cafes produce around 300 tonne of landfill every year which, according to Life Cykel could be transformed into 75 tonne of mushrooms.
“Our first goal is to produce 100kg of oyster mushrooms on a weekly basis, plus selling 300 mushrooms grow-your-own kit boxes a week,” Mr Mitchell says.
The pair is keen to get a space where they can conduct school tours and teach kids about mushrooms and recycling.
Visit lifecykel.com.au if you want to kick in some cash.
by MARTA PASCUAL JUANOLA