Over the last 3 years, at Life Cykel we have been working to act locally while thinking globally in how we can help transition Australia to a more sustainable food system. We grow our mushrooms from coffee ground which means less land, water and electricity use than a residential home to add to this there are no chemical inputs. We all know that locally grown produce reigns supreme in taste and quality. Today, we are proud to introduce the Solar Shroom Room, an enablement package to grow gourmet and medicinal mushrooms in the backyard as a local business. This is part of the National Mushroom Network where we have a vision to have 1000 Solar Shroom Rooms across Australia by 2020.
It is a turn key solution and a small business opportunity to anyone who wants to monetise their backyard to grow mushrooms for their family, neighbours, local cafes and restaurants, while creating a sustainable food system for the future. This takes local food production and recycling to a whole new level, by taking coffee waste that would normally go into landfill and release planet harming methane gas, to grow mushrooms, generate more economic opportunity and feed local communities.
A sustainable food system requires us to incorporate both methods of the past with technologies of the future. The Solar Shroom Room aims to restore the broken thread of fabric that connects the community. Food has always played an important role in building a sense of community and connection the Solar Shroom Room will do exactly this.
While a lot of the attention around greenhouse gases emissions is dominated by fossil fuel use and the transition to solar energy and electric vehicles there is still a huge issue at hand threatening our future: how do we feed 9 billion people by 2050?
Today over one third of usable land is devoted to agriculture (70% of which is for animals for meat production). Agriculture is a major contributor to pollution, including 50 percent of antibiotic usage, one third of freshwater pollution with nitrogen and phosphorus and almost all pesticide use. Monoculture (mass single crop farms) commercial cropping while large on convenience is short on nutrients, taste, environmental health & transparency.
Decentralising food production
If we zoom into our country, we see Australia’s population is very spread out residing predominantly on the coasts. This means that typically the food miles are huge in getting it from farm to plate with the majority of farms being inland, interstate and away from major populations.
By decentralising food production and growing locally we can achieve fresher and tastier produce, minimising our carbon footprint with our forks, building more resilient communities and understanding in a more transparent way how our food was grown and the story behind it.
Urban mushroom farmer holding a bag of mushrooms ready to harvestEating to save the planet
Walking softly on this earth means eating mindfully. Ryan and I are not vegetarians or vegans (potentially yet) but we understand that the key to a sustainable future and healthy planet is to find natural healthy and delicious alternatives to meat. Oyster mushrooms are one great option as they can be substituted for meat or chicken as they have a similar textures profile, taste delicious and can be the hero of the dish.
For 1kg of industrial beef produced, there are 36.4 kilograms of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere, compared to only 5.7 kilograms of CO2 emissions from the Oyster mushrooms grown from coffee waste this is 6 times less.
A diet more heavily reliant on locally grown plants and less on animals is a more sustainable agricultural system that moves us in the right direction, away from chemical-intensive monocropping and devastating deforestation of our forests which are the lungs of our precious planet.
Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group recently said in TIME magazine:
“I gave up eating cattle six months ago to see whether I would miss beef and surprisingly, for myself, haven’t missed it at all. If we could get many other people to do the same it would take the pressure of the rainforests and all the beautiful kind of diversity we are losing in the rainforests and people would be healthier as well. The worst thing that could happen is that as people come out of poverty in China and Africa the demand for cattle continues to rise. If that happened we would have a little forest left in the world, little biodiversity and climate change would accelerate.”
Similarly to the way that energy-efficient light bulbs, appliances and solar panels are now ubiquitous in homes around the country, refrigerators of the future will be filled with low carbon ethical items such as more organically grown unprocessed produce, more plant-based foods and a complete transition to organically raised meat and dairy, with less packaging.
It is important that we see with each meal we consume there is a direct effect on planetary health. Every day we are voting with our forks. At Life Cykel we aim to accelerate the low carbon food movement by establishing Solar Shrooms Rooms across Australia and enabling communities to have the opportunity to choose delicious and healthy food without sacrificing the planet.
If you are someone that cares about the environment, the circular economy, and wants to take action today, enquire to get your Solar Shroom Room and join the National Mushroom Network today.
Author: Julian Mitchell, Co-founder of Life Cykel