Australia’s First Urban Mushroom Farm

  • Providing local, healthy food
  • Growing the local economy
  • Reduce waste and landfill
  • Connecting Australians with the origins of food
  • Sustainable living in the modern world

About the mushroom farm project

Collecting coffee ground waste from Fremantle coffee shops, Life Cykel’s mushrooms will be sold to local restaurants, food outlets, markets and their online store.

Oyster mushrooms are a sought after delicacy with incredible flavor. Believe it or not, they don’t taste like coffee!

The City of Fremantle has jumped on board, already committing $15,000 to the projected we raised another $15,000 in a crowdfunding campaign to get this project off the ground.

We utilise leftover coffee grounds by taking it from the coffee shops and using it to grow gourmet organic mushrooms locally in Fremantle, creating Australia’s First Urban Mushroom Farm. To do this we will take the coffee ground from 70 odd coffee shops within the Fremantle CBD and grow organic mushrooms locally at a currently unused commercial space in Fremantle. The mushrooms will then be sold to local restaurants, food outlets and at the Fremantle markets. Once the Mushrooms have fruited and been picked we will then use the mushroom infested coffee grindings as a soil amendment for local gardeners.

FAQs

What spurred you on to start the farm?

We came across the idea that used coffee ground is the perfect growing material (substrate) for gourmet oyster mushrooms. So we began experimenting and after many failures we have perfected the art of growing these delicious mushrooms. From here we realised the many benefits that an urban mushroom farm would have on the community. Turning waste into local food,reducing carbon emissions, supporting small business and hopefully inspiring others to start innovative projects that contribute to the well being of the broader community.

Why mushrooms? Can you grow any other fruit/vegetable this way?

Ryan and I have a background in health so from our point of view mushrooms tick all the boxes. The mushroom and in particular the oyster variety is one of the most underrated sources of nutrients. Containing B, C and D vitamins as well as being a great source of iron, calcium & magnesium. Many Australians rarely eat mushrooms especially when compared to European countries such as Holland, Belgium, France and many Asian cultures. This is impart to do with the lack of choice, high cost and limited understanding of the health benefits. We aim to address all of these factors. For now we have only experimented with mushrooms though I’m sure a little coffee ground added to your veggie patch can only help.

Is there any reason why they are oyster mushrooms specifically? Are you looking to add different types down the track?

For some reason the oyster flourishes in the coffee ground. We will grow the grey, yellow and pink varieties and hope to add shiitake and a few others to our range.

What do they taste like? Is there a real coffee edge? Will they give you a coffee buzz?

That’s an easy one Delicious! A good description is a mild flavour with a velvety texture it goes very well with chicken, seafood and pork. We are still trying to grow that elusive mushroom that possesses the coffee buzz. Until then the diner would never know it is grown from coffee ground

Can you use coffee bean waste for anything else?

Good question for both mushrooms and coffee waste there lies a world of opportunity. Without going into too much detail bio-bean a London start up turns coffee waste into biofuels and a mushroom based company in New York Ecovative uses agricultural waste and mycelium (mushroom fungi) to grow materials which has been touted as one day replacing the age of plastic. Inspiring companies check them out!

What cafes will you partner with if this gets off the ground? Who have been your biggest supporters in the cafe/restaurant biz?

All going to plan we will be collecting the waste from all coffee shops in Fremantle. Some of the one’s to show early interest are The Roasting Warehouse, Gesha and May Street Larder. The Fremantle local business culture is very supportive and so we look forward to creating circular relationships where we take their coffee ground and return with mushrooms for their chefs to cook. Personally I can wait to see what head chef Scott Bridger at Bib & Tucker creates with our Oyster mushrooms. One other great supporter of the project is of course the City of Fremantle and Mayor Brad Pettitt they deserve a lot of credit for allowing such an out of the box idea to be possible.

How can people help/be involved (cafes or people)?

Ryan and I have have been really touched by the support we have had for the idea and believe many people want to see it come to life. By checking out our video, sharing it and supporting our crowdfunding campaign we edge closer and closer to opening the urban mushroom farm in Fremantle. I have come to learn through this process that local economies and business are key to healthy local communities. So not only is supporting a campaign or charities a great thing to do but so is supporting local businesses and communities every time you make a purchase.

Others things to include?

Hmmm I think there has been a lot said in the media this last week by the new Prime Minister about the importance of innovation for the future of the Australian economy and quality of life. We have been really pleased to hear this given we would like to think our project is innovative and an example of the potential opportunities that are out there waiting for us. It is quite obvious for anyone sitting there with an idea that is potentially disrupting to the older ways of doing things that there is no better time to be trying to bring it to life than right now.

Mushroom Farm Timeline

We secured our funding and now our urban mushroom farm build is going full steam ahead! Below is our initial timeline including when we expect to have your mushroom boxes ready!

December

We are securing the location and getting all of the legalities sorted.

January

Fitting out our custom growing room, mushroom nursery and collecting coffee grounds. A lot of coffee will be consumed during this period!

February

Processing the coffee grounds and planting the mushroom spores

We expect to have our mushroom farm up and running and will be packing the grow your own boxes. If you supported us or pre-ordered a box you will be the first to know when these are being developed and will have yours sent out in the first batch!

March – May

Our mushroom farm should be running at full capacity. We will be selling gourmet oyster mushrooms to the local community, restaurants and cafes.

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