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The mechamism by which mushrooms are raised is different than any other human-consumed plant crop. They prefer to grow on rotting wood, reproduce using spores, and don't always enjoy sunlight. The idea of cultivating one's own mushrooms intimidates even the most seasoned farmers and house-hold produce growers. But it turns out they aren't all that difficult, and with the help of two California mushroom locavores, Nikhil Arora and Alex Velez, anyone can produce pounds of mushrooms from the comfort of their own home, using garbage as fuel.
The two launched their mushroom-based company, Back to the Roots, in 2009, and focused on cultivating mushrooms in a warehouse near Berkley, California. Eventually, that warehouse produced about 500 pounds of mushrooms per week. When they convinced local coffee houses to pay them to take coffee grinds off their hands (they managed to grow mushrooms from this and other post-consumer waste), their business took a turn, and they started thinking about spreading the mushroom wealth. They created kits, idiot proof how-to guides, and sold them at Whole Foods and Home Depot.
"Our vision is to make food personal again," Arora says. "We're trying to show anyone can grow their own." Certainly, they have been successful, donating mushroom kits to over 10,000 kids at elementary schools in an attempt to make kids think about where their food comes from. In addition, their business create 31 green-collar jobs in West Oakland, and diverts 40,000 pounds of coffee ground per week from the landfill.
If you are interested in growing your own gourmet mushrooms, check out their website here.
Back to the Roots: Two Fun Guys Help You Grow Your Own Gourmet Mushrooms from Fast Co. Exist
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