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Growing Community and Mushrooms

March 26, 2013

Ryan Sansbury and Jeremy Bastian are the brains behind LoGROcal, a new sustainable mushroom farm in Austin, Texas. They are in the final stages of establishing the farm, and will be growing gourmet oyster mushrooms in the next couple of months. An added twist? They use coffee grounds and spent beer grains from local businesses as their growing mix, reducing waste while harvesting delicious produce. Talk about a win-win. Ryan (right) took a few minutes away from the mushroms to talk about the farm and LoGROcal's kits for growing oyster mushroms at home (pictured above). Why mushrooms?! We use mushrooms because of their unique ability to be grown on a wide variety of substrates. Because they grow on organic material in nature, we can easily grow them on local agricultural wastes such as spent beer grains and coffee grounds. Do you both have an agricultural background? No, we don't have any formal agricultural background, but our knowledge of mycology was gained through years of research and trial and error. I have business degrees in Economics and Management, and my partner has experience in the service, construction, and wine industries. What called you to this project? Our passion to feed people is what inspired us to begin this project. We saw that there were two major problems facing us today: too much waste and not enough food. By creatively utilizing mushrooms to address both of those issues, we strive to create tremendous value for all of our interconnected stakeholders in the community. Was it important to you to partner with other local businesses, and do you see that element of your project expanding? Yes, partnering with local businesses is key to our goal. We want to close loops wherever possible, which is why we use waste as our primary input, grow healthy oyster mushrooms, then donate our spent compost to local farms. We have some more exciting projects in the works as well. Have any schools expressed interest? Seems like a great way to combine science and nutrition in one tasty package. We are currently talking with a few Austin area schools about some class projects using our kits. We have had a couple teachers purchase some kits through our Kickstarter campaign also. How do the mushroom-growing kits work? Our Gourmet Oyster Mushroom Kits arrive fully colonized with oyster mushroom mycelium and are ready to begin fruiting immediately. The kit is placed on the kitchen counter and the front is cut open and sprayed with water two to three times a day. The mushrooms will begin growing within a week and will double in size every 24 hours until harvest. The first crop will be ready in two weeks or less, and the second will take another two to three weeks. Do you need a green thumb to grow mushrooms successfully? No green thumb required! Our Gourmet Oyster Mushroom Kits arrive ready to grow and require little more than a misting a couple times per day. Why oyster mushrooms? We chose...

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