Urban mushroom cultivation and the climate emergency

It has been a while since we posted a blog. But last week the European Parliament declared the climate emergency and although we typically will not refer to this institution, this time it got our attention. 

For those of you who are new to our blog, a short explanation on our absence in the blogosphere. 

rotterzwam has been growing mushrooms on coffee grounds since 2013 in the city centre of Rotterdam. We started doing this in an abandoned subtropical swimming paradise called Tropicana. In the basement of this building, we converted the beauty salon into incubation and fruiting rooms.

in 2017 a fire destroyed our farm, just when we where busy upscaling our production. With support of our community and by having multiple cashflows, we survived the periode after the fire. In 2018 we did a crowdfunding and raised almost €400.000 to build a new farm.

We got the building permit somewhere in January 2019 and started building immediately. May 2019 we opened the farm with a small ceremony and in June we started production of substrate again.

Our goal is to write two blog posts per month and release a video every week. Last year we didn't make that goal as we where busy rebuilding the farm. With the farm operational and substrate production back on track, we will also resume our blogging frequency. :-)

And that brings us to the European Parliament declaring the climate emergency.... Ever since watching Paul Stamets TED talk on how mushrooms can save the world, we have been enthusiastic about mushroom cultivation. The EU calls to [amongst others] reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and reducing global emissions from shipping and aviation.

We strongly believe in the contribution that mushroom cultivation in an urban environment, can bring to the table regarding these topics.

In the period from March, first 2019 to November 30th, rotterzwam has saved 44,848 kilos of coffee from the waste incineration. By using this coffee grounds for substrate for mushroom cultivation, we prevented the emission of 6,144 kg CO2 and 292 kg nitrogen dioxide on behalf of our customers [where we collect the coffee grounds]. But we have also delivered more than 1,000 kilo's of mushrooms to restaurants in Rotterdam using 100% electric transportation.

Every city in the world should have an urban mushroom farm converting local waste streams into food. From waste reduction to food production. The knowledge is accessible and the business model is proven in many cities all over the world. 

Through our E-learning and Mushroom Master Program we have trained over 40 entrepreneurs to become urban mushroom farmers. In Copenhagen, Vienna and Helsinki you can find successful mushroom entrepreneurs that trained with rotterzwam.

Let's be fair, mushrooms will not solve all the problems our society faces. But if you are looking to contribute to our predicament, starting a mushroom farm in an urban environment, is a great way to start.

Let us know in the comments below what you think.

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