Peace, Love & Knowledge

For those who love the earth, healthy food, and all things natural. Enjoy:)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mushroom farm!!!!!!!!!


I’ve been stuck by a lightning bolt of revolutionary genius and random-ness….. I’m going to start a mushroom farm! Yeah! Actually it’s not completely random. I attended this amazing VABF (Virginia Agriculture Biological Farmers) convention and took this workshop where Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain explained the entire process of mushroom cultivation and mycorrhizae (the symbiotic relationship between plants and fungi.) it was an extremely visionary and enlightening class, Tradd explained that mushrooms could not only serve as a food source (that happens to be richer in protein than meat *wink wink vegetarians* but can also help create more top soil and decompose waste. I never knew that mushrooms could be used to clean up oil spills!! The knowledge behind fungi is freaking mind blowing!!  Anyways I absorbed every last drop of info Tradd had to offer, I picked up every pamphlet and researched mushroom cultivation for days on end. I can now confidently say that I am mentally prepared to go on this journey where I am going to grow mushrooms and possibly, yes, become a mushroom myself…. Kidding ha-ha


First of all, I’m going to start off small, I’m going to invest in some white button mushroom and portabella mushroom spawn. The spawn is basically a mix of saw dust (also called the substrate) and mushroom mycelium (stage of mushrooms before they actually fruit.) I’m going to add some spawn to a mushroom bed that I’m going to develop in my backyard and nurture it until mushrooms pop out of the ground. As I probably should have mentioned before, mushrooms can eat essentially anything, wood, compost, coffee grounds, anything. I definitely have a lot of compost due to the fact I have a large family and we eat a large amount. After I perfect the art of growing a small amount of mushrooms I seriously hope to market them and I have already spoken to some neighbors as well as some of my teachers who expressed great interest in buying from me. After all, mushrooms are delicious and well as pretty expensive. I’ll be growing them 100% organic so that’s a huge plus in my opinion. I’m super excited to start this experiment and I’ll be sure to post on every part of it.

Go mushrooms!! :D

Organic Farming Convention

VABF convention

I went on an adventure!! Yeah, it’s called an organic gardening/horticultural convention. I really had an amazing time and learned loads of stuff that I would absolutely love to share with everyone! The convention was focused on self-sustainability and organic food. I went to this convention with my mother, who actually runs a CSA (community supported agriculture) in our backyard! She has a few clients who have come to rely on her for fresh produce every week. She also throws in freshly made bread along with the nutritious, 100% organic vegetables. I always tell her she’s too generous and honestly she is. She won’t let anyone visit our house without giving them a bag of food to take home with them. ANYWAYS, back on track. At this convention I met so many interesting people who all went to either take the classes offered there or to promote their business. Some grew mushrooms for a living, (see my post about my idea to start a mushroom farm) others were soil scientists spreading the word about pesticides and the harm it does to the dirt. I felt completely at home due to the fact we were basically all environmental hippies striving to live off the land and learn as much as we can about eating healthy and growing organic food.  I really learned the importance of growing your own food and avoiding pesticides which poison us inside and out.

One guy who was there was named Tradd Cotter who actually runs Mushroom Mountain, a mushroom growing and researching facility in South Carolina. His workshop was mind blowing and inspired me to go out and start my own mushroom farm. He was such a pro that it took my breath away. Another workshop I attended was about this amazing couple that own a CSA in New York, they have about 250 clients and own a huge farm as well as horses and cows. They supply their clients with everything, milk, vegetables, eggs, meat, and even fire wood! My mom particularly enjoyed this class due to the fact she has a CSA, I think she definitely felt inspired to expand her business and gain some more clients as well as her gardens. There was another class that was really interesting. This man made a speech on how he raised hundreds of chickens solely on compost that restaurants gladly supplied him. Do you know what that means? No more buying grain, which happens to be quite expensive nowadays.  I was so shocked that I quickly asked him if that meant he made a humungous profit, but he told me that he paid the workers that worked on his farm well. Understandable. Overall, I had the most amazing time and I learned more than I would ever learn just reading a book. I fully intend on using what I learned to my best interest by helping my mom in the garden, eating more locally grown food and attending more conventions in the future!