Scottish farm uses mushrooms to decrease greenhouse gas emissions

It sounds like magic but mushrooms are being trained to grow on waste in a bid to increase food security in Scotland as well as decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The project began during lockdown to show it is possible for people to grow their own food, even if they do not have a garden. It has resulted in a mushroom “farm” housed in a 40ft shipping container in Edinburgh which can produce 30kg of fungi a month.

Non-profit collective Rhyze Mushrooms is now crowdfunding in order to set up a laboratory where the fungi can be trained to grow and thrive on a wide variety of waste streams. Local wild mushrooms will also be cloned and cultivated. At the moment their oyster and lion’s mane mushrooms are growing on coffee grounds from nearby cafes as well as sawdust from local carpenters, but mushrooms have previously been used to clean up oil spills and can break down plastics and old clothes that would otherwise end up in the landfill.

Mushroom production is also seen as a way of transitioning to a more sustainable, resilient food system, and central to the collective’s work is supporting more people to grow mushrooms. They will be able to sign up as members and use the community laboratory, with support from Rhyze cultivators and mycologists.

“Lots of people don’t have access to green space, especially in the cities, but we have been growing them in our flats indoors,” said collective member Lauren Waterman. “You can do that quite easily and cheaply so we are trying to make growing your own food accessible to more people. Cultivation workshops in community centers are a big part of what we want to do so that very low-impact food production is accessible to as many people as possible.”

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