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OfflinemotamanM
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Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms
    #11397242 - 11/06/09 01:13 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms

Thursday, November 05, 2009
  By Teresa Garcia

BERKELEY, CA (KGO) -- Two new graduates from UC Berkeley's Business School are trying to turn coffee grounds into a high demand food for local consumers. But the venture doesn't stop there, it gives back to the community as well.

What do mushrooms and a pile of used coffee grounds have in commmon?

"Mushrooms biologically grow really well in hardwoods, and so, coffee acts like a hardwood biologically, and we can grow them pretty well in that," said BTTR Ventures co-founder Nikhill Arora.

The mushrooms aren't caffeinated produce, they just absorb all the coffee grounds' nutrients. So, why in the world are two new graduates from UC Berkeley's Business School, Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez, growing mushrooms for a living?

"I was a business-political science student. Alex was business-education. So neither of us had any background in mycology, but I think we both have the passion to do something -- one, on our own , and two, that kind of looked out for the community and had a social conscious as well," said Arora.

The pair was inspired after hearing a Cal guest lecturer talk about mushroom-growing as an innovative way to fight malnutrition.

"We heard of a fact that a lot of women in urban areas in Colombia and East Africa were using the coffee pulp to grow gourmet mushrooms," said Velez.

Seeded by a $5,000 social innovation grant from Cal, they researched and launched a for-profit social venture called BTTR Ventures; BTTR stands for "Back To The Roots." The goal is to be a sustainable company focused on social responsibility. They're accomplishing this by diverting one of America's largest waste streams out of Bay Area landfills.

"We realized America is like absolutely addicted to coffee," said Arora.

So it dawned on them they could help the environment, at least locally, by collecting a ton of coffee waste a week from local shops like Peets Coffee and Whole Foods' Alegro Cafe. And then at a local warehouse in Emeryville, a small crew of employees packs sterile bags full of grounds, growing hundreds of pounds of gourmet oyster mushrooms a week. After harvesting, they're sold at local farmers markets and grocery stores.

A Whole Foods store in Berkeley is one of seven in the Bay Area that buys the BTTR oyster mushrooms. Now each store orders about 15 pounds per week and apparently they've been pretty popular because the last delivery already sold out.

But this is about more than growing mushrooms -- the post-mushroom coffee grounds are then re-used as compost, which is sold to consumers, and some is also donated to local school gardens and non-profit urban farms. In its first year, BTTR Ventures is already growing a profit and making a difference in the community.

http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=resources/lifestyle_community/green&id=7102040&rss=rss-kgo-article-7102040


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http://heffter.org


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InvisibleGerman Kahuna
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: motaman]
    #11397319 - 11/06/09 01:24 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

"Mushrooms biologically grow really well in hardwoods, and so, coffee acts like a hardwood biologically, and we can grow them pretty well in that," said BTTR Ventures co-founder Nikhill Arora.



Yes, all mushrooms grow really well in hardwoods and coffee grounds are just the same. :flowstone:


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"Vegetarian" [ /ˌvedʒəˈteəriən/] - Ancient slang meaning "village idiot who can't hunt, fish or ride".


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Offlinemagicgreenbeans
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: German Kahuna]
    #11397806 - 11/06/09 02:27 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

i like this idea.  totally green.  i wonder how they power their facilities, do they pay for a more ecologically friendly approach to subsidize their power needs into the grid?


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InvisibleDoc_T
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: magicgreenbeans]
    #11397848 - 11/06/09 02:34 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Hey, are these guys Shroomerites?


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You make it all possible. Doesn't it feel good?


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InvisibleGerman Kahuna
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: Doc_T]
    #11397900 - 11/06/09 02:40 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Obviously not. Or they wouldn't be talking such ridiculous bullshit. Then again, it might just be the journalists talking out of their ass. AGAIN.


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"Vegetarian" [ /ˌvedʒəˈteəriən/] - Ancient slang meaning "village idiot who can't hunt, fish or ride".


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Invisiblecaphillkid
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: German Kahuna]
    #11398259 - 11/06/09 03:25 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

KGO is a local Bay Area news station, they should do a little better with some additional research.  Coffee grounds don't act like a hardwood, they act like nutrients, cmon.


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InvisibleDoc_T
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: German Kahuna]
    #11398317 - 11/06/09 03:33 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

German Kahuna said:
it might just be the journalists talking out of their ass. AGAIN.




Imagine:
Two hardcore myco-nerds. Two hours of interview, with both nerds talking at once. Complete lecture from spores to clones and beyond.
Bright, competent journalist does his best to sum it all up in two sentences the public can understand.
:shrug: Cut the guy some slack, that's all I'm saying.


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You make it all possible. Doesn't it feel good?


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OfflineTwiztidsage
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: Doc_T]
    #11398582 - 11/06/09 04:09 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

:thumbup:


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OfflineScavengerType
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Re: Grads turn coffee into gourmet mushrooms [Re: Twiztidsage]
    #11399291 - 11/06/09 05:42 PM (7 years, 11 months ago)

I was under the impression that this was done all the time. The main problem is that unless you can get cert organic grains you can't have cert organic mushrooms as I understand it. I however thought about doing some of this when I heard someone mentioning that mushrooms grown on coffee subs would take in the flavor of the sub... no wonder my last oysters tasted like cardboard. I would be hesitant to go headlong into large scale production with CG though because it contaminates like a bitch. Oysters are pretty fast and resilient colonizers though. I would be interested to see how these guys are doing this particularly if they are inoculating sterilized bags and fruiting them straight or if they are spawning, at what ratio.

Since these guys are likely not organic certed they would be good candidates for doing cardboard, particularly the un-recyclable waxed variety, in their substrates.

edit: wait what kind of lab supplies do you think women in Colombia and east African had to do this with CG, I think that a real story is missed here. I would like to see what they are doing, how are they sterilizing and inoculating spawn?


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"Have you ever seen what happens when a grenade goes off in a school? Do you really know what you’re doing when you order shock and awe? Are you prepared to kneel beside a dying soldier and tell him why he went to Iraq, or why he went to any war?"
"The things that are done in the name of the shareholder are, to me, as terrifying as the things that are done—dare I say it—in the name of God. Montesquieu said, "There have never been so many civil wars as in the Kingdom of God." And I begin to feel that’s true. The shareholder is the excuse for everything."
- Author and former M6/M5 agent John le Carré on Democracy Now.
Conquer's Club


Edited by ScavengerType (11/06/09 06:00 PM)


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