Lauren McCalister and her partner, Brett, run 25-acre Three Flock Farm in Ellettsville, Indiana. They partner with the People’s Cooperative Market for community-building and market opportunities.
McCalister's SARE project “No Waste Mushroom Cultivation: Viability Comparison of Spent Grain and Coffee Grounds for Small-scale and Urban farmers” was created in pursuit of a circular economy that would build community and test the potential to use a waste stream (brewery grains and coffee grounds) to grow mycelium, all while keeping the small farmer in mind.
McCalister developed partner relationships with local coffee shops and brewers. The partners liked her project because reduced the costs associated with the usual disposal of their “waste products.” In preparation for her project, McCalister read about other mushroom projects on the SARE project database, but she didn’t like the amount of plastic often used in growing mushrooms.
She simplified the materials and ingredients she used to make her own coffee and researched more environmentally friendly substrate and inoculum options to make her method easy to reproduce by others. She used the SARE project from Soul Fire Farms as a manual to help her focus her research and answer the most pressing questions.
This video above features Lauren talking about her mushroom cultivation project and her motivations behind it.
Want more information? See the related SARE grant:
- No Waste Mushroom Cultivation: Viability Comparison of Spent Grain and Coffee Grounds for Small-scale and Urban farmers (FNC19-1180)