Even though we've made our target we could definitely use some more funds! The the extra money will be used to make enhancements to the sterilizer system and improve the production capacity of our facility!
$24,000: Kickstarter video outtakes! We have a lot of funny/embarrassing footage that we don't really want to share,but we will with a certain persuasion...
$28,000: Free pound of mushrooms for all of our backers!
Unless you're not able to come to the Twin Cities, then you'll get spawn to inoculate and grow mushrooms from a log or wood chips at your home!
Mississippi Mushrooms is an urban mushroom farm in Minneapolis, MN. We have been growing fungi since 2012, and in May of 2013 we moved into a new facility in NE Minneapolis. Year-round we grow some of the best mushrooms found anywhere in the world, including species that are not suited to the harsh Minnesota climate.
Our facility has been built to support the production of a wide range of fungi, and as we grow we will continue to introduce more exciting species that are not available anywhere else.
While we currently produce roughly 100lbs. per week, with your support we will soon increase production to over 500lbs. of super fresh and profoundly local mushrooms each week! This level of production means that you will be able to find our mushrooms at local grocery stores, co-ops, farmer's markets, food trucks and restaurants all across the Twin Cities!
THE RECYCLING POWER OF FUNGUS
Fungi are under-utilized and amazing organisms. In growing edible mushrooms we are using fungi to catalyse the conversion of complex organic materials into food.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of our farm is the way we grow mushrooms: we use carefully selected waste byproducts sourced from companies here in the Twin Cities! These include sawdust and spent brewer's grain (see: Wood from the Hood & Boom Island Brewing). If we didn't use these materials they might go to an incinerator or landfill, but once we collect them they have a bright future and become produce and compost! As the fungi degrade the complex molecules found in sawdust and brewer's grain they produce rich and partially degraded organic matter as a byproduct. Our compost is some of the best available and adds organic matter that increases the productivity of soils. https://www.kickstarter.com/help/statsIt is available to the general public and is used by gardeners and landscapers alike!
Yet this is only a small aspect of the many amazing and under-appreciated abilities fungi possess. The installation of a retort will also enable Mississippi Mushrooms to begin work on bio-remediation and green-building-material products. These other applications are possible due to the unique properties of mycelia, the cellular network that all fungi possess.
WHAT IS A RETORT?
We are raising funds to install a retort, and it is the last piece of equipment we are missing to complete our growing system. A retort is essentially a large pressure cooker that uses steam to sterilize substrate materials in bulk. It will allow us to dramatically increase production by increasing batch size and improving the sterility of our clean room. Growing these organisms at this capacity requires careful sterile conditions to avoid growing the ubiquitous microorganisms in our environment (imagine what happens to ageing fruit).
This particular retort has two doors which allow for an ideal clean product flow: raw materials are loaded from the general room and “cooked”, then the sterile substrate is transferred into the clean room where it is not exposed contaminating microorganisms.
THE FUNGAL LIFE-CYCLE AT OUR FACILITY
We have put together the sterile equipment, laboratory and environmental controls that allow us to work with fungi with great precision regardless of the weather. Contrary to popular belief we do not begin with spores, rather fungi start as tissue cultures on malt & agar in a petri dish.
As the mycelium grow we transfer them onto sterilized woody materials which are a food source for fungi.
With the right environmental conditions (high humidity, controlled temperature and air exchange) the fungi "fruit" and produce mushrooms. We have four environmentally controlled chambers with the ability to provide these conditions.
After fruiting the fungi are transferred to the compost, where the already partially decomposed material is further degraded.
HOW WILL WE USE THE CAMPAIGN FUNDS?
A breakdown of how we will use the funds from this campaign together with the Value Added Grant we have received from the MN Department of Agriculture.
- Install floor drain, roof vents & high temperature sprinkler head: $2,000
- Purchase double-door retort and necessary parts: $10,000
- 20 boiler horse power high pressure steam boiler: $10,000
- Ship retort and boiler to Minneapolis: $1,500
- Additional steam equipment (valves, traps, pipe etc.): $3,000
- Installation of steam system by licensed & insured steam fitter: $7,000
- Engineer and city permit fees: $1,500
Total cost: $35,000 - $10,000(Value added grant) = $25,000
The remainder of the cost not covered by Kickstarter or the grant will be paid by Mississippi Mushrooms.
WHERE CAN YOU FIND US?
Your support will make this project possible. Please consider backing our project and sharing it with people you know!
Risks and challenges
We are already producing mushrooms and are ready to produce the rewards. However, if we had to produce all of them today, we couldn't. Succeeding in this project of installing a retort is the solution to the biggest challenge we currently face: limited production due to small batch size and contamination by unwanted microbes.
In order to help our backers with potential availability concerns we will maintain live updates of reward availability on our website/social media, and availability information will also be accessible via phone. This way we can make sure that no one will come out to meet us at the farmer's market only to discover that we have already sold out!
Once installed the retort will quickly begin to produce higher yields and we will immediately begin to distribute the rewards. We estimate that everyone will have received their rewards in the fall of 2014.
We are licensed by the State of Minnesota to operate this equipment.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)