We love mushrooms and want you to love them too.
That's why North Spore has dedicated the past two years to increasing access to locally cultivated and foraged mushrooms in Maine, participating in six different farmer's markets and supplying restaurants and natural food stores all over the state. We've been blown away by the increasing interest in foraging and mushroom cultivation within our community.
We wanted to take things a step further, and in the past six months have started to develop our ability to help home gardeners, small farmers, and even other mushroom farms, grow their own mushrooms from high-quality and locally produced mushroom spawn. Moving forward we will be hosting a range of mushroom related workshops, talks, and seminars aimed at educating and increasing the capacity of our community to grow healthy edible mushrooms.
The first step in the process is to increase our output of mushroom spawn for home growers and small farmers.
Mushroom spawn is the equivalent of seeds in the mushroom growing world. Much like you would plant a tomato seed to grow a tomato plant, you use shiitake spawn to produce shiitake mushrooms on sawdust blocks or logs.
We've been working hard to keep up with demand for our mushroom spawn and want to continue helping New Englanders cultivate their own edible fungi. North Spore has been striving to build local capacity with the goal of providing small farmers a valuable crop to sell at market, and helping home gardeners grow food in the shady spots in their gardens where they never could before.
We honestly and full-heartedly feel that mushroom cultivation will continue to increase in New England in the coming years and that a local source of knowledge and spawn will help facilitate that growth. Mushroom farming is a valuable addition to the longterm viability of sustainable food cultivation in New England. We've learned a ton in these first two years and want to make sure that knowledge gets passed on to the people who have supported us. We think everybody should grow mushrooms.
But we need your help...
We want to make sure we can provide a space for people to learn about mushroom cultivation. Our facility needs some big improvements before its capable of hosting groups for mushroom cultivation workshops and seminars. We envision having classes on log cultivation, managing cultures and spawn production in the laboratory, indoor mushroom cultivation, and foraging.
We've also reached a bottle-neck in our production of mushroom spawn. Our inadequate laboratory infrastructure is keeping us from producing enough mushroom spawn. We have some very expensive infrastructure improvements that are necessary for us to continue our production. The solution to these issues is clear but requires resources that are hard for a small mushroom farm to come up with.
With $25,000 we will be able to make necessary fixes:
We will get our electrical system fixed up. Though it isn't the most exciting thing to spend money on, our facility needs some major electrical improvements to allow us to continue producing mushroom spawn and produce edible mushrooms. In order to host people at our space and be compliant for insurance we will need to alter how our systems are powered. This is estimated to cost us $7,000.
A ventilation, heating, and cooling system. This is the big one. Our production of fresh mushrooms is at the whim of the seasons. In the summer it's too hot and we deal with contaminations that cause us to lose much of our production, in the winter things are so cold that our production falters due to inadequate heat. As a bonus, spawn production will become easier and more reliable with better climate controls. We really need help funding this upgrade. $18,000
(Stretch Goal 1) If we make it to $30,000 in funding we will designate $5,000 to build a sterile substrate hopper, letting us quickly prepare our substrate for inoculation- the process of turning sawdust, plugs, or millet, into mushroom spawn. This will help keep our costs of production down, making mushroom spawn more affordable and cost effective for our customers.
(Stretch Goal 2) If we can make it to $35,000, we will use $5,000 of the Kickstarter funds to improve our sterile laboratory by installing it with positive air pressure and HEPA-filteration. This will help keep spawn costs down by limiting the loss of spawn to preventable contamination, which is a hinderance effecting nearly all small mushroom farms.
We are sincerely grateful for our community's continued support, and look forward to many more years of mushroom forays, feasts, and friendships. Anything you are willing to donate will help us out tremendously.
A sincere thank you to everybody who continues to support us!
Risks and challenges
The largest challenge for us will be allocating the time and space to complete the project while maintaining our current level of production. That said, we've had to complete projects in the past and definitely always find a way to prioritize them.
There are always unforeseen challenges in buildout, but we will be sure to allocate part of our current weekly revenue for covering any additional costs accrued by the project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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