Mushroom gardening in Chicago

March 26, 2014 at 10:09 AM Leave a comment

Note: This project met its fundraising goal yesterday


The next frontier of gardening and so much more.

Why mushrooms?

Food of course, but there’s more!

In the last few years, this country has moved rapidly from fear and misunderstanding to a keen interest in mushrooms for a wide variety of uses:

  • gourmet food
  • lean, high protein meat substitute
  • soil improvement for gardening and landscaping
  • natural dye making
  • bio-remediation of contaminated land
  • cellulosic biofuel (sustainable fuel alternative)

*Note: Health and medical references are not permitted on KickStarter. A web search will provide you with a wealth of findings not listed above!*

Why NOT mushrooms! Let’s get started!

The goal is education and products to promote mushroom gardening in the Chicago region. The funding is for a lab to make it all possible.

By supporting this project, you are creating more opportunities. 

Dalilah with a honey mushroom. A delicious mushroom species which faintly glows in the dark. One species in the same genus is actually the largest single organism on the planet! It covers more than 3.4 square miles and is thousands of years old!Dalilah with a honey mushroom. 

Can we bring mushroom cultivation into the heart of Chicago?

With your support, it’s a done deal.

About to harvest oysters from a basket of straw.About to harvest oyster mushrooms grown on straw.

Why the call for funding?

With few exceptions, all mushroom cultivation needs a sterile space just to get rolling. Unlike vegetables and fruit, mushroom cultures require a sterile space started before they go to growers. Most mushroom gardeners have a lab person do the initial work. The funding is for lab supplies and construction to make mushroom gardening possible. It’s a low tech, low energy design that requires no chemicals other than alcohol as a disinfectant.

What does this do for Chicago?

Education and products for a new era of gardening. I will be offering mushroom gardening workshops and classes as well as mushroom gardening products.

Mushrooms are easy to grow indoors and year around making gardening available to people without a yard or who need a fun winter activity. With a market value of $10 – $20 dollars a pound, this is an opportunity waiting for all urban farmers and gardeners and foodies. Mushroom Gardens for Chicago is about making mushroom gardening accessible to anyone.

Shiitake mushrooms on a log.
Shiitake mushrooms on a log.

Funding goals:

  • $5,700 is the minimum goal needed to construct an efficient, quality propagation lab. It secures work space, special equipment and supplies. 
  • A high goal of $9,000. This allows resources to establish internships and better educational materials. It also allows larger grows of indoor mushroom production.

What is happening now?

Production of scale is a challenge with the limited equipment, but I am wasting no time. I have adapted low cost equipment to do some of the work now. I am sharing the process with volunteers. I plan to begin selling mushroom gardening products and resume classes as early as late April. I will update backers on progress. It is going to be a lot of work to get all this rolling. The lab will speed everything up!

If you want to get involved, or have questions about the project, please contact.

Risks and challengesLearn about accountability on Kickstarter


I will be working with a handful of newly trained volunteers as staff. This means full time efforts and lots of attention to pave the way. Speed is the big challenge. We have to secure the lease, order equipment, and partition areas for clean work. Once this is done, lab work can commence and products will follow. We cannot make the orders and sign the lease until the funding is a sure thing.

The risk starting this late is not having enough products to meet the demand for this gardening season. Luckily, my colleague in Iowa has a finished lab and is beginning production of products for me while we get established.



Entry filed under: Green Information, Just for fun..

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