New Mushroom Co-op begins to grow

Go social

An emerging Mushroom Co-operative is currently on the lookout for materials to help build their first grow rooms. This will help keep it low cost and low impact on the environment. The process Fertile Grounds will use will enable tonnes of waste to be diverted from landfill or other expensive processes and will re-purpose waste, in particular coffee waste, to grow a variety of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms.

Justin Harrison, a sustainability professional and Gavin Bell, a passionate co-operator have undergone extensive training in Serbia and in other parts of Europe to learn innovative techniques and are now building their first lab and grow rooms here in Northern Ireland. The co-operative will collect the needed ‘waste resources’ from their membership, made from a variety of resource partners, including bars and restaurants in Belfast (membership now open).

Co-operative Alternatives, as part of Belfast City Council’s Go Social Programme, which supports new social enterprises and co-operatives, has been providing help and advice to set up the most appropriate type of co-operative to achieve their business goals.

At this stage, they are on the lookout for the following materials:

  • Kingspan off cuts or polystyrene insulation off cuts
  • Pallets
  • Polythene sheeting
  • Plastic water barrels
  • IBC tanks
  • Ventilation ducting – flex or metal
  • Axial fan
  • Heat mats
  • Utility cart / industrial shopping cart
  • Wooden boards (we need to cover and area of 6500mm x 250mm)
  • Correx board or sheeting
  • Aluminium scaffolding
  • Plastic shelving

Anyone interested in helping Fertile Grounds should contact Gavin or Justin on