First Project Proposal

I am going to create an electronical kitchen appliance for growing mushrooms. Mushroom cultivation is quite inaccesible for people who enjoy growing their own food. The only way to achieve this currently is by growing mushrooms in the garden on logs or another substrate, or for urban people without gardens there are mushrooms grow-kits available for purchase in specialized shops or on alternative food markets. It is these grow-kits that gave me the idea for this project.


Context: mushroom grow-kits

In recent years there have been numerous start-ups selling mushroom cultivation kits. A grow-kit is a container (usually a plastic pag inside of a cardboard box) filled with a substrate (coffee refuse is a popular one) and inoculated with mushroom mycelium (most commenly a variety of oyster mushrooms, Pleurotus spp.). Once inoculated, after about 3 to 4 weeks, the substrate is fully colonized and ready to be sold. The consumer now only has to make or open holes in the bag and add water, and a week later mushrooms will begin to grow. A single kit may produce up to a kilo of mushrooms in seperate flushes before the mycelium has exploited the substrate and dies back. Once the kit no longer produces mushrooms, it becomes waste and is discarded of.


Continuity: repeating the cycle

My idea for this project arose on new years day of this year. During Christmas I was mentally preparing to make grow-kits using spent grains from a local brewery (Edge Brewing) in Barcelona. However, I did not like the idea that mushroom-enthusaists buying these kits would get a few flushes of mushrooms, then throw the kit away, and not really learn much about mushroom cultivation. Besides that, I had made a design that would be too expensive and time-costly (and too awesome) for a disposable kit. And so the idea came to convert this idea into a mushroom growing appliance that would teach the consumer about the basics of cultivating mushrooms, while making it as easy and as fun as possible to do so. Here is a sketch of the idea: