“Every day we go with our cargo bike, in the bars of the historic center of Florence and collect the coffee fund produced during the day, at the moment we collect about 70 kg / day of coffee from about 8 bars.
Within the next 24 hours it is processed, cleaned of any impurities (papers, receipts, etc.) and inoculated with the mycelium (“mushroom seed”) chosen for cultivation. The inoculated coffee ground is placed in bags in a dark room for 20 days, where it will remain until it is ready to be placed in the fruiting room with light and 90% air humidity. After about 7 days we can finally pick up our first mushrooms, which will be sold in farmers’ markets, GAS (solidarity buying groups) and vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Florence.
The environmental impact of our production process is very low, in fact we use electric means for the collection of the coffee ground and the substrate once it has produced the mushrooms is recovered once again to produce excellent earthworm humus.”
“In 2013 Rossano Ercolini, coordinator of the Zero Waste Research Center of the municipality of Capannori and winner of the 2013 Goldman Prize Award, opens the case study on the re-use of the coffee fund in agriculture, presented in the showroom “The taste of a sustainable coffee”.
From the case study, the Zero Waste Research Center, with the collaboration of Antonio Di Giovanni (member of the operational team), carries out the pilot project of environmental education “From coffee to proteins”, which saw the participation of about 200 students of from Ilio Micheloni school that cultivate mushroom using the coffee grounds as a substrate. Following this experimentation, in 2014, Funghi Espresso was born.
The Funghi Espresso model is inspired by the Blue Economy theory (economic theory developed by the economist Gunter Pauli), where the waste of a production cycle is reused in other production cycles, in an effect called a “cascade”. The production systems are therefore not seen in a distinct manner and separated from each other, but in an integrated way where the waste from a production cycle can be recovered or recycled in another production cycle to generate new energy, new wealth and new jobs. Funghi Espresso, promotes the reuse of resources at the local level by introducing the concept of “Urban Farming”, where waste (coffee grounds) is enhanced near the city, for the production of food with high nutritional value such as mushrooms.”
Image courtesy of Funghi Espresso