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Vertical Urban Farming In a Nutshell

You may have heard us use the expression at our market stall, or you may have heard about it as an environmental stewardship practice, and maybe you've wondered 'so, what does that look like?' The above image is a snapshot from our custom fruiting chamber of one of our vertical urban farming shelving units, currently occupied by our medicinal mushroom growing equipment for producing Lion's Mane whole mushroom dietary supplements and Cordyceps militaris. In case you were mislead by the blog title, of course we don't grow mushrooms in nutshells, but we do grow them at home!

So, what exactly are our 'Vertical Urban Farming Practices'? Let's break it down:


The use of vertical shelving allows the same square foot of land to be reused multiple times by adding extra tiers on which the same quality and quantity of food can be grown. Traditional agriculture uses any given land area only once to grow crops in sunlight, where adding tiers would limit the light available to plants beneath, inhibiting their growth.


The use of land within municipal areas to grow crops such as gourmet mushrooms or microgreens increases the agricultural productivity of urbanised areas without using up agricultural land that can still be used to grow other crops. As a further advantage, producing such food within city limits brings high value, nutrient-rich produce closer to the centres of population where such food is needed the most. This means a reduced carbon footprint for transporting goods to market, and fresher, higher quality produce available to consumers. A win for the environment and gastronauts alike!


As much as possible, we try to make use of reusable equipment for our mushrooms, reducing the impact of our food production on the environment. Our medicinal mushroom shelf showcases our use of reusable glass jars and polypropylene containers, but even our signature Oyster mushrooms are grown in reusable, food-grade buckets instead of the single-use disposable grow bags which are very much the staple of the gourmet mushroom industry. Again, where possible, we use cold water pasteurisation techniques to prepare our substrates (the mushroom growing media, as opposed to the soil preferred by plants), reducing the amount of energy needed for cultivation. Our mushrooms are provided with all the water they need to grow at this early stage, and unlike plants require no further irrigation, resulting in a drastically reduced use of water compared to field or even greenhouse grown plants. As shown above, reflective radiant and vapour barrier, air bubble insulation reduces the energy needs for heating, cooling, humidifying and lighting our fruiting chamber. The innocuous wires shown behind the shelving are actually humidity and temperature probes that allow us to maintain ideal growing conditions with minimal inputs.

All our mushrooms are grown using agricultural byproducts from renewable sources, such as straw, wheat bran, soybean hulls and Aspen - although deciduous, Aspen is able to reproduce below ground and quickly throws up new growth, so felling Aspens does not interrupt the life cycle of the tree in the same way as other hardwoods. We even incorporate spent coffee grounds from local coffee shops into our mushroom substrates, preventing such materials from entering the commercial waste stream. Growing gourmet mushrooms allows us to turn these low value, indigestible products in to high value, nutrient rich and delicious foods!

Now, about those nutshells....

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