Using farm buildings for mushroom production
Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits and offer a unique and highly desired product. With a bit of practice, oyster, shiitake, lions mane, and other mushrooms can easily be grown in a variety of locations and on many different substrates including straw, coffee grounds, and more.
This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of farm scale indoor commercial production. Students will learn the basic biology of mushrooms, cultivation techniques, proper conditions for fruiting, management needs, and harvesting and marketing mushrooms.
Note: In addition to weekly online readings, presentation, and discussion, we encourage participants to order a spawn kit to try mini mushroom experiments on their tabletop at home. Kits are $30; details on what and where to order are posted in the course.
All levels - The course is for new farmers, or experienced farmers seeking to diversify their operations. Growing mushrooms as a viable economic enterprise will be stressed, though techniques can also be applied at the hobby scale. Mushroom farming is an easy topic for beginners with some experience farming and managing crop systems.
At the completion of this course, you will:
- Know the basics of mushroom production, harvesting, and marketing
- Be able to complete a basic marking plan and budget for a mushroom enterprise
- Know the logistics of management, sales, and legal issues related to mushroom farming
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Tues Feb 25 - Mar 31, 2020, every Tuesday evening from 6:30-8pm Eastern time.
Steve grew up in the Finger Lakes Region and graduated from Empire State College with a BS in Environmental Science, an educational path which incorporated aspects of forestry, ecology, and permaculture. He co-founded the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute in 2005 and began working at Cornell in 2009 in the Department of Horticulture, focusing on permaculture and agroforestry research and education. Along with his wife Elizabeth, he operates Wellspring Forest Farm in Mecklenburg NY where they produce shiitake mushrooms, duck eggs, pastured lamb, and maple syrup. He has co-authored a book called Farming the Woods with Cornell professor Ken Mudge, published in Fall 2014, and authored the book Silvopasture: A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem, published in 2018.