Mushrooms are a high-value, nutritious, sought-after crop, which can be eaten fresh or preserved. We will establish a mushroom farm in shipping containers, that can produce crops in 5 weeks, all year round. Harvests will be given to home-based micro-businesses for processing, for sale in farm & veg shops in Kent - which in turn improves local food security and reduces carbon footprint. Some ways to process mushrooms are: Freezing, Drying, Pickling & Fermenting, Pate & Burgers, Jerky, Crisps, Coffee, Tinctures.
This project will create a network of home-based micro-businesses allowing people to earn, develop skills, pride and the satisfaction of seeing the results of your own handiwork for sale in your own area.
What we'll deliver:
- Set up a mushroom farm in shipping containers, creating 1.5 jobs
- Provide mushrooms to housebound clients for processing at home
- Sell the products in and around Kent
- Provide training and help to get home kitchens accepted as commercial kitchens
- Ensure home processors have appropriate food hygiene training
- Provide appropriate training in mushroom cultivation and processing
- Provide business-building skills
Why it's a great idea:
-Provide top quality, gourmet mushroom products for everyone, especially vegans and vegetarians.
-Create one full time and one part time job on the mushroom farm.
-Create opportunities for housebound people to build micro-businesses working from home.
-Build self-esteem and confidence in the safety of their own home.
-Decrease reliance on benefits and food aid.
-Increase local food security.
-Many of the mushrooms sold in the UK come from as far away as Korea. Margate Mushrooms will reduce food production carbon footprint by reducing the miles food travels before reaching your plate.
Steps to get it done:
- Purchase and siting of shipping containers
- Online training for Farm Manager and assistant
- Fit out and equip containers
- In person training of Farm manager and Assistant
- First crop started (a new crop to be started weekly)
- Online and in person training of home processors
- Food Hygiene certificates obtained by pilot group of processors
- Home kitchens certified as commercial kitchens
- First harvest (after around five weeks, weekly harvests after that)
- Crop issued to processors
- Tasting and quality control of first products
- First round of processed oyster mushrooms in shops
The project will impact the whole community - not only creating micro-businesses but also providing wonderful mushroom based products for everyone to eat!
This project will help create food security in increasingly uncertain times.
In the long term Margate (and wider Thanet) will become known for superb mushroom products - imagine the tourism headlines, "Margate - the Mushroom Mecca!"