I have presented myself with a challenge: Prevent the need to buy “protein” from the store.
In the interest of sustainability, one meaningful way that we can each reduce our emissions is to cut down on meat consumption. Animal meat is responsible for a significant amount of carbon emissions, not to mention it’s ethical concerns.
I am not a vegetarian or vegan. As someone who struggles with appetite and disordered eating, it just isn’t healthy for me to go without meat! One thing I can do is cut down on meat by replacing it with other protein-rich foods- like mushrooms!
I could just purchase mushrooms from the grocery store. The problem is that I live in an urban area, and they only convenient grocery store is a mini-Target, and their vegetable selection is lacking significantly. They didn’t even have any last time I went!
Also, I think that growing my own food fits well within the SolarPunk idea of providing for myself and my friends locally. I would love to invite a few of my neighbors from the building over for a lovely dinner, with mushrooms I grew right there. Fresh food shouldn’t just be accessible for those who own land, or for those who can afford high price vegetables.
My goal is to prevent the need to buy “protein” from the store.
I have a few requirements for completing my challenge:
-Be more cost effective to grow mushrooms than to buy them from stores
-Provide enough mushrooms of the right kind & quantity for a few recipes I have selected
-Be aesthetically pleasing, and not an eyesore in my home!
In the genre of SolarPunk, one can imagine a lush apartment building with gardens on the roof and walls.
My apartment, unfortunately, doesn’t look like this! So what’s the next best thing? Have a garden inside!
One popular way many mushroom growers set-up their indoor gardens is using a plastic “monotub”. This is essentially a plastic storage bin with holes drilled in it for ventilation. It is also filled with some type of substrate!
This is, unfortunately, not very cute for my fashionable apartment. My roommates would throw a fit!
What I am planning to do- hide the monotubs is an decorative display cabinet!
Here are some reference images for what I have in mind:
The Budget & Materials List
I am experimenting with growing mushrooms from the grocery store, not a grow kit. I’ll be making a separate post about that project, but will post updates soon! If it is unsuccessful, I will purchase grow kit, like this or this one from Etsy (both about $30).
I will first try to buy a suitable metal or plastic cabinet from a thrift store before purchasing it new*. But here are a few good options from Ikea.
One I purchase a cabinet, I will probably purchase waterproof contact paper to cover the exposed metal. This will help to prevent rust on the inside of a metal cabinet, and otherwise make it look stylish.
I’ll also need to find a suitable lining for the bottom of the cabinet. It will need to be shallow enough to be hidden behind the doors. Possible options include a plastic seeding tray or a kitty litter tray.
*A note on wood- please do not use a wooden cabinet for this project! The humid air from the mushrooms will warp with wood, and could potentially begin breaking it down if it is untreated.
I have selected a few recipes, linked below. There are many more that I encourage you all to try!
- Balsamic Garlic Grilled Mushroom Skewers
- Soul-Warming Creamy Hungarian Mushroom Soup
- Mushroom Ramen
- Scalloped Portobello Mushrooms
- Lo Mein with Mushrooms and Snow Peas
- Easy Mushroom Risotto
- Stuffed Mushrooms
- Mushroom Marsala Curry
You may notice that the recipes I selected do not include a lot of other fresh vegetables. I have chosen recipes that can be completed with mostly canned or shelf-stable goods!
The selection at my grocery store is skimpy & expensive at best, so canned & frozen is a good alternative. I’d also like to make a mention of accessibility. As someone who can struggle in completing her daily tasks, cooking gourmet meals with fresh veggies every night just isn’t realistic. Sometimes I can barely have the time or motivation to eat at all! So, having a fridge full of expensive vegetables that will get shoved to the back and then spoil is what I am trying to avoid.
I have been interested in growing my own mushrooms for a while, so this project is very very exciting to me!
I will be diligent in updating you all on my progress, and I encourage you to try it with me!
-See you all next time x