Mushroom Team Blog
Today was our first day at the Office. After learning about other World Hope Ventures and meeting and networking with World Hope employees we left for a tour of the facilities feeling inspired. World Hope has been able to establish connections and reach out to help so many people in Sierra Leone. We are very grateful to be working with such a wonderful NGO. Behind the main offices of World Hope there are GRO green houses and a previously constructed mushroom facility. The structure built last year was designed and built similarly to the green house. It is a wooden 5×8 meter structure. It was originally covered by blue tarp material and underneath black plastic wrap to keep out sunlight. The blue plastic did not hold up to the weather and it now destroyed. However, the concrete and wooden parts of the structure are intact. The structure currently looks like….
The team’s goals for today is to assess the damage of the structure and come up with a new design, and source all the materials we will need to fix the suture and grow mushrooms. It is important to source materials that will be reliably available to facilitate future growth. Currently we are working under Khanjan’s recommendation to get green house glazing. The same glazing is used in the GRO houses which last 4-5 years.
Mushroom’s take 2 to 3 weeks from the start of the bag to see the fruit. Our team is only on the ground for 19 days, because of this we need to acquire materials to begin growing mushrooms quickly. Hopefully later today, after our dollars are transferred to Leones, we will walk to the nearby market and see what materials we can find and what we will have to improvise.
For example, we need coals to heat and pasteurize our substrate, we should be able to find this at the market. Another sterilization technique we use is rinsing materials in isopropyl alcohol, this likely won’t be available at a reasonable price but something like vodka would work just as well. Additionally, we need rice straw, window screening, black tarp, cereal grains and other assorted mushroom supplies.
The last goal for today is to contact rice farmers who may supply us with the ag-waste we need to create substrate bags. If we don’t have bulk substrate, we can’t grow mushrooms, but we can’t purchase this in a market. Luckily, we have arranged a ride and Jawara, Marc and I (Belle), will be heading to a farm to get rice straw. Unfortunately, for us we are really out of season for rice straw but the local people of Makeni Proper saved us. After driving to 3 or 4 different locations a few farmers told us to wait right there and brought us back three armfuls of straw. This will be enough for us to start making grow bags and teaching Jawara.
All in all, today was a packed day of organizing and getting everything we might need to grow mushrooms. In future days we will be tweaking our recipe to ensure growth and teaching Jawara everything we know.