This year’s Mushroom Learning Networks’ event came together in picturesque Copenhagen, hosted kindly by BeyondCoffee. The pan-European network shared experiences, best-practices and crafted visions for the future. Every year represents another step forward in the collective learning process in empowering European small mushroom entrepreneurs.
Ivanka Milenkovic, director of Ekofungi, attended the first WHIS SUMMIT organized by The Meraki People in Mount Parnonas, on the Peloponnese peninsula in Greece. The conference gathered 32 speakers from 12 countries, each an expert on their own field, Medical Doctors, Local Government of various levels, local farmers, renown Researchers & Academics, representatives of Hospital and Health establishments, Diaspora Greeks interested in helping Greece out of the crisis, National and Local Press as well as some young people of the Region.
The definitive open source guidebook to a successful small mushroom business – the pioneers’ chronicle
Ekofungi, a bio-innovative spinoff from the University of Belgrade, has partnered with leading scientists from the mushroom industry and the worldwide network of Blue Economy practitioners with a unique proposal. The team is putting together a definitive guidebook to grow a human-scale mushroom business: sustainable, beautiful and profoundly ingrained into the local community, be it rural, peri-urban or inner-city.
The guidebook will inform, instruct and inspire anybody with the willpower to harness the exceptional potential of mushrooms for developing their communities, using local resources to create healthy food, value and jobs, while building resilience, providing food security and discovering biodiversity.
Mushroom production is rooted in science, yet its manifestation in practice is an art. The fungal organism is uncompromising in its relation to key environmental parameters, which to a large degree determine success or failure of mushroom production – and the mushroom business. Rooted in this knowledge and experience are open source best-practices that are replicable, and yet flexible for custom-tuning. This allows entrepreneurs to seize upon local advantages, granting efficiency and financial feasibility and contributing to the local community.
The guidebook will share an intimate and thus personal understanding of the fungal organism, her needs and behavior, and will present first-hand accounts from entrepreneurs around the world that have successfully developed innovative solutions to meet her needs.
Look forward to the Guidebook for the Small Mushroom Business by the end of the year.
At the height of the Balkan Wars in the 1990s, the University of Belgrade pioneered the feeding of spent mushroom substrate as feed for animals. It was successfully implemented and scientifically documented. Ivanka Milenkovic, who was part of the original scientific team later became the Entrepreneur of the Year in Serbia and has an impressive track record in research, teaching and sharing the art and science of mushrooms.
The Blue Economy is the “Do Tank” of the network of ZERI organization which has been recognized as one of the leading innovative policy think tanks in the world. Gunter Pauli, founder of ZERI and author of The Blue Economy was inspired by the research findings of Prof. Shuting Chang in the early 1990s, and the work of pioneers in the social sciences of mushrooms like Ivanka Milenkovic, Carmenza Jaramillo and Chido Govera.
Ekofungi farm had the pleasure of hosting another session of the EkofungiSchool. Students from India and Greece engaged the Belgrade-based team with their ideas, all distinctive yet all focused on harnessing the potential of mushroom cultivation for rural development. The team is confident that there is a fruitful flush to look forward to from this session.
After a decade of dedicated and industrious work invested in developing a successful small-scale mushroom-business model, Ekofungi was featured at the 19th International Society for Mushroom Science Congress. The congress, this year held the 29 May to 2 June in wonderful Amsterdam, is the flagship event in the mushroom domain and brings together leading mushroom scientists and businesses world over. Ekofungi was the exemplar model for sustainability on which Dr. Gunter Pauli build his inspiring presentation, and we are both proud and thankful for the opportunity. Attendants of the EkofungiSchool, the groundbreaking urban-mushroom duo from Rotterzwam, also presented their results to the distinguished audience. A better result for Ekofungi from its hard work and commitment to sustainable mushroom cultivation would be impossible.
The spring session of EkofungiSchool brought together colleagues with different ideas but one common core — to build a small and fair business to produce high quality food. Expect soon to hear more about the Fungimental company from Australia, the success of the Meracki People Group from Greece and the phenomenal project from Belfast.