EcoMushroom micro-enterprise training & development – RIG News #16
Closing resource loops to create economic and environmental benefits
EcoMushroom micro-enterprise training and development
Slay and Jasmin Herro are innovators for food sustainability. They are the proprietors of iSustainable Indigenous Corporation, a company that tackles ‘food security’ by providing training and inspiration to disadvantaged people in urban, rural and remote Australia. Their latest venture is EcoMushrooms, a 100% owned and operated Australian Indigenous business that is developing mushroom production using environmentally sustainable systems that use coffee grounds as the base growing medium.
In 2010 Jasmin and Slay were inspired by a presentation by Dr Gunter Pauli from the ZERI Foundation that was broadcast at the Australasian Permaculture Convergence in Cairns. In 2011 they had the opportunity to meet with Dr Pauli in Australia. This led them to arrange and sponsor a visit by Ms Chido Govera to provide training in simple, effective mushroom growing techniques. Chido, an exceptional young woman from Zimbabwe, has pioneered techniques that ‘work’ in disadvantaged and often very remote contexts by utilizing available organic mediums to grow and harvest mushrooms. Community members lead and facilitate local ‘train the trainer’ community learning. As Chido explained at a seminar she gave at Sydney University, many organic mediums often considered waste can be used to grow mushrooms – palm and banana leaves, straw, sawdust, cassava leaves, water hyacinth, coffee grounds….and you can start very ‘small’ with very modest mushroom houses.
Chido visited Sydney in November to provide training in the simplified techniques of growing mushrooms that she has developed through her work with the ZERI Foundation working with disadvantaged communities in Africa, Europe, South America and elsewhere. Chido worked with Slay and Jasmin and the team at the University of Sydney’s mushroom research unit with support from the Australian Mushroom Growers Association to demonstrate the step by step processes involved from planting the seed to harvest (a process that takes about six weeks). Two key stages are involved requiring different levels of technical skill – learning how to grow mushrooms from seed on the chosen medium; and then learning how to grow the mushroom seed in your local context. Diverse groups were involved in the training, including participants from Sydney’s TAFE Outreach Program, the Indigenous Communities Alliance and the Cabramatta Migrant Centre.
In addition to developing their own EcoMushrooms business, Jasmin and Slay are keen to work with and provide training support services to like minded groups who are looking to develop a business that can create employment and business opportunities for communities that really want and need them.
To learn more about EcoMushrooms visit http://www.ecomushrooms.com.au/index.html.
Pictured below: Jasmin Herro, Chido Govera and Slay Herro in Sydney during Chido’s visit in November, 2011.