Spawning a Network of Northeast Mushroom Educators serving Urban and Rural Farmer Audiences

Progress report for ENE19-156

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2019: $144,938.00
Projected End Date: 11/01/2022
Grant Recipient: Cornell University
Region: Northeast
State: New York
Project Leader:
Yolanda Gonzalez
Cornell University
Expand All

Project Information

Performance Target:

Forty service providers demonstrate their improved knowledge and skills by each training at least 25 farmers (1000 total) on specialty mushroom production. Twelve educators achieve an advanced mushroom production certification and teach another 20 educators and 300 farmers.

Introduction:

USDA data shows a remarkable increase in demand for mushrooms; US per capita consumption of mushrooms was 2.7 pounds in 1978, but is now over 4 lbs. In 2016 and 2017, specialty mushroom (non-agaricus) sales have consistently increased at a rate of 4% per year (USDA), with overall mushroom sales in US increasing by over 15%. A 2015 Chatham University study interviewed 23 Northeastern buyers who reported needing 7,075 pounds of shiitake (307 lbs. per buyer) annually to fulfill customer demand, but only 2,060 pounds (29% of demand) of locally-produced shiitakes were available for purchase. Despite this demand, mushroom farming is not well established in the US, with only 229 farmers reporting growing specialty mushrooms, and both the number of growers and the production rates have been declining over the past three seasons (USDA). In the Northeast, only Cornell University offers detailed resources to assist new growers with technical and business expertise. We are overwhelmed with requests and unable to meet farmer demand. For instance, with recent funding from a USDA Specialty Crop Block grant, we have hosted ten workshops at multiple locations just in New York State focused on building an economically viable outdoor specialty mushroom operation. While we had originally targeted 75 growers as participants, 195 participated in 2017 and 281 participated in 2018. Since 2014, we have offered two online courses on cultivation that fill to capacity with a waitlist (90 farmers annually).Domestic production of specialty mushrooms, while more than doubling since 2010, is still substantially low. Because of high demand, we are only able as one agency to offer basic introductory materials, and some business support planning tools. To become a significant niche crop within US Agriculture, agencies, universities, and extension networks must actively collaborate to offer a more robust network that can support growers every step of their development. There are currently few service providers in the Northeast  skilled in providing specialty mushroom producers with even the basic information to get started. Interested growers must search random online resources and engage in trial and error to get started in production. A recent survey of service providers received 38 responses with 51% of respondents indicating that demand for information on mushrooms was substantial or overwhelming, while 73% rated their ability to meet the demand with information to be fair or poor.

Mushrooms are a low-input and high output enterprise that offers a promising option for farmers, if only adequate resources and agricultural service providers existed to support the growth of the industry. This project aims to develop a complete curriculum for specialty mushroom production along with a companion teacher’s manual that outlines workshop formats, key messages, and activities that educators can use to effectively teach specialty mushroom cultivation. Additionally, our educational team will develop a process to train and certify mushroom educators, building a competent cohort of service providers from both rural and urban centers. This community of proficient educators will be empowered to offer ongoing training and support, in contrast to the current few visiting “experts” that can facilitate introductory workshops only. The project will offer service providers with the knowledge and tools to be able to more confidently support farmers in decision making around specialty mushroom production.

In our experience, there are multiple questions at each level of experience from growers, such as:

  • What specialty mushrooms can be grown outdoors versus indoors and what are the establishment costs and labor needs of each system?
  • Can I incorporate mushroom production alongside other existing cropping systems?
  • Where are the best markets for selling specialty mushrooms?
  • How do farmers anticipate and address pest and disease problems?

Trained mushroom educators participating in the project will be able to assist farmers in navigating these decision points and support farmers with research-based materials and a network of regional educators who can offer a variety of perspectives.

Farmer benefits: As indicated, mushrooms are a crop in very high demand, with little domestic production occurring in the Northeast. New farmers can enter open markets and find good returns, and existing farms can readily incorporate specialty mushroom production alongside their other crop systems. In an industry with tight margins, farmers are reluctant to adopt new crops or practices until they see others succeeding and when there is a well-developed support network of extension, university, and consultants advocating for a practice and offering support. As a competent network grows, more farms will be able to understand the possibilities and are likely to increase adoption of specialty mushroom production

Cooperators

Click linked name(s) to expand
  • Qiana Mickie (Educator)
  • Onika Abraham (Educator)
  • Ravi Ramaswamy (Educator)
  • Shephali Patel (Educator)
  • Connor Vaughn (Educator)
  • Jie Jin (Educator)
  • Renee Resimke (Educator)
  • Brendan Parker (Educator)
  • Gabriela Pereyra (Educator)
  • Brenda Thompson-duchene (Educator)

Educational Approach

Educational approach:

Our approach to education is interdisciplinary, with individual study, group discussion, live and webinar workshop sessions, and individualized support for the 16 selected participants who demonstrate their potential for community level impact. A complete curriculum for specialty mushroom production along with a teacher’s manual will be developed to facilitate transfer of the aspects of successful production, the initial draft has been completed by Ravi Ramaswamy in Winter 2019. In addition to the technical aspects of production, it is important that educators are trained and engage in effective methods to improve how content is taught to support the needs of diverse communities. To this end, we will use a ‘Popular Education’ approaches (Frerie 2018, Bender 1996, and Jeria 1990) — so that learning events are driven by the collective participant needs and solutions reflect the particular context that participants face. Networks focused on educator development help develop a sense of connectivity and are a tool for exchanging best practices that improve the viability of the specialty mushroom industry as a whole. The methods we utilize emphasize that all participants have knowledge to share and that the collective experience of the group forms a valuable cohort that sustains for years beyond the term of this project. Ravi Ramaswamy has extensive experience with popular education and will implement this approach throughout the course of the project. 

Milestones

Milestone #1 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Recruitment to participate.
500 agriculture service providers are informed of the project though the existing NE Beginning Farmer Learning Network, our provider list (585 contacts), websites, and social media (May-June 2019)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
500
Proposed Completion Date:
June 30, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
February 21, 2020
Accomplishments:

Promotional video: https://youtu.be/n9uI8gShxk0

Recruitment website: https://smallfarms.cornell.edu/projects/mushrooms/cme/

Newsletter: Harvest-NY-2nd-quarter-report

The following was the outreach plan for January 2020:

Sent Mushroom Grower List-serve Email Announcement/Press Release
Sent FarmSchool NYC Online Mushroom Course Announcement through both Farm School NYC newsletter & Google Group
Sent Announcement through COMFOOD, NYFC chapters & Harvest NY website
Sent Announcement through Grow NYC & Just Food email newsletter
Include Announcement in Harvest NY Growers Update & Harvest NY Urban Ag social media
Sent Announcement through CRAFT NYC 2019 & NYC Farm Alliance list-serve
Sent Announcement through Cornell Small Farms email newsletter and printed quarterly
Sent Announcement through Mushroom meetups and Mycological Society
Sent Announcement through GreenThumb Events Guide
Sent Announcement through NYCCGC

 

The free and accessible materials on our website (41,387 pageviews for
mushroom project), monthly webinar series (over 11k views), online courses (81 participants) and in person workshops (108 participants) reached thousands of people interested in specialty mushroom cultivation.

Milestone #2 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

100 participate in informational webinars (July-September 2019)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
100
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
167
Proposed Completion Date:
September 30, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
November 19, 2019
Accomplishments:

2019 Mushroom Webinar Series-The Cornell Small Farms Program and Harvest NY CCE hosted a webinar series focused on specialty mushroom farming enterprises, highlighting the latest research and stories from experienced growers around the region. The webinar was held from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. EST. Each webinar is also recorded and posted for later viewing on the Cornell Small Farms Program’s YouTube channel. A total of 167 viewers participated in seven webinars throughout 2019.

Date

Presenters

Description

Participation

May 1st, 2019

 

Steve Gabriel and Renee Jacobson

Specialty Mushrooms in the US and Oyster on Coffee Research—This webinar will include an overview of the project and available resources from extension specialists Steve Gabriel and Yolanda Gonzalez (CCE Harvest NY). Additionally, Renee Jacobson from Firefly Farm of Hornby, NY, will present results from a farmer grant she conducted trialing oyster cultivation on coffee grounds and sawdust.

23 Participants

June 5th, 2019

 

Steve Gabriel, Yolanda Gonzalez, William Padilla Brown

Specialty Mushroom Project Info and Mycosymbiotics- Learn about how our www.CornellMushrooms.org project will train new mushroom educators from Yolanda Gonzalez (CCE Harvest NY) and conduct production research to develop budget tools from Steve Gabriel (Small Farms). In the second half, we will hear from William Padilla-Brown of Mycosymbiotics, who forages, teaches, and grows many mushrooms in many forms, focusing on the connections to healing people and planet. http://mycosymbiotics.wordpress.com/

(Specifically related to SARE Grant)

40 Participants

July 3rd  2019

Steve Gabriel and Gina Gohl

Food Safety and Mushroom Farming in Nepal- We will share considerations for the safe harvesting and handling of mushrooms on the farm from Steve Gabriel (Small Farms) as well as the state and federal regulations those selling mushrooms need to consider from Yolanda Gonzalez (CCE Harvest NY). For the second half we will hear from Gina Gohl about the food security initiative in Peace Corps Nepal, including why mushrooms are part of food security initiative, info on consumption, methods of production, and challenges faced by mushrooms producers in Nepal. 

26 Participants

August 7th, 2019

Steve Gabriel, Yolanda Gonzalez, and Jesse Marksohn

Mushrooms solving problems in Urban and Rural communities and Low Impact Outdoor Mushroom Farming-- During our August webinar, learn about the ways mushroom can help solve complex social and environmental challenges facing both Urban and Rural communities from Yolanda Gonzalez of CCE Harvest NY and Steve Gabriel with the Cornell Small Farms Program. During the second half we will explore the efficacy of low impact outdoor mushroom farming with Jesse Marksohn of Fungal Forest. Jesse will gloss over some of environmental impacts of conventional specialty mushroom farming, the experiences and mentors that allowed his methods to form, and how this system could be improved upon and replicated. 

14 Participants

September 4th, 2019

Steve Gabriel and Willie Crosby

Options for Profitable Specialty Mushroom Production and NE SARE Grant Overview-- During the September webinar, we will cover the possibilities for profitable indoor cultivation including oysters on straw, ready-to-fruit blocks indoors, and ready-to-fruit blocks outdoors (you can make your own blocks or buy them in from a supplier). Join Small Farms Steve Gabriel and Willie Crosby from Fungi Ally to discuss the differences and learn about the launch of our new video series along with a NESARE grant that enables us to support a new crop of mushroom growers through education, one-on-one consulting, and economic data collection efforts. (Specifically related to SARE Grant)

18 Participants

October 2nd, 2019

Trad Cotter

Tradd Cotter Mon Seminar Talk- In partnership with our FARM OPS program supporting veterans in agriculture, join us for this special evening presentation LIVE with Tradd Cotter of Mushroom Mountain. Tradd will overview the medicinal aspects of mushrooms for a wide range of health benefits, and will specifically highlight the latest research to safely administer fungi in the treatment of trauma and PTSD.

22 Participants

November 19th, 2019

Faith Gilbert and Steve Gabriel

Financial Planning for Mushrooms--The topic of financial planning for mushroom enterprises will be covered with our mushroom project specialist, Steve Gabriel, and Faith Gilbert of Letterbox Farm Collective. Review the basics of building an enterprise budget, and discover how mushrooms can fit within a larger whole farm plan.

24 Participants

Milestone #3 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

75 service providers apply to participate in the training and 60 are accepted (October-December 2019). We will be asking applicants who are interested in delivering direct mushroom education and who can identify audiences who they will be directly serving. In addition, we will be asking applicants to commit to participating in one of the three 2-day trainings in Albany, NYC, and Baltimore, as well as pre-course work. We will work to recruit this diverse cohort of both urban and rural educators by tapping into the wide-reaching networks of project partners.

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
75
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
166
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2019
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
February 21, 2020
Accomplishments:

The timeline for the Community Mushroom Educator (CME) Training application process shifted from October- December 2019 to January-April 2020. In the months of October through December 2019 the project team has created the website description, finalized the promotional video, application, and the following timeline: 

Week of January 6th 2020: Press Release 

January 10th 2020: Applications open 

January 28th: Informational Webinar

February 21st 2020: Application deadline  

April 6th 2020: Notification of Acceptance

April 23rd - December 3rd, 2020: 2020 CME Program (see below for schedule of events)

In early January 2020 the applications closed and the project team began to craft a criteria worksheet and a scoring sheet for a team of 12 reviewers from the urban farming community and mushroom industry to review and score applications.  We received 166 applications and had originally planned to accept 60 people for the online training and in person training sessions (estimating 20 participants per session).  Given the large number of applications, we increased the total amount of accepted participants to 76 and in early April CME participants were notified of their acceptance.                                                              

We opened applications on January 10th, 2020 and closed them on February 17th. Our target was to get 75 applications and accept 60 people into the program. With 2,747 views in the reporting period of the CME project page received 166 applicants from 14 states (we limited the pool to Northeast states) with affiliations of over 200 non-profit, farm, and community garden organizations. 57% of applicants indicated this professional development would be part of their professional duties. Over 56% who applied self-identified as non-white (15.4% Black, 11.5% Latinx, 8.1% Asian, 21.5% mixed race or other identity) and 30.3% indicate they speak a language other than English at home, with over 20 languages represented. A diverse team of 10
educators and partners reviews and scored applications in February and March, and near the end of March we accepted 76 people into the program, with a majority self identified as non-white. (18% Black, 11.8% Latinx, 9.3% Asian, 11.8% mixed). Due to COVID related fallout and challenges, about half (35) were able to actively maintain participation in the training.

Milestone #4 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Pre-training engagement.
60 trainees collaborate to clarify goals for promoting specialty mushrooms and explore popular education models through three team-led webinars, reading, and reflection. (April- June 2020)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Actual number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who participated:
70
Proposed Completion Date:
June 30, 2020
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
May 14, 2020
Accomplishments:

CME Participants had access to previous recordings from the Cornell Small Farms BF 151 - Woodland Mushroom Cultivation and the BF 153 - Indoor Specialty Mushroom Cultivation Course starting from the last two weeks in April throughout the year. The new curriculum portion of the CME program started June 4th. 

Milestone #5 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Each of the 60 service providers completes a pre-course knowledge self-assessment and surveys their audience about educational needs using a survey provided by the project team. (April- June 2020)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Proposed Completion Date:
June 30, 2020
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
December 3, 2020
Accomplishments:

A post-knowledge assessment was conducted in December 2020. 

As demonstrated in the graph below, 35 out of the 48 participants of the survey responded "Yes, a lot" to the question "Did the program expand your knowledge and ability to educate others about mushroom cultivation." Another 10 out of 48 participants of the survey responded "Yes, some" and 5 out of 48 participants responded "Yes, a little bit."

 

Milestone #6 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Learning through the education program.
60 rural and urban educators across the Northeast attend one of three 2-day trainings in Albany, NYC, and Baltimore. They pass knowledge quizzes in four main competency areas: Mycology 101, Cultivation Best Practices, Production Economics, and Teaching with Popular Education. Participants receive forms and a spreadsheet for recording contact and demographic information for the farmers they consult with throughout the project. (July- Dec. 2020)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Proposed Completion Date:
December 3, 2020
Status:
Completed
Date Completed:
December 3, 2020
Accomplishments:

The Project Team originally set out to carry out this project as a hybrid model of online instruction and in-person training sessions set to happen in NYC, Albany, and Philadelphia. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, we have adapted the program to be 100% online for 2020. Moving forward, the in-person component may be re-introduced as circumstances shift and it becomes safe to do so. 

The following is a timeline of the Community Mushroom Educator Program in 2020, including the intensive pre-course work, curriculum and Q&A webinars and guest speakers. A total of 42.5 hours of content was created and posted on a teaching platform called Teachable for the CME participants to access for future reference.

Date

Presenters

Description

April 23th, 2020

William Padilla Brown

Expert Grower Webinar (1hr):

William Padilla-Brown of Mycosymbiotics, who forages, teaches, and grows many mushrooms in many forms, focusing on the connections to healing people and planet. http://mycosymbiotics.wordpress.com/

April 30th, 2020

Jie Jin

Expert Grower Webinar (1 hr): Jie is a mushroom grower and founder of Curiouseed, an education studio that inspires nature awareness through playful, experimental, and hands-on experiences with fungi. Her work explores accessible mushroom cultivation techniques for community resilience and soil regeneration, and has offered her a unique pathway to reconnect with her Chinese heritage. 

May 7th, 2020

Willie Crosby

Expert Grower Webinar (1hr): Willie Crosby is the owner of Fungi Ally, a mushroom spawn and education business based in MA. Willie has been growing and teaching about mushrooms for 7 years through universities, workshops, grants, and online classes. 

May 14th, 2020 

Olga Tzogas 

Expert Grower Webinar (1hr): Olga Tzogas and her journey with Fungi and plants started over ten years ago. In 2011, Smugtown Mushrooms was started, which provides, cultivation supplies to grow mushrooms, indoors or outdoors, for food or for medicine.

June 4th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

How we learn new skills Q &A (1.5 hrs)

June 11th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

How to Grow Curriculum (1.5 hrs)

June 18th, 2020

Will Padilla Brown 

Guest Speaker (1.5 hrs): Will Padilla Brown “Growing Mushrooms in Your Kitchen”

June 25th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

How to Grow Curriculum 2 (1.5 hrs)

July 9th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Community Economies Q &A (1.5 hrs)

July 16th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

How to Sell Curriculum 1 (1.5 hrs)

July 23th, 2020

Olivia Watkins

Guest Speaker (1.5 hrs): Olivia Watkins “Land Legacy and Shiitake Agroforestry”

July 30th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

How to Sell Curriculum 2 (1.5 hrs)

August 6th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Solving Community Challenges

Q &A” (1.5 hrs)

August 13th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Q&A about kits (1.5 hrs)

August 20th, 2020

Alex Dorr

Guest Speaker (1.5 hrs): Alex Dorr “Breaking down mycoremediation”

August 27th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Popular Education 1 (1.5 hrs)

Sept. 3rd, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Popular Education 2 (1.5 hrs)

Sept. 10th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

(Project Work) Q&A Brainstorm (1.5 hrs)

Sept. 24th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

CME Class Share Out (1.5 hrs) 

Oct. 8th 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

CME Class Share Out (1.5 hrs)

Nov. 12th 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

CME Class Share Out (1.5 hrs)

Dec. 3th, 2020

Steve Gabriel, Ravi  Ramaswamy, and Yolanda Gonzalez

Final 2020 CME Q&A Meetup (1.5 hrs)

At the end of the 2020 CME Program, participants had the following comments to say:

"I basically started the course very excited about mushrooms but with very little knowledge about them apart from basic things like mycelial networks and a bit of anatomy (and how awesome they are!) So everything from morphology to growing indoors and outdoors to marketing––all of it was new
and I've learned so much in the past few months!"

"I gained enough knowledge about growing mushroom indoors and in the garden to give a presentation. My knowledge, skills and confidence regarding mushrooms all grew because of this class."

"I knew very little about mushroom cultivation, and this course was packed with a ton of excellent information." 

"The program is fantastic and the team really thought it through for folks to learn and share. I unfortunately could not take advantage of all the teachings as I would have wanted. I do appreciate having the access to the materials and I plan to get back to it."

 

Milestone #7 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

60 service providers receive a survey 3 months after they receive training to assess if further support is needed and reinforce commitment to teach farmers. (Mar. 2021)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Proposed Completion Date:
March 31, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #8 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

16 participants (8 urban, 8 rural) continue to advanced level mushroom education throughout 2021 by: a) participating in one in-person event and five online meetings; b) teaching mini-lessons within our existing online mushroom cultivation courses, gaining practice and reaching 90 farmers; and c) completing two mushroom related electives such as visiting local farms and engaging with mushroom production in their local communities through activities that are self-determined as appropriate including for example volunteer workdays, site visits and further educational opportunities. (ongoing to Dec. 2021)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
16
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #9 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Each of the 16 advanced-level trainees organizes and hosts one hands-on cultivation event for farmers with support from an experienced lead instructor (Spring & Summer 2021). The educators will be incentivized to gain more hands-on teaching practice through a materials budget for workshops and ongoing mentorship from project partners. Upon completion of all requirements, 12 successful participants become certified as lead instructors.

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
15
Proposed Completion Date:
September 30, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #10 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Engagement to support follow-up action.
The 60 initial course trainees, including the 12 certified educators, officially become first cohort of NE network of mushroom educators. Certified educators report back to larger group through webinars sharing their experience and how they have applied what they have learned to the wider community. (Fall - Winter 2021)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #11 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

All participants will receive ongoing support to use and transfer their learning and ensure collection of data on the provided forms via quarterly emails and two check-in calls, one at the beginning of the season and another toward the end. (ongoing to Dec. 2021)

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
60
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #12 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

Verification of actions or changes.
40 of 60 service providers report increasing their knowledge and confidence in offering support for specialty mushroom production, as evidenced by the difference in scoring from pre and post- training self-assessment (2019 and 2020).

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
40
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2020
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #13 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

In the final year of the project, 40 of the 60 service providers respond to a follow-up survey and report on their actions teaching or advising farmers. (Dec. 2021).

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
40
Proposed Completion Date:
December 31, 2021
Status:
In Progress
Milestone #14 (click to expand/collapse)
What beneficiaries do and learn:

The 12 certified educators participate in exit interviews to share insights on their own progression and provide insights to improve the curriculum. Eight of these educators develop new curriculum resources, such as videos or new production techniques (Dec 2021 – March 2022).

Proposed number of agriculture service provider beneficiaries who will participate:
12
Proposed Completion Date:
May 31, 2022
Status:
In Progress

Milestone Activities and Participation Summary

Educational activities and events conducted by the project team:

1 Published press articles, newsletters
22 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days
1 Other educational activities

Participants in the project’s educational activities:

10 Extension
5 Researchers
60 Nonprofit
15 Farmers/ranchers
30 Farmers
10 Number of agricultural educator or service providers reached through education and outreach activities

Learning Outcomes

40 Agricultural service providers reported changes in knowledge, skills and/or attitudes as a result of their participation.
10 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation

Performance Target Outcomes

Performance Target Outcomes - Service Providers

Target #1

Target: number of service providers who will take action to educate/advise farmers:
40
Target: actions the service providers will take:

Forty service providers demonstrate their improved knowledge and skills by each training at least 25 farmers (1000 total) on specialty mushroom production within the first year.

Target: number of farmers the service providers will educate/advise:
1000

Target #2

Target: number of service providers who will take action to educate/advise farmers:
12
Target: actions the service providers will take:

Twelve educators achieve an advanced mushroom production certification and teach another 20 educators and 300 farmers.

Target: number of farmers the service providers will educate/advise:
300

Additional Project Outcomes

Additional Outcomes Narrative:

Summer Series Mushroom Workshop Evaluation Results 2019_Learning Outcomes

Summer Series Mushroom Workshop Evaluation Results 2019

In the summer of 2019, Cornell Small Farms and Harvest NY CCE coordinated a series of workshops at Isabahlia Farms, Red Hook Farm, and Kelly St. Community Garden. Participants learned to inoculate a shiitake log, grow oysters on straw, and plant wine cap in wood chips. The evaluations are a tool to assess baseline knowledge and experience before and after each workshop, to determine how learning has changed among all agricultural service providers. 51 participants completed evaluations for all workshops. 

Pre-course Evaluations

What drew you to learn about mushrooms?

Consumption

Health/Medicine

 

Sell

 

History/Culture

 

Curious

 

Other

65%

47%

47%

16%

80%

0%

 

What experience do you have growing mushrooms?

 Buy/Cook

Foraging

 

Outdoor Grow

 

Indoor Grow

 

Class/Books

 

Other

80%

20%

10%

12%

24%

0%

What is your current knowledge?

 I know some

I know a little

I know nothing

12%

57%

31%

In what ways do you intend to use information about mushroom cultivation?

Grow for self

Sell

Teach Others

Not Sure

Other

71%

37%

53%

31%

0%

 Where would you like to grow mushrooms?

Garden

Farm

Inside home

Inside Building

Not Sure

Other

51%

45%

49%

27%

25%

2%

Post-course Evaluations

What is one new thing you learned about mushrooms today? (Out of 51)

That they require Oxygen

Growing mushrooms is easier than I thought

That we seal the logs with wax

How to grow blue oysters and wine cap

Everything! How Mushrooms Grow

How to inoculate logs with shitake spawn from start to finish

They don’t grow on pine

inoculation tools; using paper, cardboard

Different places, conditions, methods, and tools for growing mushrooms

Sterilization and inoculation

i didn’t know about using sawdust to inoculate shitake

Lasagna method, how to colonize substrate

That pine has antifungal properties

Sunlight isn’t needed at all to grow

How easy you can utilize common things toilet paper to grow fungi

lots!

Oyster and shitake inoculation techniques

Mushrooms need oxygen

That shitake takes a year to grow

How to grow them

Mushroom life cycle

Jargon, how to inoculate, what conditions i need to cultivate

I learned that each mushrooms unique in its process and growth, and that mushrooms do require a lot more care than i anticipated

how mushrooms grow

They are east to grow

The environment they can grow in

knowing when to open bags for fruiting

mycelium is the key

certain mushrooms only grow in only certain dry materials

nomenclature

Shiitakes grow on logs

Everything! How to grow, what some differences are between different kinds

winecaps! They're amazing

Inoculation

They’re resilient enough to grow through a layer of wax, and smaller varieties are tastier

The life cycle of a mushroom

The different stages of the growth process

I learned that they have very specific food preferences

Mushrooms that can be grown easily at home

Morels can’t be cultivated because they're mycorrhiza-the difference between decomposing and mycorrhizal mushrooms

It takes about a year to inoculate shitake mushrooms; that substrate = food, that coffee grounds is full of nitrogen so it’s a good as a substrate

That they can be intercropped with veggies

Intercropping

How to grow mushrooms

growing inside an apartment

inoculation mediums

Best Materials to utilize for which mushrooms

various substrates

inoculating logs

How to grow these at home

 

What is one thing you hoped to learn and did not? (Out of 51)

How to cultivate almond agaricus on compost

The potential for growing mushrooms as a small enterprise

where to by mycelium

What can go wrong and how to fix common problems

about costs of necessary equipment

How to grow mushrooms on a commercial/small scale

I’d like to hear more about the business aspect of mushroom cultivation

where to purchase spores from

Psylocybine Mushrooms and their growth processes

sources for free suitable substrates

Sources to do this cheap and easy

About them magic mushrooms

nothing

I learned everything i wanted to know

I didnt know anything about mushrooms so this covered all of the bases

Didnt know what to expect but I am satisfied

Learned enough for a few hours

mushrooms for soil health improvement/remediation

Would like class to be longer/ more in depth

I had no expectations

I learned it all

I learned everything I wanted to know

Almond Agaricus growing

How to identify poinsonous mushrooms

I was hoping to learn how to grow w/o ordering spores-all in house growing

growing at home

more about foraging

Where to forage mushrooms in NYC? How to tell if mushrooms are poisonous?

how to cook mushrooms

nothing

A source for logs if you are not connected w/ community gardens

 

Knowledge Change (Out of 51)

I learned a lot

I learned a little

I learned some

I learned nothing

69%

4%

25%

2%

 

What mushrooms or methods can you see doing again in the future? (Out of 51)

Shiitake Logs

Oyster Straw

Wine Cap

Almond Agaricus

Other

67%

80%

84%

16%

6%

 

What barriers or challenges do you have in producing mushrooms? (Out of 51)

Materials

Time

Cost

Place

Learn More

Other

18%

22%

10%

35%

29%

Access to mycelium

Travel means my schedule is tough to control

Not sure yet

No barriers

Organization

Practice

Mold/humuidity

log source

molds

 

One way to improve workshop?

Have a reoccurring series

I realized its easy/less time consuming than i thought

Be clearer about flow of the space (Knowing where to go)

really appreciated the handouts and varied instruction styles from each leader

more of a focus on small-scale commercial production

Hard to hear speakers, perhaps hold in a classroom setting

need microphone with big group and noisy street

Megaphone

Megaphone, it’s hard to talk loud enough in NYC. You did good!

Longer

learn more

Examples of already grown mushrooms

You guys did great! 10/10

perfect

talk more about free sources for recycles substrates

10/10

to not have people drilling around people without eye protection

the beginning

it was great

One way to improve workshop?

Maybe more space/area so everyone has a chance to participate

Best workshop hands down

tasting of mushrooms

Talk about mushroom types

All great

Don’t do it on a super sunny afternoon with music playing in the background

 amazing

I thought this was a great intro

Do it on a weekend while its earlier

Spanish translations. Would love to have had this workshop in my garden (Woodycrest Community Garden)

Grants for folks to get materials

It could move faster

I found the lace a bit too slow

It was great! Loved getting to take materials home

Everything was so well thoughtout and organized-thank you! Maybe more info on foraging would be great!

more time

 

 

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Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.