Project Urban Mushrooms on Mimosa Wood

Project Overview

FS22-343
Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2022: $14,951.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2024
Grant Recipient: Fountain Heights Farms
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Maria Dominique Villanueva
Fountain Heights Farms

Commodities

  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms

Practices

  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection

    Proposal summary:

    Our project will clear and clean up one of the overgrown lots in Fountain Heights (located at 1707 14th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35204) currently owned by Fountain Heights Farms to complete our project testing. On the lot are Mimosa and paper Mulberry, both of which will be used to complete the 2-year trial.

     

    We will be using the Birmingham GIS mapping system to calculate the number of empty lots in the Fountain Heights neighborhood and using the data gathered by Cawaco and the Birmingham Urban Forestry group to calculate the number of existing Mimosa trees in the area. Both data sources will help estimate the potential for other area urban farmers. 

     

    During the two year trial we will be answering the following questions:

    • Given the abundance of the fast-growing, invasive tree species Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) found on urban lots in Birmingham, AL, are Mimosa tree logs suitable for growing Chestnut, Nameko, Golden Oyster, and Blue Oyster varieties of mushrooms? 

     

    • What kinds of yields will they return during harvest compared to the tested and rated “suitable” Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera)

     

    • For how long will the logs continue to produce after the first flush on Mimosa wood?

     

    • Is there a quality of life improvement to the surrounding neighbors as a result of clearing and cleaning the overgrown lot?

    Project objectives from proposal:

    We plan on using Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) as the control since Mulberry has already been rated by North Spore, our nationally-recognized mushroom spore supplier, as "Suitable"  for growing all of these varieties.  We will be inoculating 25 of each type of tree, both being harvested from the farm lot and the surrounding areas. We will measure mushroom results via observation and physical measurements and record the data daily in a spreadsheet. We will measure community quality of life improvements by using four self-reported surveys.

     

    With the help of the Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association, we have already acquired an overgrown lot requiring clean-up. We plan to clean up the lot with the help of community volunteers. We will then identify and harvest forty (40) Mimosa logs and forty (40) Paper Mulberry logs on which to grow each of the four varieties as listed in the table below.

     

    Mushroom Variety

    Number of Mimosa wood logs

    Number of P. Mulberry logs

    Golden Oyster ('Saffron' Pleurotus citrinopileatus NSPC1)

    10

    10

    Chestnut (Speckled Chestnut' Pholiota adiposa NSPA1)

    10

    10

    Nameko ('Jelly Roll' Pholiota nameko NSPN1)

    10

    10

    Blue Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus NSPO9)

    10

    10

     

    We will then identify mushroom log growing areas within the lot, host four mushroom inoculation workshops (two in spring and two in fall) for other urban farmers and interested community members to innoculate the mushroom logs and place the logs, and then consistently measure the actual yield of each mushroom variety on Mimosa wood logs versus the Paper Mulberry “control” logs.  We will also be working closely with the Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association to survey neighbors in years one and two to help measure the quality of life changes related to the mushroom farm space.

    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.