- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: organic fertilizers, conservation tillage
- Education and Training: display, technical assistance
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, feasibility study, agricultural finance
- Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
- Soil Management: organic matter, composting
- Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures
Mushroom cultivation has long been used to manage agronomic byproducts while producing food and maintaining a profit. In turn, the byproduct of mushroom cultivation has considerable value as an environmentally benign, nutrient rich soil amendment. Christopher Tchudi, a resident caretaker and market gardener at Fido’s Farm in Olympia, Wash., will use his Western SARE Farmer/Rancher grant to see how much time and money it takes a small, diversified farm to produce mushrooms on waste substrate. Small farms face many challenges managing waste, whether applied directly to fields or composted for later application. Tchudi will examine the use of mushroom composting of common agricultural materials as a means of generating fertility on a small farm. Two composting projects will be managed simultaneously, one using woodchip substrate, the other using straw. Both will be inoculated with the spawn of tree oyster mushroom, an easily grown, high-yield variety native to most temperate forests.