Potter Valley Tribe’s Native Mushroom Cultivation from Waste Byproduct Substrate for Food Sovereignty

Project Overview

Project Type: Local Ed & Demo (formerly RGR)
Funds awarded in 2020: $12,106.00
Projected End Date: 06/30/2022
Host Institution Award ID: G162-21-W7906
Grant Recipients: Potter Valley Tribe; Western Colorado University; Mendocino Community College; Mendocino, Lake, Sonoma Tribal Environmental Programs; Forest Reciprocity Group
Region: Western
State: California
Principal Investigator:
Jade Swor
Salvador Rosales, Sr.
Potter Valley Tribe
Salvador Rosales, Jr.
Potter Valley Tribe
Gregg Young
Potter Valley Tribe

Information Products

Project Website (Website)
Lab Training Documents (Manual/Guide)


  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Animal Production: herbal medicines, winter forage
  • Crop Production: crop improvement and selection, nutrient cycling
  • Education and Training: demonstration, farmer to farmer
  • Production Systems: utilizing waste byproducts
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life, sustainability measures, food sovereignty

    Proposal abstract:

    The Potter Valley Tribe intends to continue the cultivation of medicinal and gourmet mushrooms on our coastal land in Fort Bragg, California but grow in a significant way by adding to Western SARE's mycological knowledge. A one-of-a-kind proposal, we want to continue to expand on previous SARE research through experimenting with growing on spent coffee grounds, hardwood sawdust from sawmills, and other less frequently utilized local ‘waste’ byproducts such as hemp production. Combined with the traditional ecological knowledge of Northern Californian tribes, we want to experiment with cultivating native mushrooms from our own production of spawn. This means that we will be setting up a mushroom program within the Tribe to continue our mushroom cultivation but to develop our own methodology for production rather than purchasing spawn from other growers which we are currently doing. Potter Valley Tribe became federally recognized in 1993 but since then have made major changes to benefit Tribal members and the environment. The themes to the projects initiated by the Tribe have been environmental sustainability, agriculture, and education. Combined with Western SARE, we want to continue this legacy to benefit Potter Valley Tribal members as well as regional Tribes and Tribal youth through this integrative mushroom cultivation project. From consulting with mushroom farmers, soil scientists, and a biomimetic designer, we have and want to continue to ensure that our project is truly robust enough to be producing towards a successful and sustainable goal while adding to SARE's database for future mushroom projects.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Within 2 months, we will grow in our capacity to continue a producing and sustainable mid-scale mushroom farm

    1. To continue food sovereignty for Potter Valley Tribe
    2. To diversify Potter Valley Tribe’s revenue

    Within 6 months, and on an ongoing basis, we will contribute to SARE’s research database

    1. Through growing different mushrooms on novel waste-stream substrates
    2. From Tribal directed research
    3. To evaluate the success of a small-scale mushroom operation for additional income for farmers

    Within 12 months, we will provide and continue to provide education on fungi

    1. Through documenting the cultivation process from collection, through inoculation, to harvest
    2. Distribution catered for regional Tribes and Tribal youth
    3. To bring traditional uses of mushrooms, cultivation, and gathering methods into awareness
    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.