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Help us build a non-profit community mycology lab

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Our story so far
During the summer of 2020, we began growing oyster mushrooms in our basement in East Manchester. We quickly grew to supply community veg box schemes, forming connections with the community of growers at Platt Fields Market Garden. It wasn’t before long that our need to expand beyond our basement became apparent, and we were fortunate enough to be invited to join the space at Platt Fields, where we have made a home out of two shipping containers, constructing our own workshop and prep space.

In our corner of the site we have some extra space that we would love to turn into a community laboratory for anyone to use for all things mycological! As a co-operative, we want Myco to collaborate, connect, and learn from our community, and this lab is a key part of that.



Why mycology?

We know that fungi have a vital role to play in the fight for climate justice; they have been known to break down persistent pollutants in the soil, filter contaminants from water and help stop soil erosion. Fungi have a wide range of culinary and medicinal uses, and people have even been using mycelium as a building material, as a vegan leather, and as a biodegradable alternative to styrofoam.

Myco is a collective built around a shared love for fungi with a commitment to food and environmental justice. We believe that mushrooms have a vital role to play in building a food system that is sustainable and resilient, as well as supporting a rich ecology and a more environmentally just world.

Despite fungi being integral to the history of life on earth, mycology is a relatively new field and doesn’t have as much funding from institutional sources as you would expect. Most of the above applications for fungi have been pioneered by community mycologists, people with a passion for fungi but no access to University labs or corporate R&D teams. We hope that our farm, workshop space, and lab can provide a hub for mycologists and mushroom enthusiasts to further explore our relationships with the fungal world and its practical applications, as well as providing inspiration and learning opportunities for people who haven’t yet discovered their love of fungi! We want our space to be accessible to all, regardless of institutional resources or scientific background.

We believe strongly that fungal biodiversity is important for everyone, as it is clear that fungi might hold the answers to a wide range of human problems. As such, maintaining that diversity in light of existential threats such as climate change and habitat destruction is imperative. We have plans to use the community laboratory as the base of a “fungal library” where different strains of mushrooms can be held in common and the benefits should be shared with all who need them.




Our vision for the lab

With this fundraiser we are looking to raise money to build the community laboratory and kit it out with appropriate equipment.

Myco is a workers co-operative, meaning that we are owned and managed democratically by our workers. Our experiences as queer, trans and disabled people constantly influences how we work: building safe and inclusive spaces for us to connect with the world of fungi is fundamental to how we operate.

The lab will be nonprofit and operate on a sliding-cost membership basis to ensure it is as accessible to as many people as possible, with all money going back into the lab to pay for maintenance costs and consumables.





We are fundraising for £6,000. This will cover:

The physical structure of the lab itself - £2500;
Equipment (laminar flow hoods, pressure cooker/autoclave) - £1800 ;
Cool storage for samples (fridge, freezer) - £600;
Furniture (desks, storage shelving, chairs) - £1000
Consumables (isopropyl alcohol, gloves, masks etc.) - £100


What happens if…

We don’t raise the target amount

We will still endeavour to make the community lab a reality! We will explore alternative funding methods, for example through grant applications. We may need to kit out the lab at a slower pace based on how well the sales from the farm do: even if this were the case, we would ensure that people who wanted to become members could use whatever equipment and facilities we were able to afford. In other words, when it comes to the lab, whatever we’re able to build will be made accessible.

We manage to raise more than the target

If this happens and we find that we have more money than we need, we’ll consult with people who express an interest in joining the lab about what they would like to prioritise - whether it’s bringing the costs of access down, or whether it's investing in another piece of kit.

Thank-you for sharing and helping make this project possible!

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Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • £30 
    • 4 mos
  • Anonymous
    • £100 
    • 4 mos
  • Julius Ang
    • £20 
    • 8 mos
  • Aisha Nasir
    • £20 
    • 10 mos
  • Sean Zoega
    • £15 
    • 1 yr
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Organizer

Rob Noon
Organizer
England

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