Mushrooms for Economic Renewal

Thank you everyone who donated to the recovery of Mexico after the string of devastating earthquakes this past September! There's still a lot of work to be done!

Mexico needs solutions that can be implemented quickly and that are sustainable, scalable, and economically viable. This campaign is focused on developing economic and food resilience in historically impoverished regions of Mexico as well as those hard hit by the recent disasters by teaching the local population how to cultivate mushrooms. Our goal is to develop economic and food resilience through mushroom cultivation in historically impoverished regions of Mexico as well as those affected by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake of September 19th, 2017.

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This project began in October 2017, just weeks after the devastating September 19th earthquake, when Daniel Reyes of Myco Alliance traveled down to Mexico City to join Hector Meza and the "Desde Cero" group to give a handful of Mycology classes and workshops at spaces like BANDINI Espacio Cultural in the heart of Mexico City. We also visited a local middle school to demonstrate how to grow mushrooms in a greenhouse using nursery pots. The response to these classes was unbelievable, and the capacity that the local people had to understand the value of the information being presented convinced us to return and expand upon this experience.

According to Tradd Cotter , author of Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation , mushrooms can provide a very financially efficient and sustainable source of food long after the news-cycle and donors’ attention have moved to the next disaster. Mushroom farming is a “low-tech way to provide a consistent source of highly nutritious food in a matter of weeks”. Mushrooms are very hardy organisms that can grow very efficiently on waste materials, of which there are plenty in a disaster zone.

What's New?

This year we are returning to 4 states in Mexico to continue our goal to spread this crucial information about the Fungi Kingdom and help as many people recover economically through the sustainable cultivation of edible and medicinal mushrooms. We will kick things off in early July with a trip to the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula to do a fungal biodiversity survey of macromycetes inside the lowland flooded forests of the Reserva Ecologica Manglares de Chivoja near Ciudad del Carmen in Campeche. There, we hope to find rare species of decomposing fungi that can help break down urban and agricultural waste streams and provide the local people with economic opportunities by sharing with them the tools to collect, expand, and cultivate these species.

Our second leg will include a visit to the state of Oaxaca where we will link up with artisanal mezcal producers and share with them the skills to grow mushrooms using the byproducts of the distillation process called "Bagazo". Previous studies have shown the ability of the common Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) to break down the spent agave fibers that often end up as pollution in nearby waterways. We also hope to find local species of decomposing fungi that can match the ability of the powerful Oysters to break down these complex materials.

The third and final leg will be in our return to Mexico City to once again collaborate with the wonderful people of BANDINI to offer classes, workshops, and a summary of our experience spreading spores throughout Mexico's southernmost states.

Your assistance in this campaign will not only help save our environment but also help historically impoverished communities. Thank you for your help!---
About Us:

Hector Meza / Desde Cero

Hector got his BA in Biology from Cornell University and afterward attended Columbia Business School. He's recently returned to live in Mexico where he's using his experience as a startup advisor to help local nonprofits and social entrepreneurs through his initiative, Desde Cero (translates as "From the Ground Up"). Desde Cero helps finance new citizen initiatives that can have a big impact with a small investments, tries to reduce the duplication of efforts of similar projects by helping entrepreneurs network with each other and join forces, and acts as a consultant helping launch these projects. Our first project, EMBU , a micro-factory manufacturing sustainable crutches made out of bamboo, was successfully launched recently and donated 200 pairs of crutches to victims of the Mexico earthquakes.

Daniel Reyes/Myco Alliance

Daniel Reyes is a mycologist and the founder of Myco Alliance in Austin Texas, a science and education company focusing on reinvigorating the field of Mycology. He has taught mycological principles to hundreds of students, citizen scientists, and professionals in the USA, Mexico, and Ecuador through hands-on workshops and interactive classes. Daniel is an experienced scientist with a demonstrated history of working in the environmental services industry, skilled in Mycology, Hydrogeology, and Environmental Compliance. His current work includes low-tech mushroom cultivation, citizen science, and mycoremediation research at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve, an educational center and ecological haven located on an EPA-designated brownfield site in Austin.

Click here to visit Myco Alliance's website

Tradd Cotter/Mushroom Mountain

Tradd Cotter is a microbiologist, professional mycologist, and organic gardener, who has been tissue culturing, collecting native fungi in the Southeast, and cultivating both commercially and experimentally for more than twenty-two years. In 1996 he founded Mushroom Mountain, which he owns and operates with his wife, Olga, to explore applications for mushrooms in various industries and currently maintains over 200 species of fungi for food production, mycoremediation of environmental pollutants, and natural alternatives to chemical pesticides. His primary interest is in low-tech and no-tech cultivation strategies so that anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world. 

Click here to see Tradd in National Geographic .

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Hector Eduardo Meza 
Insurgentes San Borja, DIF
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