Gourmet Mushrooms

The Mycology Project specializes in the cultivation of edible and medicinal mushrooms. Mycology integrates permaculture and sustainability, converting organic waste directly into edible biomass. This station aims to highlight fungi as a cornerstone of agricultural and fiscal sustainability.





Fun facts


  • This project was spawned (pun intended) from RUF’s highly successful compost collection program. (There will be a compost sign somewhere)

  • Over 50% of campus food waste is coffee grounds and tea leaves. Our fungi are grown from these discarded coffee grounds, preventing their disposal into landfills.

  • We collect food waste from campus cafes including Art of Espresso, Starbucks, and Tapioca Express.

  • Oyster mushrooms are the most commonly grown mushroom at RUF due to their ease and adaptability to various growth substrates.

  • Growing Reishi and agaricus mushrooms will increase the types of waste streams that can be converted to edible biomass furthering RUF’s zero-waste mission.




Info from the student researcher/founder/head of the project

photo of the student

Student Research Tour Component,

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read about the Mycology Project at RUF and I hope this work can inspire you learn more about mushroom growing and fungi in general.
The Mycology project was spawned (pun intended) out of RUF's highly successful compost collection program. Despite difficulties in getting consistent truck access, RUF students borrowed vehicles from both SIO and University Centers in order to pickup compost, leading SIO to cancel their contract with their current organic waste hauler and creating the pathway for the Mycology Project to be born.
Over 50% of campus food waste is coffee grounds and tea leaves which are mainly collected from restaurants and cafes such as Art of Espresso, Starbucks, and Tapioca Express. Here at RUF we take those discarded coffee grounds and give them a new purpose as the substrate for our fungi.Coffee grounds are an attractive substrate for mushroom cultivation due to their nutritional content and abundance. However that nutritional content also makes them more susceptible to contamination by molds and bacteria.
Since this project’s founding, the team at Roger’s has been researching the best methods to utilize this nutrient gold mine while minimizing the risk of contamination and producing the highest amount of fungi yield. We have received over $15,000 of scholarships to help fund this mushroom research and also collaborated with the UC GFI fellowship program during the 2019-20 academic school year to further this project.
Currently, we have teamed up with students in the ESYS department to expand this project. They aim to be able to provide edible mushrooms to students and campus restaurants. In the future, I hope to eventually create a mushroom growing company that integrates both fiscal and environmental sustainability.
Sincerely, Will Tanaka

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Next Gen gardening Component,

Fungi are a critical link in permaculture and sustainable agriculture because of their ability to convert organic waste biomass directly to food biomass. Using coffee grounds as a substrate gives a second life to byproduct that would otherwise go directly into the landfill, but its use doesn’t stop there.
Spent mushroom substrate rich in enzymes and proteins can be used as mulch, animal fodder and more. It can also be used to grow other species of mushrooms that utilize other components of the substrate. For example, spent substrate from oyster mushrooms can be turned into compost for growing agaricus type mushrooms. This allows the maximum amount of nutrients to be extracted from waste.
Through this process, we literally take one man’s trash and turn it into treasure. The mushrooms grown generate monetary value to what would have just been waste. Therefore, edible mushroom cultivation is not only environmentally sustainable but also fiscally sustainable.



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