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Le Café Des Spores grows Oyster and Shittake mushrooms using recycled coffee grounds. The practice significantly reduces waste and provides mushrooms for local consumption, reducing the need to transport the product and therefore reducing energy costs.
Le Café des Spores makes mushroom culture using recycled coffee grounds. Café owner Pauline Petit reuses coffee grounds in order to produce oyster and Shittake mushrooms and then selling those in short channels. She also makes production kits that she sells to individuals. The outlets are local and the resource is also collected locally. This allows to reduce the production circuit and to have fresh mushrooms. Coffee grounds are very rich in nutrients but poorly exploited. Pauline says, “after use, more than 98.8% of coffee grounds end up as waste”. Moreover, Pauline Petit heightens awareness among the local people, motivating them to grow mushrooms in their own home thanks to her production kits and to use coffee grounds as compost.
Le Café des Spores was created in 2013. When it began, Pauline and her companion were aiming at starting the project in Brazil but because of a lack of financing, they finally caught the opportunity to create Le Café des Spores. Now, several volunteers work with her on this project and she soon will hire somebody to help further develop the project.
Le Café des pores serves diverse aims: first of all, recycling a waste even though “you can’t really call coffee grounds a waste as it really is a resource since it has been used in the coffee industry, we’re reusing it to make mushrooms grow". Then, the Café allows Pauline to produce fresh mushrooms locally, which is more appetizing than importing them.
Finally, once coffee grounds have been used to produce those mushrooms, there still is a substrate than can be used as compost, whether mushrooms have been cultivated by an individual or not. Pauline therefore promotes responsible production and consumption with conforms with UN Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption.
The idea came to Pauline while she was reading Belgian industrialist and Ecologist Gunter Pauli’s book, The Blue Economy, in which he talks about innovations coming from nature observation to find performant systems. He explains that he has developed mushroom culture on vegetal waste including from coffee grounds from local producers in Colombia, Mozambique and then from consumers countries such as UK or Netherlands. His biggest motivation is to give sense and value to his work. Pauline’s project has led her to encounter and discuss with many different people and she attracts a lot of empathy and caring.
With its production of fresh Oyster and Shittake mushrooms, Le Café des Spores has had a real impact on the market of fresh mushrooms in Midi-Pyrénées because there are only a few local producers of fresh mushrooms who cultivate their mushrooms using straw, which is not as common a resource in the region as are coffee grounds. The demand in this region is very high. This project is recent as production started a few months ago. However, the project has received a good welcome from private individuals and also from professionals with whom Pauline Petit creates synergies. For example, she recovers waste from wood joineries thanks to a partnership with a local carpenter that she uses for the culture of mushrooms.
In the long term, this project can be easily duplicated elsewhere because this knowledge can be shared. It also can create one or two farm jobs. Pauline Petit intends to develop her project to provide people with special needs the opportunity to come to work on the culture of mushrooms. Her objective is to produce 20 kg of mushrooms a week while getting back 2 tons of mushrooms a month.
The profits of Le Café des Spores results from the sale of fresh mushrooms in short circuits: from the sale of kits of culture to private individuals, the implementation of workshops of sensitization and of culture of mushrooms.
Le Café des Spores has created a local process with social benefits for the community. Moreover, Le Café des Spores participstrs in the development of a circular economy. The production, at present, is localized in Organic Valley, which attracts volunteers interested in preserving the environment.
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Pauline Petit, Le Café des Spores