Mushrooms and Coffee?

Mushrooms are not something that come to mind when you’re making a dash for your morning coffee. But my local Peet’s has recently started stocking a grow-your-own-mushroom kit that uses their recycled coffee grounds. “Just add water, and presto! roughly 20 mushrooms appear and are ready to eat in a week.”,  says the New York Times. (Here’s a photo of what your mushroom colony could look like.) Might make for an interesting family project. I bet a lot of kids would think it’s pretty cool especially since you get to start harvesting your mushrooms so quickly. I find myself at once intrigued and a little creeped out by the idea of DIY mushrooms so I’m still thinking this one over. Have you tried it? We’d love to hear how it went!

To start your career as a mushroom farmer, just head over to your friendly neighborhood Peet’s (Whole Foods or Andronicos) You can also pick up a mushroom grow kit online, direct from BTTR Ventures, the entrepreneurial effort of two recent Cal grads with a passion for sustainable food. Each week, they reclaim 7,000 pounds of grounds for their mushroom farming projects. BTW: The nice folks at Peet’s are pretty cool about sharing their grounds for your other compost/gardening needs, too.

Happy colonizing!

Good Eats to Support School Gardens

Urban Artichoke! A view of Twin Peaks from the garden at Ida B. Wells High School.

Take a virtual tour of the Urban Sprouts garden at Ida B. Wells High School in San Francisco.

Urban Sprouts is an amazing organization that is impacting the lives of kids, families and neighborhoods in San Francisco through school gardens. The concept is simple – put unused spaces on school campuses to work as hands-on classrooms. Teachers bring lessons outdoors to the gardens on subjects ranging from science, math and writing. Students get the extra benefit of fresh air, physical activity and connecting to healthy food. The garden has a way of bringing people together. We, the two moms behind “A Little Yumminess”, actually met as a result of our involvement with Urban Sprouts.

Last Saturday Urban Sprouts hosted an inspiring event – “Greens, Eggs & Jam” at Ida B. Wells High School to raise funds for their programs. We enjoyed bluegrass music, a garden tour, a silent auction, and delicious bites courtesy of the talented chefs from Contigo, Radio Africa Kitchen and Nopa restaurants, as well as some of Urban Sprouts’ student chefs.  It was fabulous to see so many restaurateurs, local businesses and individuals come out to support Urban Sprouts’ important work.

It is one of those rare fundraisers where children are welcome.  Ria & Luca had a blast in the garden and were looking forward to the “garden party” all week.  Ria took it upon herself to give her little friends and their parents a tour of the garden as they arrived.  The high-schooler who was supposed to give the tours was relegated to smiling and standing in the middle of the garden as Ria did her job.  “Yeah, Ria has taken over my job.  I have nothing to do,” she remarked good-naturedly as people came by to see the garden.  Ria is totally into growing begetables (not so much eating them). She now wants to be a “garden teacher” when she grows up.  It used to be “Spiderman” – so in our world that is HUGE progress.

If you want to make an impact on healthy eating, education, sustainable food systems, and community-building — all in one fell swoop — we recommend seeking out the school gardening programs in your area. Perhaps it will inspire you enough to go home and start a container garden with your kids.