“The goal of this facility is really to bring people in and teach them about mushrooms"

Four Star Mushroom (FSM), a Chicago-based mushroom company, is using controlled environment agriculture to decentralize food systems in urban areas. After its first three years of operation, the company is undergoing a major expansion and hopes its new facility will help connect even more people to nutrient-dense, locally-grown mushrooms.

Joe Weber launched FSM in 2019 to address the growing environmental concerns associated with traditional agriculture. Weber envisions future food systems that integrate technology and production methods to prevent further ecological collapse. In addition to their environmental benefits, mushrooms boast broad culinary applications. Now, FSM is responsible for supplying gourmet mushrooms to over half of the city’s Michelin Star restaurants across Chicago, including the famed Alinea.

“The goal of this facility is really to bring people in and teach them about mushrooms, the controlled environment agriculture (CEA) process, and how their local food system can work for them,” Weber says. With CEA, producers can vertically stack mushroom blocks, allowing them to be more space-efficient. The upgraded high-yielding facility, still under development, will be between 3,048 and 4,572 square meters and will be capable of producing 900 to 4,500 kilograms of high-quality mushrooms per week. Their current facility is just 550 square meters.

“People are starting to become more conscious about the role fungi can play in our society to help us with issues surrounding climate change, sustainability, toxic waste buildup, mental health, agriculture, and more,” Justin Hyunjae Chung, an agriculture technologist specializing in specialty mushroom cultivation, says.

Read more at foodtank.com

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