Meet my new clever mate, Julian Mitchell. He, along with his equally clever mates, Ryan Creed and Nick Outhwaite who are based in Freemantle, WA, are revolutionising coffee waste in Australia through their business, Life Cykel. I don’t know about you mate, but I love a good cup of coffee. Do you ever stop to think about the coffee waste that ends up in landfill, though? Not only that, but coffee grounds have 20 times the global warming impact of CO2!? Crikey, mate! So, what are they doing about it? Well, they’re collecting waste coffee grounds from local cafe’s and turning it into delicious, gourmet oyster mushrooms for consumers and high-end restaurants. What I really love about what they’re doing, besides the fact they’re doing a beaut job at recycling, is that they’re making growing mushies equally accessible to kids through their school fundraising initiatives. Sick of seeing chocolate fundraisers at your school? Well, look no further than ripper mushies through Life Cykel!
WHAT DO YOU FARM / OR / WHAT DOES YOUR BUSINESS DO?
We divert coffee ground from landfill and instead use it to grow gourmet delicious oyster mushrooms.
WHO FARMS WITH YOU / WHO DO YOU DO THIS WITH?
Our team seems to be constantly growing but it includes my 2 co-founders an older experienced farmer named Nick Outhwaite and a friend named Ryan Creed. We also have a microbiologist and biotechnologist who are focused on helping us grow the best mushrooms.
WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA TO START THE BUSINESS?
Ryan and I were both interested and concerned with the future of food. A lot of processed items on shelves, the lack of transparency, too many chemicals and preservatives were all alarm bells. So we looked at different models and realised mushrooms are really the way to feed the future. Mushrooms tick all the boxes in particularly oyster mushrooms they are full of iron, B6 and B12 which is why they are called the vegetarian steak. They are grown from waste such as coffee ground and they require minimal water and land use with zero use of chemicals.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Two things, firstly, the reaction from people as they watch the mushrooms grow in front of their eyes from the home grown kit. They grow really quick! Secondly, seeing people eat home-grown oyster mushrooms for the first time. The look on their face is always of surprise — how can they taste so good? The secret is simple butter, garlic and mushrooms on toast.
WHERE DO YOU SELL YOUR PRODUCE / WHERE DOES YOUR MAIN MARKET COME FROM AT PRESENT?
We sell our home grown kits online and in some health stores to a large audience from families with young kids, apartment dwellers, green thumbs, as presents and gifts, school fundraiser programs, foodies and those passionate about the environment and sustainability.
For our fresh mushrooms, we sell to high tier restaurants and wineries.
WHAT IS HAPPENING ON YOUR FARM AT THE MOMENT / WHAT IS HAPPENING WITH THE BUSINESS AT THE MOMENT?
At the moment, we are focusing on increasing production of our home-grown kits as they are extremely popular and at the same time creating new kits growing different mushrooms including medicinal varieties.
IF YOU COULD TELL A KIDDIE ONE UNIQUE THING ABOUT MUSHIES, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
The real fun guys and fun gals spend their time working with fungi . On a serious note though, fungi are nature’s best-kept secret — and the most exciting. Watch this space!
**Life Cykel were recently featured on ABC Landline. Click here to watch the 10 minute clip.