While Fertile Grounds readies for [storefront] Pop-up, Bettr Ventures shows its stuff

We've had major activity this week laying exciting groundwork for Fertile Grounds Pop-Up collaboration with OKA on [storefront] Mushroom Farm. Our gourmet mushroom farmer Alex Winstead from Cascadia Mushrooms consulted with Olsen Kundig Architects Alan Maskin, Michael Picard, and Kirsten Murray and general contractor partner Schuchart/Dow on the grow room as well concepts for interpretive elements and furnishings for walk-in [storefront] visitors and intentional guests alike. Then over 40 gallons of ultra-locally sourced coffee grounds from Caffe UmbriaZeitgeist Coffee, and the 400 Occidental South Starbucks moved to Cascadia's facilities, in preparation for next week's bagging and inoculation event. 

Perhaps a portend of accelerated serendipity, this week has also seen much wider coverage of the grow-at-home mushroom kits sold by Bettr Ventures'. Over the past few years, Bettr Ventures has really scaled up as a mature consumer product that is sourced and distributed nationally from Oakland. Yes, both our endeavors involve spent coffee grounds in growing gourmet mushrooms.  And certainly Bettr Ventures is a growing local employer for West Oakland, and getting a second use from coffee grounds diverted from California landfills. Yet the two undertakings couldn't be any more different.  Fertile Grounds is fundamentally a local food utility experiment, one that is exploring the possibilities of a whole new industrial ecology and a web of social connections around food choices and local food systems beyond collaborative consumption that include loyalty incentives with participating neighborhood cafes, shared meals and curated events at [storefront]. 

We Labcoats are so fortunate to be able to invest our limited grant resources at OKA [storefront] and its mission to support exactly this kind of investigation with its own resources and creativity. And we've connected with a gourmet food producer who not only has the expertise, curiosity and playfulness to explore with us, he is also thinking how this Pop-Up might help grow his business in a larger market.  Together we are testing more than points of social, economic and ecological connection and leverage to one of people's most social daily food choices --coffee. We are all about being accessible to a variety of publics, being engaged, and curating conviviality.