Storefront Mushroom Farm

A CityLab7 + OKA Pop-up

An anonymous benefactor awarded a series of grants to CityLab7 (co-founded by Stephen Antupit), asking the group to create food-based projects that connect people to the issue of climate change. The caveat? Find ways to “do things about carbon without talking about carbon”. Fertile Grounds was the third (and final) project funded.

CityLab7 and Olson Kundig Architects collaborated on the design of Fertile Grounds— an urban storefront pop-up that introduced the idea of diverting food waste to high-value crop production. The idea of growing mushrooms in coffee grounds to illustrate the concept was brought to life by Cascadia Mushrooms. With nearby coffee shops donating the grounds, Cascadia grew the crop in an OKA custom-designed shelter. The result? Six-weeks of multi-sensory experiences, events and shared meals that brought together neighbors, student volunteers, businesses, and dozens of local partners.

Notable among the successes of the project, the collective team hosted a range of targeted public events. Stephen provided creative concepts, collaborated with partners to secure presenters, host events, and provided staff and logistical support. A Pioneer Square First Thursday opening included our “Meet the Farmer” event, attended by 200+ guests. Stephen secured student volunteer docents through Antioch University Seattle for the daily Community Lunchroom, who greatly aided the daily hosting requirements. A social media campaign connected the visceral experience of daily cafe purchases with a virtual farm-support community. Its loyalty purchasing “competition” used a simple Twitter platform, and featured “Golden Ticket” prizes to the Mushroom Farm’s Harvest Supper + Salon.

Separately, a series of Invitation-only events included a moderated panel discussion and luncheon, “Beyond the Yum.” The Harvest Supper + Salon featured a talk from renowned ethnobotanist, foodways author, collaborator and MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Gary Nabhan. A “Huddle” event used Zealyst’s proprietary social networking software platform. The Writer’s Potluck gathered Jack Straw writers group for dinner.

In all, extensive media outlets spanned international + national, print + online channels. Notable coverage includes:

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