Design Engineering
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Achieving Sustainable Food Security with Urban Agriculture of Mushrooms: An Engineering and Entrepreneurial Approach

Student
Ric Zhang
Course
Design Engineering MEng
Supervisor
Dr Pelin Demirel
Theme
Rethinking Resources for a Finite Planet

A combination of social and environmental factors such as population growth, climate change, and urban migration have created the “perfect storm” to threaten the accessibility of food in the near future. There is a clear need to develop food production techniques that are capable of sustainably producing nutritious food in the face of these factors, in order to guarantee long-term food security. This project addresses future food security by adapting developed vertical farming technology and business practices to produce food both profitably and sustainably.

 — Achieving Sustainable Food Security with Urban Agriculture of Mushrooms: An Engineering and Entrepreneurial Approach
Macro shot of mushrooms being grown.
 — Achieving Sustainable Food Security with Urban Agriculture of Mushrooms: An Engineering and Entrepreneurial Approach

The result of this project is Mycobiont, a small London-based company that produces high quality oyster mushrooms for the hospitality and retail industry from waste coffee grounds. Technical design of an automated growing rig enables workers to produce a higher yield of produce without the expertise and experience currently required in the mushroom farming industry. Establishing key business operations and capitalising on the saprotrophic nature of oyster mushrooms, allows this food to be produced sustainably and profitably.

 — Achieving Sustainable Food Security with Urban Agriculture of Mushrooms: An Engineering and Entrepreneurial Approach
Business model.

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