Sustainable Mushroom Growing
Here at South Mill Champs, we care about taking care of the same Earth that allows us to make our living. Mushroom farmers are often referred to as the ultimate recyclers, known for their ability to create waste from other agricultural sectors into a growing medium for their crops. At South Mill Champs, we believe that mushroom growing brings out the best in both science and recycling practices. We pride ourselves on growing one of the most sustainable foods in the United States, all while providing the great flavor and nutrition you come to expect from fresh mushrooms.
Mushroom farms have a much smaller carbon footprint than their meat or vegetable counterparts. When you purchase a brown or white button mushroom from the store, you can rest assured that you are purchasing an ethically and efficiently sourced food; using cutting edge production and smart management practices, it now takes fewer than 2 gallons of water to produce one pound of nutritious button mushrooms. Compare that to the 50 gallons per pound it can cost to produce some other fruits and vegetables, and you will see why mushrooms are a sustainable choice.
Aside from water conservation, mushroom growing also doesn’t require much energy –only about 1 kilowatt hour per pound. For reference, that is about the same amount of energy a person uses to make their morning pot of coffee and keep it warm for one hour.
Mushroom sustainability extends beyond water and electricity – mushroom farming is also a relatively low producer of CO2 emissions. Producing one pound of mushrooms will only generate 0.7 pound of CO2 equivalent. BY contrast, burning a gallon of gas emits a whopping 20 pounds of CO2.
Mushroom farms operate all across the country and don’t require a lot of land. In fact, one square foot of mushroom bed is capable of producing 6.5 pounds of mushrooms, and a one-acre plot can produce up to a million pounds! During the 2017-208 growing season, mushroom farmers produced 917 million pounds of mushrooms – enough to circle the globe almost 20 times.
Compared to virtually every other crop grown in the United States, mushroom production is one the most sustainable farming methods available, with a small carbon footprint. Mushroom farmers are more than just recyclers – we are purveyors of sustainable foods that are nutritious and beloved by plant-based eaters and omnivores alike.
How Our Mushrooms Are Responsibly Grown
Start with a Healthy Base
A healthy growing environment is essential for ensuring the nutrition, taste, and heartiness of the mushroom crop. At South Mill, we prepare our base growing mediums indoors using byproducts from other agricultural sectors. This is not only efficient, it is environmentally-friendly, contributes to sustainable growing, and ensures each mushroom contains peak nutrition and flavor.
Support a Responsible Growing Environment
At South Mill Champs, we are committed to conserving energy, reducing air pollution, and making our mushroom farming as sustainable as possible. That is why we grow our crops entirely indoors. Our growing rooms use clean and energy-efficient gas and contain energy-conscious cooling units. Mushrooms are a naturally hardy crop, so we can grow one pound of mushrooms using just one kilowatt hour of electricity.
We all know the importance of recycling and trying to keep waste out of landfills where it can produce CO2. Sustainable farming practices can lead to cleaner air, water, and land, which makes for a better earth for us all. At South Mill Champs, we strive to be stewards of that mission. We are able to recycle the majority of our waste products, which include mushroom rooms, cardboard and paper, wastewater, waste oils, and more. We reuse 100% of our growing medium by giving it to farmers who replenish their land. This significantly reduces the need for chemical fertilization.
Support Our Nation’s Farmworkers
We are committed to producing a great product while giving our nation’s farmers a rewarding living. Safe farming practices, fair treatment of employees, generous compensation, and mutual respect are at the top of our list of priorities. We are industry leaders in food and worker safety. We demonstrate our commitment to quality and safety by participating in both internal and third-
party audits throughout the year. This helps ensure that our workers are treated fairly and our mushrooms meet the strictest standards for quality.
Conserve Water and Protect Resources
Plentiful access to clean water is the most important aspect of both agricultural and human health. We are committed to minimizing our use of water through the employment of conservation methods. For example, we reuse our wastewater whenever possible, saving millions of gallons of water each year. This helps reduce the impact of farming on groundwater levels and benefits the environment by promoting sustainability. Compared to other agricultural methods, mushroom farming is one of the least water-consuming crops in the world.
Manage Pests Responsibly
In line with emerging best practices and shifts in consumer interest, we at South Mill Champs use organic growing methods over conventional methods whenever possible. Our commitment to responsible growing includes minimizing the use of pesticides and protecting the health of our workers, environment, consumers, and wildlife. When we must control pests with conventional methods, we use a targeted approach. We use sustainable and responsible growing practices through every aspect of mushroom farming.