Brussels 

A project conceived and produced by BNP Paribas

PermaFungi

Improvement of Urban Resilience

Project initiated in 2014 at Brussels

PermaFungi is a project of urban agriculture and circular economy that recycles coffee grounds into two valuable products: oyster mushrooms and compost. The cooperative was created in response to the industrialization of agriculture and the necessity to change our production and consumption habits

Each month, PermaFungi produces fresh, local and organic mushrooms. In order to maximize the impact, PermaFungi has developed the Fungi Pop : a box that enables people to recycle coffee and grow mushrooms at home. Last but not least, PermaFungi gives regular workshops that aim to sensibilize people to urban agriculture and circular economy.

‪PermaFungi mission is to help making our cities more resilient by upcycling agro-industrial waste, producing healthy and organic food, creating low-skilled jobs, promoting local economy and becoming independent of fossil energy sources.

The Fungi Pop: a box that enables people to recycle coffee and grow mushrooms at home

The Fungi Pop: a box that enables people to recycle coffee and grow mushrooms at home

Production of oyster mushrooms and compost

Production of oyster mushrooms and compost

Oyster mushrooms

Oyster mushrooms

PermaFungi : The team

PermaFungi : The team

« PermaFungi is a project of urban agriculture and circular economy that recycles coffee grounds into two valuable products : oyster mushrooms and compost. »

History of the project

PermaFungi was created in 2014 by 5 entrepreneurs with complementary skills.

The first year was a year of learnings based on experiments and exchanges with similar German, Dutch and American projects. During the second year, PermaFungi has moved to a basement of a historical building in the Brussels centre (Tour and Taxis). At the end of 2015, the production of oyster mushrooms reached 400 kg a month in a room of 200m2.  

Today, PermaFungi is transforming a room of 1.000 m2 in the same basement that offers ideal conditions for producing mushrooms. Other varieties of mushrooms are being developed and research is conducted to improve the upcycling process. The company counts 7 employees and the breakeven point is close.  

3,5 tons
fresh, local and organic mushrooms
15 tons
recycled coffee ground
22
workshops, in 2015, to sensibilize people to urban agriculture and circular economy
« Today, other varieties of mushrooms are being developed and research is conducted to improve the upcycling process. »

Interview with Julien Jacquet, managing director

Your company is social driven, and you started to work in a participative way, what does it change concretely for employees?

PermaFungi is a cooperative with a mission of socio-professional integration. The mission of socio-professional integration means that we hire low skilled people and we teach them our production techniques. The different profiles within the team PermaFungi afford a particularly complementary team. In the cooperative, the « one-man one-vote » principle is the rule and participatory management is put in place.

You activity is part of a broader movement of urban farming, what is the impact of the movement in the traditional food chain production?

The industrialisation of agriculture has shown limits and undesirable effects. When traditional farming has still a major role to play, a new balance has to be found. In the future, the agriculture will involve smaller and decentralized farms. Cities that gather more and more consumers have the opportunity to generate part of food production by urban farming. This will bring the producer and the consumer closer and, as a consequence, will avoid unnecessary transportation, will decrease intermediairies and finally will give more transparency about products’ quality and traceability.

What are your plan for the future ?

PermaFungi objective is to develop a decentralized network of sustainable urban mushrooms factories.

« PermaFungi is a cooperative with a mission of socio-professional integration. »

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