Food & Drink

VIDEO: MM meet the fun-gi behind Manchester food festival’s mushroom box

A futuristic-looking box has appeared in Manchester’s Albert Square which offers up some real food for thought.

The biospheric mushroom farm has sprouted up near the Town Halll as a main exhibit at this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival.

The farm, which cultivates shitake mushrooms in an atmospherically controlled container, is the creation of the Biospheric Foundation, which develops the technology for ecological infrastructures in cities, and is based in Salford.

The shipping container on display at the Festival is an attempt to demonstrate the viability of urban agriculture.

It shows how foods such as mushrooms can be grown in urban environments, cutting down on carbon footprint by localising food supplies to cities.

While founder and Chief Executive Vincent Walsh admits that the project is a long way off contending with the might of supermarkets as a main means of food supply, he explained the value of the project in providing solutions to the issues of sustainable urban living.

“It’s not like were saying we’re taking over supermarkets, not by any means, they are a major source of our food supply,” he told MM.

“But at the same time we can still think more complexly about the systems of the food we can produce, and hyper-localising food production in systems like these is a way of diversifying our food supply in urban environments.

“We are trying to position Manchester as the first biospheric city, so that we’re not just the first industrial city, but the first biological biospheric city.

“Manchester is leading the way in sustainability, resilience and adaptability in reference to urban farming.”

The foundation is currently in negotiatation to supply high end local restaurants with its produce in the near future, and for the time being mushrooms grown inside the farm are available at the Foundation’s Festival stall.

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