Manchester, United Kingdom

While the pandemic presented many challenges, some positive outcomes were the heightened interest in health, vegetable cultivation, and, as the Polyspore crew demonstrates, a growing taste for gourmet mushrooms. As their business expanded into an exotic beetle farm, their story exemplifies the emerging green economy and unexpected job opportunities.

Mike and Dylan lost their jobs the same day during the lockdown. Encouraged by friendly chefs at a local restaurant, they envisioned growing gourmet mushrooms. The demand for mushrooms increased steadily, and Polyspore soon supplied perfectly grown fruiting bodies to Manchester’s finest restaurants. They cultivated popular and delicious varieties such as colourful Oyster mushrooms, Lion’s Mane, Freckled Chestnut, and more, always adapting to the seasons.

Innovative farm model that employs circular economy

Frass from the insects used in the substrate for the mushrooms.

An exciting twist in their story occurred when Dale joined the team, initially seeking assistance with his beetle breeding project. Beetles love spent mushroom substrate – a ‘new’ waste product from production. Rhino and Stag beetles consume the substrate as a food source and produce nutritious frass, supplying additional minerals in a plant-ready form.

Polyspore exemplifies the circular economy model

Rhino and Stag beetles consume the substrate as a food source and produce nutritious frass.

At the team’s heart lies their passion for cultivation and the excitement of what can be achieved through 100% resource utilisation and an innovative farming model.

Polyspore operates as a cycle-based business, delivering all its mushrooms on cargo delivery bikes. 

Polyspore’s business model proves that in times of economic hardship, it’s possible to rethink the current systems and adapt to something new. As mushrooms and their benefits dominate the gourmet and medicinal markets, we all better get our hands on some Lion’s Mane to keep up with the necessary brain growth!

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Vegetable grower, natural beekeeper and edible spaces designer. Lover of all soil and urban farming techniques. Former head of growing at Incredible Aquagarden.