CHICAGO — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Venture Verde, a real estate, land and water management company focused on driving sustainability, announced it signed an agreement with the Chicago Mushroom Company (CMC), a leading urban organic gourmet mushroom farm, to open a controlled environment agriculture (CEA) facility in Chicago. The new urban farming facility will help drive new sustainability standards for indoor farming for the agriculture sector and is expected to open in the spring of 2019, according to a press release.
Venture Verde will provide CMC with proprietary and sustainable energy, water reclamation and water reuse technologies and land management solutions. At the facility, CMC will cultivate the finest specialty mushrooms, which will be distributed to wholesalers and customers locally and throughout the Midwest, according to the release. Venture Verde’s solutions will work to cut CMC’s transportation costs, streamline supply chains, improve operational efficiencies, reduce carbon footprints and broaden consumer and wholesale access to specialty mushrooms.
“Venture Verde’s proprietary technologies and land management services will help farmers and entrepreneurs like CMC cultivate crops indoors in a cost-effective and sustainable way, no matter where they are located,” said Mike Harshfield, president and COO of BLMG Holdings, who is piloting the project on behalf of Venture Verde. “We look forward to partnering with more agribusinesses on sustainable projects as we work to implement smart business solutions in the era of climate change.”
“We believe mushrooms are the food of the future,” said Christina Leung, co-owner of The Chicago Mushroom Company. “Our company believes each of us live and breathe the ethos that everyone should be able to access nutritious, delicious, and sustainable food. Right now, the cost of growing and transporting mushrooms is very high. They’re coming from far away places and not freshly available. We are revolutionizing sustainability, supply chains, and operational efficiency, in order to provide the best possible mushrooms for everyone to enjoy and eat healthier. We are excited to collaborate with a company as innovative and future forward as Venture Verde, who shares our vision in a cleaner, leaner, more sustainable agricultural standards that better our environment and truly serve the people in our community. Joining forces is the beginning of making this vision a reality.”
“I’ve known Ken Kritt, the founder of Chicago Mushroom Company, for years and was so excited when I found out he was going to start commercially growing mushrooms, not only because he’s a great guy, but because I knew the mushrooms would be fabulous due to his love and passion for what he does,” said Molly Schemper, owner of FIG Catering. “The reasons we love to support local producers are multiple, but the primary reason is to get fabulous product and the oyster and other mushrooms from The Chicago Mushroom Company are just that – gorgeous, delicious, and so fresh. We are also based in Chicago and are thrilled that CMC will be expanding their venture.”
Owner of HaiSous, acclaimed chef, and James Beard Award semifinalist Thai Dang said: “It is a delight to work with the Chicago Mushroom Company. Danielle and our team are passionate individuals, who are in constant pursuit to be the best. Ken mirrors our beliefs. He took his passion and knowledge and created a great company with a superior product right in the heart of Chicago. The quality of CMC’s products are unmatched and their partnership with Venture Verde will only make his entire operation that much better.”
“One of the great joys of being a chef is feeding people,” said local, organic, sustainable Chef Richard Samayoa of Nana. “Being able to do that in a manner that benefits the individual as well as the community is becoming a goal many of us are striving to achieve. The Chicago Mushroom Company provides our team at Nana the opportunity to do that with the amazing product they bring us just moments after harvesting. There is no doubt that their mushrooms are grown with very real intention and love and it shines through in the flavor and appearance. Local also translates to higher nutritional value, which means that we are helping our customers get the best available sustenance. We’re very happy about the relationship we have with The Chicago Mushroom Company and are looking forward to what the future brings us.”
The collaboration between Venture Verde and The Chicago Mushroom Company will aim to expand CMC’s operation to grow medicinal mushrooms furthering the company’s interests in health and wellness. Varieties like Lion’s Mane and Reishi are challenging to grow indoors, and local farms have yet to meet the demand in the U.S. Most medicinal mushrooms available in today are currently imported from Thailand and China.
A project of this kind contributes great value to its local community and positively affects neighborhoods, according to the release. According to Urban Vine and a recent study by Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, urban farming projects positively correlate to economic growth, increasing the value of surrounding real estate within a 1,000-foot radius. Published research also indicates correlation with socioeconomic diversity in the area around the farming projects. Research by Sustainable Seattle also showed that local spending can promote economic prosperity. In fact, every one dollar spent at a local farmers market can generate $2.80 for the economy of the community.