We started our van ride to Mindo today and stopped for a few hours at Ricardo’s organic mushroom farm. It’s a small-scale family farm that values sustainability. Basically, Ricardo and his family, along with another family that lives and works on the farm, use steam-pasteurized sawdust and inoculate it with the fungus that they want to grow, like oyster or shiitake mushrooms. They let the fungi grow in hot, dark rooms from the bags of sawdust, and then they can harvest the mushrooms when they are ready. Ricardo mostly sells the mushrooms to restaurants, but he also invites students and groups like us for tours to learn about organic farms, growing mushrooms, and permaculture.
Permaculture is basically organizing, alternating, and blending the plants and crops you grow so as to replenish the nutrients in the soil without the need for fertilizers, and without harming the land.

In the video are the mountains in front of the farm, permaculture gardens, two houses where the families live, and the dark greenhouses where the sawdust is pasteurized, inoculated, and where the mushrooms are able to grow.