URBAN OYSTER from the Ground Up


Coffee is one of the largest globally traded commodities, yet only 1% of the plant biomass ends up in the cup after the final brewing process. With today's dwindling resources and increasingly complex food system it's important to minimise the waste of nutrients. The bulk of coffee waste ends up in landfill, where it often breaks down to produce harmful methane gases. Thousands of kilos of coffee grounds are thrown away every week in Ireland and, unbeknownst to many, these grounds make a fantastic substrate for growing mushrooms.

Coffee grounds are perfect for growing oyster mushrooms, because they are full of essential minerals and necessary elements for healthy, gourmet mushrooms to thrive on. After the two or three harvests the grounds are spent as a medium for mushrooms, but becomes a nutrient-rich soil enhancer for a garden and a livestock feed.

URBAN OYSTER is tackling three problems by reducing waste, food miles and Ireland’s carbon footprint. It also operates as a social enterprise which adds benefit to the community by recruiting local people to carry out training programs, assembling grow-at-home kits, running educational workshops and events, thus creating a location for further food enterprise. Together it forms an innovative venture that brings benefits economically, environmentally and socially.


Andrew Douglas is the creator of URBANFARM, an agricultural start-up based in Dublin, Ireland. Andrew and his team initiate urban agriculture projects within the city by first promoting the re-use of the city’s waste stream materials, or more technically collaborative projects. The projects use the latest technologies in LED lighting and micro-processors to create controlled environments for aquaponic and hydroponic food systems, helping to create an efficient city that can grow its own fresh, local produce.

The Open Ag Lab presents some of the cutting edge research being field tested on farms and is a space for visitors to get their hands dirty through learning.