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Funding and Fungus

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By moboyle, on August 1, 2011

Yep, you read that right.  “Funding and Fungus.”  That was pretty much my week in a nutshell.

“Funding” refers to my trip to the UNC GrantSource Library with Chris, my boss, and Jeremy, a fellow intern.   Elizabeth Allen, the GrantSource Librarian, trained us on COS and Foundation Center, two grant databases that can help Green Plus find new funding opportunities.

I was really impressed with the user-friendliness of the databases—and with the results the searches turned up.  A split-second search turned up dozens of grants that piqued Chris’ interest, most of which Green Plus was actually eligible to apply for.

This is good news for Green Plus, but it’s good news for me too.  Chris said that if they can scrape some money together, they’d like to have me back in the spring to write a grant for them.  I’m taking both grantwriting electives this coming year, and on-the-job experience like this would really help me improve my skills.  (It’d look pretty good on my resume too).

“Fungus” refers to one of the neatest, most eco-friendly products that I’ve seen in a long time.  This week, amongst other things, I was researching and writing about green packaging.  My research turned up EcoCradle, a mushroom-based packing material that is completely biodegradable and uses 98% less energy than Styrofoam.  Ecovative, the company that created this product, says the following:

Picture of some mushrooms (c/o the Ecovative website,

“We actually grow EcoCradle™ using mycelium, a fungal network of threadlike cells. This mycelium grows around agricultural by-products like buckwheat husks, oat hulls, or cotton burrs to any shape we make.  In 5 – 7 days, in the dark, with no watering, and no petrochemical inputs, the mycelium envelops the by-products, binding them into a strong and beautiful packaging part. Inside every cubic inch of EcoCradle™, there’s a matrix of 8 miles of tiny mycelial fibers! At the end of the process, we treat EcoCradle™ with heat to stop the growth so there will never be any spores.”

How cool it that?  And I know what you’re thinking—and yes, I agree.  I too think it’s a little weird that I’m so stoked on mushroom foam.  But you have admit.  It’s pretty neat.  To learn more about it, click here.

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One Response to “Funding and Fungus”

  1. Amy Strecker

    Grantwriting is a great class, so I’m glad you’re taking it!

    The fungus packaging is pretty awesome too. I wonder how sucessful the company has been at convincing the public that it’s a good alternative (and not a gross one!)?

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