It has always been Begawan’s objective to instil and cultivate entrepreneurial mindsets to students as early as possible. Thus, various programs at Begawan’s Learning Centre, such as mushroom farming and cricket raising, are organised to provide the students with hands-on entrepreneurial experiences and skills. Through these programs, Begawan hopes that the students can be agents of change that will break the cycle of poverty and open up numerous opportunities for future local employment.
Several weeks ago, six Eco Warriors established “Pondok Jamur Begawan”, a project that focuses on farming and the sale of white oyster mushrooms: a type of edible fungi that has been widely consumed by people around the world, particularly in China, Korea, and Japan. This popular mushroom, whose name comes from its oyster-shaped caps, is processed into a variety of tasty items such as mushroom nuggets, crispy mushroom snacks, and stir fry mushrooms. In nature, this type of mushroom grows on logs and standing dead trees in the world’s subtropical and temperate forest.
The six Begawan students, Rizka, Angga, Made, Saktu, Sangtu, and Teguh, have been working together to cultivate the oyster mushrooms in a Kumbung (a mushroom growing house) located next to the Learning Centre. They take care of 150 bag logs (oyster mushrooms’ planting media made from a mixture of sawdust, rice gran, and lime) that need a certain level of temperature and humidity to grow.
On a daily basis, they check the temperature and humidity of the Kumbung using a temperature and humidity metre, observe the growth of mycelium in the bag logs, and keep pests away from the bag logs. While doing so, they also work collaboratively to look for and gather every single bit of information they can find on mushroom farming including its planting media, sterilisation process, incubation process, inoculation process, growth steps and periods, challenges, and financial profits.
As a small business model, the students have also divided their roles in the business to include a director, secretary, treasurer, marketing staff, and farmers. Collectively, they will sell their mushrooms to potential buyers around the Payangan subdistrict. Good luck, Eco Warriors! (Ircham Maulana)