Last year, Monika Chowdhry barely broke even the investments in her mushroom farm. A diligent money-manager, she knew that without strictness, she would have incurred losses in the first year of her business. But every new venture goes through the initial slow cycles. Same was the case with this Delhi entrepreneur.
Today, in her second year of business, Monika managed to turn the tables around. Far from standing at the brink of losses, she now earns an average of Rs 1 lakh every month!
And now, Monika wants to share her experiences with you and guide you on how to start a mushroom farm. Click on this link to join her Delhi workshop.
She left a 15-year career to start a mushroom farm:
Monika worked as a digital marketing professional for government institutions for more than 15 years. We are all familiar with the conflict of career Vs passion. Monika was no different. Even as she designed campaigns for various government organisations, she knew her heart was in addressing healthcare issues.
Speaking with The Better India, she says, “I ran a blog about common health issues and was just generally interested in the field of diet and lifestyle. When I decided to quit my career, I was sure of two things – one, that I will pursue my passion and second, I won’t create another online platform for it. I had to do something of my own and on the field.”
Testing her fate in traditional farming, Monika knew that she will need a large investment in Delhi and even then, the results would not be guaranteed.
A chance suggestion by her husband’s friend about a training course at the Directorate of Mushroom Research (DMR) got her interested in farming.
“Mushrooms are a great source of protein, fibre and minerals. Today, most of us follow a junk diet which does not guarantee the necessary nutrients. Having mushrooms regularly is a short-cut to such minerals. This got me interested in setting up a commercial mushroom farm,” Monika shares.
You too can hitch a ride on the bandwagon and start cultivating mushrooms on a domestic or commercial scale. Follow this link to book your slot in the workshop.
A little hiccup before the mushroom farm flourished:
After undergoing the training at DMR, Monika started setting up her farm in June 2018. She set up everything in a month, yet the battle was just half-won.
“I was in touch with several people who had mushroom farms but whenever I asked for doubts like how to get rid of pests or to fertilise the farm, I was suggested the use of chemicals. I didn’t want to do that because what’s the point of getting in the field of healthcare if I still used chemicals?” she shares.
Despite the availability of online videos, books and well-intentioned recommendations, no one could give a guaranteed answer to her queries about nurturing a farm without chemicals.
“The only option I had was to discard bad batches of mushrooms. That meant another cost for me. But I was adamant about growing organic mushrooms. It was a learning curve for me and for the next 3-4 months, I kept throwing away bad batches, learning lessons and acting on them. September 2018 is when I finally got on the right track,” she shares.
In the first month, Monika harvested about 20-25 kg of mushrooms. Today, she harvests an average of 45 kg every week!
Want to learn from someone who’s been there, done that? Join Monika in her weekend workshop by clicking on this link.
What to expect in the workshop:
The mushroom farmer is more than happy to share her lessons and guide you in cultivating edible mushrooms. She has already trained a wide spectrum of enthusiasts — from rural Chhattisgarh women who are home-bound but want to make the most of their time to independent working women in South Delhi who want to ensure their family gets the best food at home.
“It was a tough time for me to learn how to grow mushrooms organically and I would love for more people to take it up. We’ll discuss the investment, the learning curves, the challenges and any other doubts that you may have about farming on a domestic or a commercial scale. This workshop will cover the cultivation of oyster mushrooms which are relatively easy to grow. I’ll share how I learned to manage my costs with recycling, composting and reuse. You can take the tips and start your farm ahead of the curve!” says Monika.
Excited to grow this wonder food? Click here to book your slot now!
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)