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Eclo's Fungus Factory: Turning Organic Waste into Mushroom Magic

In the hidden depths beneath the bustling streets of Brussels, an extraordinary tale of subterranean ingenuity unfolds. We had the privilege of venturing into this subterranean world, deep below the city's surface, to meet with Quentin Declerk, one of the visionary co-founders of Eclo. What we discovered was nothing short of remarkable—a thriving ecosystem of mushrooms and baby herbs, cultivated in a vast underground cellar spanning an unconventional 10,000 square meters.

Eclo, a name that has been making waves in Brussels, is a testament to the innovative spirit of urban agriculture. Beneath the heart of the city, they have harnessed the ideal conditions for nurturing six distinct varieties of edible mushrooms, producing a staggering six tonnes of these delicacies each month.

The story of Eclo is as much about culinary experimentation as it is about sustainability. Since its inception in 2016, the company has dedicated itself to developing mushroom substrates that eschew traditional grains, which typically constitute the base of these exotic fungal habitats. Instead, they ventured into unique partnerships with two of Brussels' organic breweries, Brasserie Cantillon and Brasserie de la Senne. But their most groundbreaking alliance emerged in 2021, as they joined forces with Colruyt Group and Bon Pain to transform organic bread waste into a diverse array of mushroom varieties, including black pearl, oyster, king oyster, nameko, shiitake, and maitake.

Eclo's commitment to the art of mushroom cultivation extends to their belief in the primacy of the substrate—the very foundation upon which their fungi flourish. This commitment was recently affirmed by a substantial investment of €4.7 million, aimed at establishing a state-of-the-art circular organic mushroom substrate factory. The audacious goal? To produce a staggering 7,000 tons of mushroom substrate annually from recycled organic waste by 2026.

Understanding the delicate nature of substrate production, Eclo is sparing no effort in ensuring the utmost precision and hygiene in their new factory. High-tech automation will take center stage in the most critical aspects of the process, minimizing human contact and, consequently, the risk of contamination. Additionally, the factory will be powered by 1,500 square meters of photovoltaic panels, a nod to their commitment to sustainability.

In the realm of job creation, Eclo is proving itself a beacon of growth. Their ambitious infrastructural expansion is poised to bring about an additional 20 jobs by 2026, supplementing the 12 individuals already employed in their Brussels operation.

Eclo's story is a testament to the transformative power of innovation, where the unlikeliest of places yield the most extraordinary results. Beneath Brussels lies not only a thriving ecosystem but a vision of sustainability, culinary delight, and economic growth. It's a narrative that resonates with the ethos of turning waste into gold, all with the magic touch of mushrooms.

For those eager to explore further, Eclo beckons with a digital presence:



For the latest in the world of fungal innovation and expertise, follow along with @mycostories. 🍄


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