Ryan Franke - Vision, Cultivation, Permaculture

Hey, I'm Ryan! 

I first became interested in growing food while working at an after school program in Duluth. Even though I developed meaningful relationships with many of the youth, I was frustrated and puzzled by the reality that many of our elementary aged kids stayed at the center Monday through Friday 2pm till 8pm close. I realized I was not an adequate substitute for their parents.

While listening to mom's, dad's, uncle's and aunt's stories and learning about the stresses of their back-to-back and often low wage jobs, I thought, "There has to be a better way". What if parents had the resources and skills to grow food on their neighborhood block, feeding their families from the abundance and selling the rest to market. Perhaps then, their kids could come home after school.

Since then, I've been seeking teachings from gracious and wise farmers about the art of growing food, and honing my own skills in the art -specifically, mushrooms. My initial motivation, however, still lights the fire inside to keep walking this path. Knitting families, neighborhoods, and broader communities closer together through the art of local food. 


Torin Dougherty - Product, Strategy, Design

Hi, I'm Torin! I'm an SAP consultant by day, mushroom enthusiast by night, and crypto hobbyist for all hours (and minutes) in between. When I'm not querying tables, I enjoy fly fishing, reading historical novels, or managing my small cryptocurrency fund. 

I'm passionate about mushrooms because I think they're the perfect crop for introducing urban agriculture to the mainstream. Fungi require minimal inputs, scale quickly, and are incredibly easy to maintain. Plus, there's no need for soil, let alone sunlight.

To me, urban agriculture is all about meeting people halfway; working with the resources people have in a setting they're already comfortable with. By lowering the traditional inputs for farming (land, capital, time) Backyard Fungi is perfectly positioned to bring a new wave of farmers to the forefront.