Trang Tran (Vietnam)

Social enterprise Fargreen has been able to take two major world problems — poverty and pollution — and tackle them simultaneously with one solid business plan focused on using agricultural waste to produce mushrooms.

Inspired by the cradle-to-cradle approach, Fargreen has found a new life for rice straw waste. Currently, the most common method for rice straw waste disposal is burning, which not only leads to tons of pollution but also to health issues amongst the local community.

Fargreen’s closed loop system uses the wasted rice straw to grow mushrooms; the waste from producing mushroom will be recycled into bio-fertilizers, which can be used as nutrients during rice-season. Rice is harvested twice a year. By also growing mushrooms year round a farmer can add harvesting periods and increase his income by 50 per cent, essentially lifting him out of poverty.

Growing up Tran experienced the negative effects of rice straw burning first hand and was inspired to use Vietnam’s challenges as input for a sustainable business model. The geographical focus now is Vietnam and plans to scale the solution to other major rice producing countries like India, Philippines and Thailand.