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The Costs of Being Minga

Many of you probably received Minga's recent email about our upcoming Grow Your Own Gourmet Mushrooms at Home workshop (if you didn't, check out the workshop, it's fabulous!).  We received a response to that email that brought up a lot of stuff for us, including reflection on the value of what Minga does, the value of our time, and how it can be challenging to step up and stand for our right to make money in this business.

We wanted to share this experience with you, our community. Below is the email that we received (with name removed to respect privacy, of course), and our response.

Feedback received

"I would just like to comment that your workshops always look very interesting and I would very much like to participate.  However the $100+ registration fee seems way over the top in most cases.  Especially for a 2 hour "grow your own mushrooms" workshop! (I would think a $25 or $30 fee would be fair for this one)

It's very disappointing to see something that I'd really enjoy participating in and then seeing the inflated cost, so I'm unsubscribing from this newsletter."

Minga's response

Thank you very much for sharing that you'd very much like to participate in Minga's workshops. Also, thank you for sharing that you feel the costs are too high.  Let me explain. Minga is a small, local business. We are not a non-profit meaning we do not have access to many external funding options. We pay all our instructors a livable wage. We do this because we value them and the skill that they’ve spent years acquiring. We also require a high caliber workshop from our instructors and it takes them a lot of time to organize. Furthermore, our workshops are hands on with a very small class size.  Additionally, we must pay to rent space to host the workshop. We have to pay for all the equipment and materials required for the workshop. Also, we have to pay for $2 million dollar liability insurance. The unfortunate part is that Ella and I (The Minga Team) almost never have the opportunity to pay ourselves with whats left over at the end of the workshop.  

You mentioned the mushroom workshop is an inflated cost.  I’d like to help you understand the value of the workshop. We are providing the opportunity to learn a new skill. It’s not just the product you’re taking home with you from the workshop; you’re taking home a lifetime of mushrooms. Right now oyster mushrooms costs roughly $6 lb.   In this workshop, Danielle (the instructor) will teach you how to build a unit that will allow you to grow about 8 lbs of mushrooms in one growth.  You can use the same mushroom growing unit and medium (the stuff mushrooms grow in) to grow about 2 or 3 more rounds of mushrooms.  On top of that, you’ve just learned the new skill so you can grow mushrooms for the rest of your life, using the same equipment but just updating the medium that you’re growing your mushrooms in. If you were to purchase this many mushrooms at the Guelph market or the grocery store, it would cost you roughly $144.  $100 workshop actually is an amazing value.  Plus, Danielle is going to get paid a fair wage and myself and Ella will be able to pay ourselves and cover all of Minga’s external expenses.  I feel great about that.  I hope this gives you a better understanding of why we charge what we do.  I’d love for you to be able to take this workshop.  

I understand that not everyone has $100 to spend on learning about mushroom growing.  Would you consider a barter?  We need people to help host future workshops as Ella and I cannot be at all workshops.  Perhaps you can take this workshop for no cost and then you could be the Minga host at a future workshop in exchange? 


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