Living among mushrooms

Ecovative Design
United States (Green Island)

Can mushrooms be the platform we build the future on? We’ve used mushrooms as food for thousands of years – but what if we looked at this organism, not as only a food source, but as a material? Tired of the amount of plastic piling up around the planet as well as the treatment of farm animals, Eben Bayer began growing mycelium in Central Vermont – an idea that led to the foundation of Ecovative Design. This startup takes mycelium (the root structure of mushrooms) to create incredible, 100% compostable alternatives to plastics, leather, styrofoam packaging, meat and more. Rather than being reliant on petroleum, these products use local feedstock from crop waste such as seed husks and woody biomass (which means the material can be grown anywhere and is 100% compostable).

Ecovative has currently developed three platforms around it: MycoFlex in which, as the name suggests, flexible mycelium provides sustainable alternatives to everything from plastics to leather; MycoComposite in which the mycelium serves as biodegradable packing material, and Atlast Food Co in which the structure of mycelium serves as “edible scaffolding” for meat replacement. Starting with their bacon product (expected to launch within the next year), Atlast has managed to create the taste and texture of meat with mycelium, introducing the world’s first whole-cut, plant-based meat —and using a fraction of the water and land required to raise its pork counterpart.

Ecovative is the company that first introduced this mycelium technology in 2006, when there were no mycelium products or mycelium materials. They created this entire new branch of science back then. Now, with more than 40 patents in 31 countries, most mycelium composites and materials are actually made under license from Ecovative.

Written by

Oscar Marin (17 August 2020)


    Journalist and blogger, he has worked as an editor for several travel, nature and science magazines for the last 20 years.

    Project leader

    Eben Bayer and Gavin McIntyre, co-founders

    Gavin McIntyre and Eben Bayer, co-founders of Ecovative

    Creative Commons License



    Take me somewhere
    Take me somewhere
    Data Protection Act: LOPD.
    In compliance with Organic Law 15/1999, of 13 of December, on Personal Data Protection, and the development of Rules of Procedure, approved by Royal Decree 1720/2007, of 21 of December, Atlas of the Future subscribers may be required to provide Personal Data, which will be included in a file owned by Democratising The Future Society SL. Such file is duly incorporated in the Spanish Data Protection Agency and protected in compliance with the security measures established in the applicable legislation.Subscribers may exercise, at any time, their rights of access, rectification, cancellation and/or opposition regarding their Personal Data. The subscriber shall notice their will, either under written form addressed to Democratising The Future Society SL, Ref. LOPD, Calabria, 10 6-3 08015 - Barcelona (Spain) and/or by e-mail, clicking here. Also, the subscriber shall communicate Atlas of the Future any modifications of their Personal Data stored, so that the information stored by Atlas of the Future remains at all times updated and error-free.
    Sign up for our weekly newsletter