Meet the Makers: Ecovative

Ecovative is a home-grown company that has made it big.  The Ecovative “Grow It Yourself” Mushroom Materials let makers literally grow any idea you can think of! At 11 am at the Troy Mini Maker Faire on August 27, Ecovative will be offering a workshop where you can try out their material for yourself. Space is limited, so come early!

Wondering how this unique product got its start, right here in Troy? Ecovative’s Jeff Betts answered some questions for us:

Tell me briefly about Ecovative — what do you make, how did you get started, how is it manufactured?

Ecovative is a biomaterials company founded in 2007 with locations in Green Island and Troy, NY. Our founders came up with the idea for using mushroom materials to displace chemical based products like foam packaging, insulation, and engineered wood resins in a product design studio at RPI.

Our products are grown using agricultural waste bound together with mycelium, the roots of mushrooms.

Who uses your products? What’s the most unusual use of your product you’ve seen so far?

We have commercial clients that use our materials for packaging, furniture, and insulation, but what we are talking about at the Troy Mini Maker Faire is our GIY material. Our dehydrated Grow It Yourself material is ready for you to add water and grow into any form. You can make a 100% compostable finished product or component with this alternative to plastics, foams, and other chemical based materials.

We have seen some incredible GIY projects from students, artists, and makers all over the world – some interesting ones have been a wedding dress, interior lighting, compostable pet urns, and furniture. From compostable drone bodies to furniture, lamp shades to 3D printing — makers all over the world have been using GIY as an alternative to foams and plastics.

What is the most surprising thing members of the public learn about your product?

That our materials literally GROW in just a few days.

You’ve been to big Maker Faires on both coasts — Bay Area in San Francisco, and New York. What did you like about them? How did they differ?

The best thing about the flagship Faires is the scale—everyone pulls out all of the stops!

Best thing at the World Maker Faire New York: I’m a big desktop fabrication fan, so seeing every desktop router, laser, 3D printer, the DIWire, X-Winder… all in one place!

Best thing at the Bay Area Maker Faire: seeing the Crucible displays and makers in person. Its an Oakland based non-profit arts school focusing on metal working, fire performance, glass working … basically the hottest making processes. They had a great panel by four awesome women who are some of the few union welders in the Bay Area that I really enjoyed.

What are you looking forward to at the Troy Mini Maker Faire?
Getting to meet local makers, enchanted citizens, and enjoying the outdoor farmers market.

Get your free tickets for the Troy Mini Maker Faire now and join us on August 27 to meet all our  Makers! The Call for Makers has ended, but we may consider late applications if space allows. There’s no charge to be an exhibitor, and we are open to any kind of art/tech/science project you have in mind. Just fill out the online application form and let us know what you’d like to share with the Maker Community. We look forward to seeing you on August 27!