HomeBlogNews
Home / News / Mushroom Farm Thrives - as a Social Enterprise
  • Join the mailing list

  • Should be Empty:

 

^ Scroll to Top
Mushroom Farm Thrives - as a Social Enterprise Posted on: Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Siblings Maddy and Cameron McAllister have just finished their third season of owning/ operating the Mushroom Farm, a quirky eco-lodge perched on the edge of a cliff in Malawi’s northern mountains, overlooking the lake.   During their time, they’ve operated the Lodge more and more as a ‘social enterprise’ – with focus on the social and environmental aspects of the ‘triple bottom line.’   From all accounts, very successfully so!

Guests love the lodge for its laid-back ‘vibe,’ as they discuss it in TripAdvisor… the McAllisters continue to build and improve the facilities so that accommodations are now varied for every budget (from cliff-top camping to rustically-plush chalets); the new vegetarian menu offers locally-grown freshness; area tours with local guides are offered for day-time activity (or, hammocks for inactivity!); and magical nights can be spent gazing at stars above - or lanterned fishing boats on – Lake Malawi… or by the campfire, or just hanging out at the restaurant-bar with Maddy and Cameron, Bishop, Budget and other staff, and/or the various volunteers who stay at Mushroom and participate with the community. 

Staff love the lodge as it provides not only solid employment (with lots of added perks, such as schooling support for their children, including sending young Khwima to medical school – the first student from the village to go to university), but also a true family environment – most of the staff have been part of the lodge since Maddy and Cameron bought it – including Cain and Abel, the gardeners!  To everyone’s delight, the Mushroom Farm is now just about run entirely by the staff.  And, indeed, this aspect of staff empowerment is often highlighted in guest comments – the Farm’s staff offer their guests insight into their own village lives, ways of thinking, perspectives of the world.  Nowadays, Maddy and Cameron often just sit back and enjoy the entertainment! 

The village of Manchewe loves the lodge for its integration with village life. Maddy and Cameron have initiated plenty of ‘projects,’ such as the Manchewe Mountain Mamas economic group (chitenje bunting!); the Boys’ Jewelry Project (out of Malawi coinage – finally, valuable!); the Girls’ Knitting Project; the Boys’ Football Team; the Saturday Night Musicians’ Club (live entertainment from Spyson and his hand-made wooden guitar)…  Above and beyond these groups, however, the Lodge supports the Manchewe Primary School (funding its six new teachers); establishes solid buying relationships with existing local vendors and helps new businesses to blossom (the newest:  Mr. Banda’s Forest Restaurant); and generally helps out with rides to the hospital, to the lake, etc.

In the works for 2016?  Kondowe Coffee (Community Interest Company), a new roast-and-post online coffee business planned for UK customers who would like to enjoy coffee with close Malawi connection!  Manchewe-area coffee growers are getting ready, now.  As well, various folks are investigating the building of a simple maize-mill for Manchewe, grinding village crops into flour using more nutritional methods.  And how re-resurrecting about that hydro-electricity potential, from Manchewe Falls (Malawi’s highest waterfall)?!

And finally, of course, the environment loves the lodge for its low eco-footprint. Mushroom Farm buys as much as it can from local suppliers; runs off the grid with solar power; uses water from up-hill springs (then uses the grey water for irrigation); and utilizes compost toilets (placed in regal settings with superb views!)…  what’s not to love?

So… if the defined purpose of ‘social enterprise’ is to maximize the business’ social aspect and minimize its environmental impact… the Mushroom Farm has ticked the boxes – vibrantly!

 




Other current news items

New 4-day Walking Trail from Luwawa Forest to Lake Malawi
Posted on: Friday, April 20, 2018

African Parks continue Malawi's Wildlife Transformation through 2018
Posted on: Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Nkwichi launch prime time discount to international guests
Posted on: Wednesday, April 11, 2018

CAWS: Plunge Pools, Earth Hour & Top Guides
Posted on: Monday, April 09, 2018

New Venue Announced for Lake of Stars 2018
Posted on: Friday, April 06, 2018

African Parks expands Liwonde management to include Mangochi Forest Reserve
Posted on: Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Wildlife Vets, Species & Courses
Posted on: Friday, March 30, 2018

Orbis seeks participants for Women's Challenge
Posted on: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

CAWS: Liwonde Lions, Excellent Birding & New Shuttle Service
Posted on: Friday, March 23, 2018

Extra Ethiopian Airlines flights from UK to Africa
Posted on: Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 2018 Newsletter
Posted on: Monday, March 19, 2018

The Responsible Safari Company are hiring!
Posted on: Monday, March 19, 2018

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust Impact Report 2017
Posted on: Wednesday, March 14, 2018

News from Malawian Style
Posted on: Tuesday, March 13, 2018

95 Years of Satemwa
Posted on: Friday, March 09, 2018

Cycle Malawi for the Conservation of Zomba Forest
Posted on: Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Lions Reintroduced to Liwonde National Park in Malawi
Posted on: Monday, March 05, 2018

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Wildlife Day, Recycling Hubs & Saving Vervets
Posted on: Friday, March 02, 2018

Fisherman's Rest: Ntayamwana WASH Project & 2017 Achievements
Posted on: Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Cycle through Southern Malawi with African Vision Malawi
Posted on: Tuesday, February 27, 2018

New Malawi Bird Book published
Posted on: Saturday, February 24, 2018

#BuyMalawian2018 launched in the UK - Win a holiday to Malawi!
Posted on: Thursday, February 22, 2018

Malawi's Lodges: Awards & Developments
Posted on: Monday, February 19, 2018

Malawi's Wildlife Crime Justice Programme produces record results
Posted on: Friday, February 16, 2018

South African Airways introduce state-of-the-art Aircraft
Posted on: Wednesday, February 14, 2018

CAWS: Green Season flourishes & Chintheche gets new snaps
Posted on: Monday, February 12, 2018

Orbis to run Family Expedition in October
Posted on: Friday, February 09, 2018

Lake of Stars project slates London UK event for March 2018
Posted on: Wednesday, February 07, 2018

February 2018 Newsletter
Posted on: Friday, February 02, 2018

Ethiopian Airlines launch mobile app
Posted on: Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rejuvenate at Mumbo Island's Wellness Retreat in March
Posted on: Monday, January 29, 2018

Top Country for 2018? Malawi!
Posted on: Friday, January 26, 2018

Join Orbis Expeditions on a Malawian Triathlon
Posted on: Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cycle 500 Miles down Lake Malawi in September
Posted on: Monday, January 22, 2018

Ethiopian to debut Geneva flights
Posted on: Friday, January 19, 2018

CAWS launches 2018 Green Season Specials
Posted on: Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lake of Stars host one-day Festival in Glasgow
Posted on: Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Malawi at the Shows - Free & Discounted Tickets available
Posted on: Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Malawi Developments 2017 - 2018
Posted on: Monday, January 08, 2018

The Lake of Stars festival returns
Posted on: Thursday, January 04, 2018

CAWS: Bush Breakfasts, Birding & Awareness
Posted on: Friday, December 29, 2017

Prince Harry Appointed President of African Parks
Posted on: Thursday, December 28, 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Pangolins, Duikers & Jewellery
Posted on: Wednesday, December 27, 2017

December 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Thursday, December 21, 2017

Prizes up for grabs at Malawian Style's US Events in January
Posted on: Monday, December 18, 2017

Press trip to Malawi with South African Airways
Posted on: Friday, December 15, 2017

Malawi named #3 in top countries to visit in 2018
Posted on: Thursday, December 14, 2017

Leonardo DiCaprio commits to protect lions in Malawi
Posted on: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Nkwichi packages combine Malawi's hotspots
Posted on: Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Christmas in Malawi with CAWS!
Posted on: Monday, December 04, 2017

Lake of Stars Launches London Event!
Posted on: Friday, December 01, 2017

CAWS now offering moonlit safaris at Mvuu
Posted on: Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Warm Heart Adventures - Malawi from a local perspective
Posted on: Monday, November 27, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: Building Blocks & Beating Boreholes
Posted on: Friday, November 24, 2017

CAWS: Mother's Day Births & Spectacular Wildlife
Posted on: Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Zomba's Variety
Posted on: Monday, November 20, 2017

November 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Friday, November 17, 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Duikers, Lions & Teachers
Posted on: Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Tongole Wilderness Lodge wins 'Best in Africa' awards
Posted on: Monday, November 13, 2017

Evolving Serendib offers business and pleasure
Posted on: Friday, November 10, 2017

The ever-growing Mushroom Farm to build Community 'Hub'
Posted on: Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Nkwichi Wins Big at World Travel Awards
Posted on: Monday, November 06, 2017

Wildlife Action Group: New Camps & Elephant Bonds
Posted on: Friday, November 03, 2017

Kachenga Bush Camp opens in Nkhotakota
Posted on: Wednesday, November 01, 2017

CAWS: Moonlight Drives, Incredible Sightings & CITW Hostings
Posted on: Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Introducing Kuthengo Camp by Robin Pope Safaris
Posted on: Monday, October 23, 2017

The Tongole Foundation Appeal 2017
Posted on: Friday, October 20, 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Orphans, Zebras and Pedal Power Cinemas!
Posted on: Thursday, October 19, 2017

Malawian Wins Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa
Posted on: Monday, October 16, 2017

Luwawa Forest Lodge Annual Birding Weekend
Posted on: Thursday, October 12, 2017

News from Malawian Style
Posted on: Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Monday, October 09, 2017

Kande Horse host 4 day Yoga Retreat
Posted on: Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Nyika-Vwaza UK Annual Evening set for November in London
Posted on: Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Complete Malawi
Posted on: Friday, September 29, 2017

Make a bid to safari with Malawian Style
Posted on: Thursday, September 28, 2017

Nyike Vwaza Trust launch Nyika Guide Book
Posted on: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Robin Pope Safaris: Latest Lion Litter?
Posted on: Friday, September 22, 2017

Barefoot Safaris & Lodge for Sale
Posted on: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

CAWS Newsletter: Nyika, Elephant Viewing & Awards
Posted on: Monday, September 18, 2017

Boats for Sale
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: Girl Guides, Schools & a Changu Changu Moto!
Posted on: Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The World in Malawi
Posted on: Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Nkwichi host annual Choir festival with support from Andrew Lloyd Webber!
Posted on: Thursday, August 31, 2017

500 Elephants Get a New Home in Malawi
Posted on: Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Nyika sanctuary now home to 34 elephants
Posted on: Friday, August 25, 2017

August 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Monday, August 21, 2017

CAWS Newsletter: Elephants, Trails & Partnerships
Posted on: Monday, August 14, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: New Classrooms & Community Projects
Posted on: Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Sangwala Trail launched in Nyika by CAWS
Posted on: Monday, August 07, 2017

Malawi gets 3 winners in the Tusker Awards!
Posted on: Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Malawi Leads the Way in Animal Conservation
Posted on: Monday, July 31, 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Elephants, Jackals, Award & Successes!
Posted on: Monday, July 24, 2017

Upgrades leave Mvuu Camp & Lodge looking spectacular
Posted on: Thursday, July 20, 2017

Exciting times at RSC
Posted on: Friday, July 14, 2017

CAWS Newsletter: Cheetah sightings, Renovations & Awards
Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Ethiopian Airlines - Best Airline in Africa!
Posted on: Friday, July 07, 2017

#500Elephants: Final phase underway!
Posted on: Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Responsible Safari Company: Itineraries & Expeditions
Posted on: Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Mount Mulanje Porters Race on the cards
Posted on: Friday, June 30, 2017

Lilongwe Wildlife Trust: Elephants, Cheetahs & Monkeys!
Posted on: Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Travel Centre launch Blantyre info desk
Posted on: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Round-up from Robin Pope Safaris
Posted on: Friday, June 23, 2017

Ethiopian Airlines: Fleet Expansion, Humanitarian Aid & Awards
Posted on: Monday, June 19, 2017

June 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Friday, June 16, 2017

News from Malawian Style
Posted on: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cheetahs Back in Malawi!
Posted on: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: Young Campaigners & Community Report
Posted on: Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What3Words now added to Malawi site
Posted on: Friday, May 12, 2017

CAWS New Developments
Posted on: Monday, May 08, 2017

Unique Opportunity to witness 'Conservation Malawi'
Posted on: Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Rhythms of the Rainforest returns to Ntchisi
Posted on: Monday, April 24, 2017

Photography Workshops in Liwonde with Frank Weitzer
Posted on: Thursday, April 20, 2017

Danforth Yachting - Time Out
Posted on: Wednesday, April 12, 2017

EMMS launch Pedal&Pray Challenge
Posted on: Friday, March 31, 2017

March 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Monday, March 27, 2017

#BeMoved: New Elephant calves born in Nkhotakota
Posted on: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Chelinda Lodge & Camp Finalists in The Tusker Awards
Posted on: Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Malawian Style: Southern Adventure, Cheetahs & New Flights
Posted on: Thursday, March 16, 2017

#BuyMalawian2017 & WIN a trip to Malawi!
Posted on: Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hugely successful Lake of Stars Festival to return in 2018
Posted on: Monday, February 20, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: New Website & New Forests
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2017

Ethiopian Airlines plans record expansion with 7 new destinations
Posted on: Monday, February 06, 2017

Sunbird Tourism to manage Thawale Lodge
Posted on: Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Fisherman's Rest: 2016 has been fantastic!
Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017

Kenya Airways celebrates 40 years with special offers
Posted on: Thursday, January 26, 2017

Malawian Style: Offers, Malawi & Zambia packages & New Website
Posted on: Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 2017 Newsletter
Posted on: Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Oxford Chichewa Dictionary Launched!
Posted on: Monday, January 16, 2017

Malawi at the Shows - Free & Discounted Tickets available
Posted on: Thursday, January 12, 2017

A New Chapter Unfolds for Central African Wilderness Safaris
Posted on: Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Majete: A Reserve Restored
Posted on: Friday, January 06, 2017

Malawi In The Media
Posted on: Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What the papers say about Malawi! 2015 Archive
Posted on: Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What the papers say about Malawi! 2014 Archive
Posted on: Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What the papers say about Malawi! 2012 - 2013 Archive
Posted on: Tuesday, January 01, 2013

What the papers say about Malawi!
Posted on: Tuesday, January 01, 2013