This October, Mara Penfil from the Radical Mycology Collective will be taking part in a 3-day Women’s Mushroom retreat as a part of the Midwest Women’s Herbal Conference. This unique event will bring together women from across the country to talk and learn about fungi in an intimate and protected setting. Learn more about the event here and check out the description below.
Silently shaping the soil beneath our feet, fungi are key players in the health of Earth and trajectory of human culture around the globe. Still, we find ourselves in a time where the study of fungi is considered to be a neglected megascience, their mycelium, a mystery. It is our goal to help modern women connect with the roles and wisdom of our female ancestors who always maintained and shared their visceral understanding of the Fungal Queendom.
This weekend-long, women’s retreat will focus on understanding fungi as the Grandmothers of our ecosystems. Workshops will be offered at the beginner through advanced levels, and include topics in wild mushroom skills, fungal ecology, fungi and human health, and ethnomycology. This is a place to share knowledge and get comfortable with using our mycological skills in a supportive, fungal community!
Teachers will include Eugenia Bone, Sue Van Hook, Cornelia Cho, Alanna Burns, Andi Bruce, Olga Tzogas, Erica Gunnison, Danielle Stevenson, Mara Fae Penfil, Nicole McCalpin and more!
With the end of year we wish to say our thanks for the many highlights of the past 12 months. This year was a big one for Radical Mycology. February saw the birth of the book Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy and April followed up with a few videos to help condense key points from the text—two efforts we hope will excel the growth of myco-literacy currently developing around the world. Following on the book’s many positive responses, Peter took the book on tour across the U.S. during the summer and fall, making over 45 stops at a range of independent books stores, non-profits, community gardens, infoshops, galleries, art archives, and festivals.
(Left) Peter at Interference Archive, a Brooklyn-based depository for the art of social movements.
(Right) Installing a mushroom garden in Washington, D.C. as part of a 20-hour
Mushroom Cultivation & Application Course.
As the mushroom season took its turn of the year, October marked our fourth and most successful Radical Mycology Convergence, this time in Wingdale, NY. Despite being the first time the event made its way to the East coast, over 400 people were in attendance, making this year’s RMC the largest to date. As with every prior RMCs, all who came camped together, learned together, worked together, and, in a myriad of ways, fostered a unique space to share their connection to the lands we inhabit as well as to the fifth kingdom that fills their innumerable niches and recesses.
(Left) Volunteers help prepare the land at Fertile Substrate, a pre-RMC work-n-learn party.
(Right) Nance Klehm on Reading the Landscape for patterns of disturbance at the 2016 RMC.
The land hosting the RMC was also an amazing backdrop to the event. Set on a 120-acre homestead bordering the Appalachian Trail and three hills of mushroom-rich mixed forests, attendees found fungi poppin’ all weekend. Maitake, Chicken of the Woods, and various Laccaria and edible Boletus species were well represented, as were an array of conks, lichens, and resupinate fungi.
Morning circle at the RMC (Credit: Michael Place).
On the info front, this year’s RMC took the myco knowledge offered to a whole other level. As impromptu forays filled the woods, the dense schedule offered some pretty killer workshops and discussions, including many mycoremediation and mushroom cultivation focused talks. In between, new friendships were forged among the many passionate and incredibly knowledgeable mycophiles, as demonstrated at the steadily laughter- and rap-filled talent show on Saturday night. And at night massive bonfires raged late, filling the air with warmth, kinship, and stories of epic fungi recently found or long since gone.
Dinner crew on duty. Philip shares his passion in the Amadou.
On the final day, as with all RMCs, we closed by working to enrich the land with various fungal partnerships and earth repair practices. Erosion-mitigating and nutrient load-reducing plants were planted along sensitive waterways, while various mushroom gardens were installed across the property.
Installing a four-species mushroom garden on the final day of the RMC.
As the year winds down, the Radical Mycology Collective is taking some time to reflect as we proceed into an ever-brighter fungal future. Next year is sure to bring some big changes and new projects to the fore for us. But for now, we wish to give our deepest gratitude to all those who made this year one of our most inspirational yet.
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU
A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone that helped organize, show up, throw down, support, donate, cook, serve, share, and grow with us and the Radical Mycology movement this year. A special HUGE HUGE thank you goes to this year’s presenters: Alanna Burns, Zaac Chaves, Cornelia Cho, Willie Crosby, Samuel David, Steve Gabriel, Alexander Jones, Erwin Karl, Fern Katz, Scott Kellogg, Nance Klehm, Elli Mazeres, John Michelotti, Lupo Passero, William Padilla-Brown, Jason Scott, Danielle Stevenson, Olga Tzogas, Chris Wright, Sue Van Hook, Roo Vandegrift, and Marina Zurkow, as well as to the amazing folks in the Seeds of Peace Collective, who did all the cooking at the RMC this year.
In return, and as a belated Solstice gift to everyone, we’ve made a playlist of the workshop videos from the 2014 RMC—a taste of the videos we have in the editing queue from this year’s RMC.
Enjoy and mush love,
The RM Collective
The schedule for the 2016 Radical Mycology Convergence has been announced! This year the Convergence is leveling up in a number of ways. For the first time we are on the East Coast. We are going a full 5 days instead of 4. And on the Saturday night of the Convergence we will be hosting an Myco Art Gallery with international submissions (the Gallery is still open for submissions here).
The confirmed workshops for this year’s RMC are right in line with these evolutionary leaps. There are some incredible myco- and bioremediation talks, a range of ethnomycological presentations, and some amazing fungal ecology talks.
Want to help the RMC?
We rely on support from attendees to make the RMC a success. You can help add to this grassroots effort in a variety of ways. Consider registering to volunteer here. Or join the Pre-RMC work party, Fertile Substrate, here. Or simply bring some food or raffle item donations. Every hyphal addition to our support web helps this event’s network grow deeper and stronger. Whatever you can do to add to this underground effort is greatly appreciated!
The last couple months have been quite busy on the Radical Mycology front. With planning the just-launched Radical Mycology Book tour and the upcoming Radical Mycology Convergence, its been a go trying to post all the reviews that the book Radical Mycology has been getting over the last few months. So, here they all are in one convenient post!
- Good Magazine did an interview with Peter when the book first came out here.
- The Survival Podcast had Peter back a second time to talk about several intermediate cultivation practices with fungi here.
- The Sustainable World Radio podcast got into a range of topics with Peter from the book here.
- Diego Footer of the Permaculture Voices podcast did a great interview with Peter about a range of fungal cultivation practices and low-impact integration practices and their relationship to permaculture / regenerative agriculture.
- Ayana Young of the Unlearn & Rewild podcast held a deep conversation with Peter about the cultural and ecopsychological impacts that fungi have had on humans since pre-history. Though Peter tends to do interviews about the practical implications of working with fungi, these more subtle fungal roles in our collective history are some of the most inspiring topics for him and Ayana pulled out some amazing questions to help do the topic justice.
- The New Food Economy online magazine did a great interview and write-up on the book here.
The other month, Peter also did two webinars on the books topics: one on Seeing Fungi (fungal biology and ecology) and the other on Working With Fungi (the historical, contemporary, and future impacts of foraging for, consuming, and cultivating fungi). These info-packed videos give a solid overview of the many topics and skills that are thoroughly detailed in the book, much of which is not represented anywhere else on the internet today. Check them out below.
- The Australian permaculture school and blog Milkwood wrote up a great piece on the book here.
- The New Jersey Mycological Association did a review here.
- The Practical Herbalist podcast and blog did a review here and part 1 of an interview with Peter here.
- Lastly, The Willamette Weekly in Portland, Oregon named Peter “Best Mushroom King” in their annual “Best of Portland” issue. Fungi.. keeping Portland Weird.
Radical Mycology co-founder Peter McCoy was recently interviewed for the first edition of the podcast Adventures Through The Mind, hosted by James Jesso. Topics covered include the importance of fungi in past and present human cultures, medicinal mushrooms, mycoremediation, and insights into the fungal life cycle and its relationship to human life. Check it out here.
Peter from Radical Mycology was recently featured on the Entheoradio podcast to talk about the intersections of sacred mushrooms, culture, and the uses of fungi to make the world a better place. Check out the interview by clicking here and then consider supporting the Radical Mycology Book fundraiser by clicking here.
After hours of toil and editing, the 2012 Radical Mycology Convergence videos are almost entirely online! See them here.
Port Townsend was cold and sometimes wet, but spirits were high and excited. The cost for attendees was based on a sliding scale. Attending the event did not require paying a specific fee, and the organizers asked only for a donation of $10-50.
(Attendees wait in line for mid-day lunch break. Yummy food was provided three times a day for all attendees)
One of the intentions of the convergence was to empower and educate other individuals who are interested in creating their own convergence or mycology group in other parts of the country. Using a mycological metaphor, we became spores of knowledge intending to spread across the land and establish our own mycelial networks.
The Radical Mycology Convergence was a complete success, and from talking to the organizers, I’m convinced they felt the same way. I want to thank the organizers and all the presenters for assisting me with my recordings of the RMC workshops and with impromptu interviews. The organizers established a place for all of us to camp, fed us hot, healthy food at least three times a day, and provided yerba mate, coffee, and gallons of mushroom tea!
To all those with whom I shared a connection, I hope to see you blossom in your future. Please contact me: email@example.com and spread that mycelial network.
Personal notes: I was surprised at the amount of people who were interested in a resource for further documentation of events like these. I hope my audio and video documentation can be an endless resource for all who attended and for those who could not attend. Because of the number of workshops held at RMC2012, several workshops were held at one time. I did my best to record the workshops which I felt both piqued my visitors’ interests, and as a springboard for my own future investigations and endeavors.
Here is a quick list of workshops and interviews I documented:
- Understanding Medicinal Mushrooms (wowy!)
- Radical Mycology 101
- How to Identify Mushrooms: a Basic Introduction to Characteristics and Stature Type
- Defending the Forest (a group discussion)
- Reading the Land, aka applying fungi and bacteria to an unhealthy terrain
- Soil Basics
- Truffling, aka How to Find Truffles in the Pacific Northwest
- How to Create Your Own Radical Mycology Group
- Bioremediation (aka “Earth Repair”)
- Medicinal Lichens (which, by the request of the presenter, will only appear on the RMC2012 website, more updates when that arrives)
- Joining and Creating a Community Lab
- Closing Notes by the Organizers
On what I learned: I’ve always felt the community of myco-minded folk are the most eclectic, diverse, interesting, and intellectual of all communities of which I’ve been a part. These feelings concerning this community were confirmed after this event. RMC2012 drew together scientists working on their doctorates, curious-minded folk just out of high school, urban foragers, college students working toward a more environmentally friendly future, and urban and rural farmers, young and senior, to name a few. Everyone connected and gained from one another. The mycology community is extremely generous, and I want to thank everyone for their endless hospitality and generosity.
I also learned that understanding mycology is just a small, itty-bitty piece of a much larger puzzle toward understanding our natural world, and especially understanding bioremediation. After RMC2012, I’m interested in learning more about bacteria, soil, composting, and a host of other branches that belong to the larger ecological issues. The presentation I documented on bioremediation by Leila Darwish will reveal a more extended list of skills and knowledge to be gained.
On a separate, but related endeavor: Another subject that came up during RMC2012 was the need for a central online location of documenting hands-on do-it-yourself bioremediation techniques, case studies and anecdotes of the effects of medicinal mushrooms, and an index and central resource for remediation and cultivation techniques, and a wiki to boot. I’m excited to be part of a project which will hopefully become an invaluable resource for earth-friendly folk across our planet.