Date: October 9-13, 2014 (Th-M)
Location: Orangeville, IL (Address given upon registration)
Suggested Donation: $50-300 (No one turned away for lack of funds)
The Radical Mycology Convergence (RMC) is a volunteer-run gathering of mycologists, fungal enthusiasts, activists, and Earth stewards that focuses on teaching the numerous ways that fungi can strengthen the personal, social, and ecological systems of the world. The RMC covers the skills related to working with fungi to create perpetual food systems, grow potent medicines, restore damaged and polluted environments, and organize regenerative and resilient communities. The RMC is a 5-day donation-based event that provides a unique opportunity to build community with like-minded social and environmental justice workers from around the world.
We (the organizers of the RMC) want to make information on fungi and their transformative potential as accessible and tangible as possible without making it overly technical, as has historically been the case. By creating a supportive environment at the RMC, we hope to educate all who attend on the value that fungi play in our lives while helping to create a more mushroom-literate culture that can learn to see working with the fungi as an important tool for addressing some of the world’s most pressing issues. To learn more about the ethos behind this event, visit the link below:
The 2014 RMC will be located on a partially wheelchair accessible rural homestead. There will be infrastructure (food, water, bathrooms, and camping space) to accommodate the 400 attendees. For those unable to visit the Orangeville center of the RMC, there will also be an urban component to this year’s RMC based in Madison, WI. Details on the urban component TBA. To learn more about the site of the site and what to expect when you arrive click the link below:
The RMC is made possible by the effort of a small group of organizers, monetary and supply donations, and the countless volunteers that collaborate at the RMC in manifesting a culture that values community cooperation and biocentric paradigms. The RMC is not corporate sponsored and all proceeds from donations go to covering presenter travel costs, logistical costs, and funding future RMCs. We have increased the suggested donation for this year’s RMC to better reflect the value of the event, the amount of money it costs to run such a large and complex event, and to encourage more volunteer collaboration before, during, and after the RMC.
The organizers of the RMC would like to cordially invite anyone interested in participating in this non-discriminatory and family friendly event to come and learn, help out, or teach! However, there is a 400 participant limit to registered attendance. Registration spaces are offered on a first come, first reserved basis.
To register for the RMC, visit the link below:
Callout for Workshop Leaders, Volunteers, & Donations
We will be relying heavily on volunteer helpers and workshop leaders to help make the RMC reach it’s full potential. Linked below are sign-up forms on the RMC website for folks interested in actively contributing to this event.
To see our workshop wishlist and to sign up to lead a workshop, please click the link below:
To sign up to volunteer before, during, or after the RMC, please click the link below:
We are in need of donations in the form of food, equipment, spawn, and infrastructural materials. These donations can be made tax-deductible as the RMC is sponsored in part by the 501(c)3 non-profit Corenewal. If you think you might be able to donate or loan items to help make this event a success, please visit our donation wishlist here:
Womyn & Fungi
When the RMC started in 2011, there were female organizers but largely male teachers. In 2012 we were all pleased to see an influx in female presenters at the RMC. This year we are actively seeking female and trans presenters, organizers, and attendees and are continuing to make a conscious effort to recognize the contributions women and trans folk have made to the science of mycology.
Fertile Substrate: A Pre-RMC Course
To ensure that the land hosting the RMC is well prepared for the Convergence, we will be hosting a work party and workshop short course on-site the weekend prior to the RMC (Oct. 3-5). For more information on that pre-course and how to register, click the link below:
Help Promote the RMC
While the RMC flyer is in production and nat yet available for distribution, we can use your help in spreading the word about the RMC by forwarding this email and visiting the social media links below:
Join the RMC Facebook event:
RMC Fundraising Toolkit
For folks on a tight budget, we have put together a small fundraising toolkit to help individuals and groups cover their travel and donation costs for the RMC. Check out this resource here:
Featured Fungi of the 2014 RMC: Laccaria spp.
The featured fungi of the 2014 RMC is the genus Laccaria. To learn more about this incredible genus and why we chose to highlight it, click the link below:
At $0.50 – $1.00 per pill, commercial medicinal mushroom capsules are prohibitively expensive for most people. This is rather unfortunate as the powerful abilities that these fungi have for increasing immunity, suppressing tumor growth, and healing the body are incredibly beneficial to most people. It is also remarkable when one discovers that the cost of actually producing these capsules can be as low as 5% of their retail cost. That’s a 95% markup!
Thankfully, there are means for one to make their own medicinal mushroom capsules at a fraction of the retail price. Making your own medicinal mushroom capsules is not only cheap and easy, it is also an empowering means to providing your own medicinal mushroom products for increased longevity.
In the short video below, Peter McCoy of the Radical Mycology project demonstrates a simple method of producing a large quantity of medicinal mushroom capsules using a minimum of equipment. In summary, one introduces mushroom mycelium into jars of sterilized brown rice. The mycelium is then allowed to grow on the rice for several weeks, at which point the resultant “myceliated brown rice” is dried and powdered. Myceliated brown rice is the main ingredient in many commercial medicinal mushroom capsules. The main differences between the capsules that Peter makes and the commercial products are as follows:
- Some of the higher quality commercial products include powdered whole mushrooms (their fruiting bodies) along with the mycelium. However, as Peter points out in the video, there are some medicinal mushrooms that can be fruited “in the jar,” thereby allowing one to still obtain the benefits of the fruiting bodies.
- Commercial products are freeze dried, not air dried. While freeze drying allows for a longer shelf life, it is not easily accomplished for the home medicine maker and herbalist (but cheap methods do exist). Air dried mycelium should be stored in the fridge and occasionally checked for quality.
- Some commercial products (but not necessarily all of them) utilize mushroom “strains” that have been tested and shown to contain higher than average quantities in their medicinal constituents. What this means is that the genetics of the mycelium you are working with–and the capsules it ultimately produces–may not contain as high of a concentration of medicinally active constituents as a commercial product would. While this can be true (just as plants can vary widely in their relative medicinal compound concentration), there are some ways to tackle this argument. One simple solution is to simply consume more capsules. Considering that they are quite inexpensive to produce and that there are no documented deaths associated with an overdose of medicinal mushroom capsules, this is an easy work around. Another perspective is the idea that if you are working with a mushroom that was harvested locally, the medicinal compounds that it produces might be of a more beneficial constitution than that of an imported variety. This is a commonly held belief in the world of plant herbalism: that the natural medicine that is most beneficial for a person can often be found in their own region of the world.
Ultimately, the home creation of medicinal mushroom products is a valuable skill for one to learn for self-sufficiency and resilient living strategies and can compete in quality with many expensive commercial products sold today.
This technique for integrating fungi into your everyday life, and many more like it, will be covered to an even greater depth in the Radical Mycology Book. If you would like to learn more mushroom-related skills like this for healing yourself and your community, please visit the Radical Mycology Book Fundraiser.
The cultivation videos referred to in this video can be viewed here.
Radical Mycology co-founder Maya Elson was featured in Female and Fungi’s “Womyn of the Month” section. Check out her interview on the origins and future of Radical Mycology and the role of womyn in the mycological world.
A new study, “Climate affects symbiotic fungal endophyte diversity and performance” published in the American Journal of Botany brings up some interesting questions. Endophytic fungi (which grow within the tissues of nearly plants on Earth) play an enormous role in plant health, from resistance to pathogens to water intake and storage. This relationship is deep but delicate. If they are adversely affected by climate change, what will happen to the plants?
Radical Mycology co-founder Peter McCoy has co-authored a chapter on fungal remediation, Radical Mycology, and the Radical Mycology Convergence in the new book from Leila Darwish entitled Earth Repair. This book is an amazing guide to community-scale, DIY remediation and healing in disaster scenarios. Read the description below then head over to the book’s website at earthrepair.ca to pick up a copy!
Earth Repair: A Grassroots Guide To Healing Toxic and Damaged Landscapes
By: Leila Darwish
“Millions of acres of land have been contaminated by pesticides, improperly handled chemicals, dirty energy projects, toxic waste, and other pollutants in the United States and Canada. Conventional clean-up techniques employed by government and industry are not only incredibly expensive and resource-intensive, but can also cause further damage to the environment. More and more communities find themselves increasingly unable to rely on those companies and governments who created the problems to step in and provide solutions.
How can we, the grassroots, work with the power of living systems to truly heal and transform toxic and damaged landscapes into thriving, healthy, and fertile places once more? How can we respond to environmental disasters in accessible and community empowering ways?
Earth Repair explores a host of powerful and accessible grassroots bioremediation techniques to assist with the recovery of the lands and waters that nourish us. These techniques include:
Mycoremediation – using fungi to clean up contaminated soil and water.
Microbial remediation – using microorganisms to break down and bind contaminants
Phytoremediation – using plants to extract, bind, and transform toxins
Packed with valuable firsthand information, recipes and remedies from visionaries in the field, Earth Repair empowers communities and individuals to take action and heal contaminated and damaged land and water. Encompassing everything from remediating and regenerating abandoned city lots for urban farmers and gardeners, to responding and recovering from environmental disasters and industrial catastrophes such as oil spills and nuclear fallout, this fertile toolbox is essential reading for anyone who wishes to transform environmental despair into constructive action.
The book also features inspiring mycoremediation contributions from Peter McCoy (Radical Mycology) and Ja Schindler (Fungi for The People), as well as interviews with Paul Stamets (Fungi Perfecti), Mia Rose Maltz (Amazon Mycorenewal Project), and Scott Koch (Telluride Mushroom Festival).
For more information about the book and upcoming workshops, or to order the book, go to http://www.earthrepair.ca.
About the Author:
Leila Darwish is a community organizer, permaculture practioner, educator, writer, grassroots herbalist, and urban gardener with a deep commitment to environmental justice, food sovereignty, and to providing accessible and transformative tools for communities dealing with toxic contamination of their land and drinking water.
Over the last decade, she has worked as a community organizer for different environmental organizations and community groups in Alberta, BC and the USA on campaigns such as tar sands, fracking, nuclear energy, coal, climate justice, water protection, and more. She is a certified permaculture designer and has also apprenticed on different organic farms across Canada and the USA.”
That which decomposes hydrocarbons may also create them….
(PhysOrg.com) — “A unique fungus that makes diesel compounds has been discovered living in trees in the rainforest, according to a paper published in the November issue of Microbiology. The fungus is potentially a totally new source of green energy and scientists are now working to develop its fuel producing potential.”
“The discovery also questions our knowledge of the way fossil fuels are made. The accepted theory is that crude oil, which is used to make diesel, is formed from the remains of dead plants and animals that have been exposed to heat and pressure for millions of years,” said Professor Strobel. “If fungi like this are producing myco-diesel all over the rainforest, they may have contributed to the formation of fossil fuels.” See the full article here.