workshops

Mushroom Cultivation Courses and Soil Fungi Master Class

Starting this July, Peter McCoy will be hitting the road to leading several 20-hour Mushroom Cultivation & Application Courses across the U.S. Peter has been teaching about mushroom cultivation for over 10 years and as each year passes, this Course only gets more robust, thorough, and immersive.

If you’ve been thinking of getting into mushroom growing, or of taking your practice in the art to the next level, this Course will leave you well equipped to advance and evolve your work with fungi for years to come. Confirmed locations and dates are listed below, each with more information on what to expect.

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Soil Fungi Master Class

This August, Peter will also be joined by soil, compost, and bioremediation expert Nance Klehm in Chicago, Illinois for an unprecedented 7-day Master Class on the many functions of fungi in soil systems. Offering a skillset found nowhere else in the world, this Course will provide any food, fungi, and Earth lover with insights and practices for managing landscapes and designing holistic environments through the often overlooked lens of these hidden fungi. Starting with the ecology and forms of soil fungi, this Master Class will take participants through all the skills needed to identify, assess, isolate, cultivate, and apply many types of soil fungi in any habitat, both disturbed and intact. For more information, click the image below.

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A 2016 RM Wrap Up & 2014 RMC Vids

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.

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(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.

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(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.

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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.

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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.

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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


Radical Mycology Convergence Workshops and Schedule Announced

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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.

See the 2016 RMC schedule here
Read the detailed workshop descriptions here

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!


Recent Radical Mycology Book Reviews, Interviews, and Webinars

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!

RM Cover

Interviews

  • 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.

Webinars

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.

 

Reviews

  • 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.

Free Mushroom Cultivation & Application Webinar with Peter McCoy

Cultivation Webinar

Next Thursday, April 28th, Peter McCoy of the Radical Mycology Collective will be offering a free webinar on many of groundbreaking skills discussed in Radical Mycology, one of the most comprehensive books on fungi and mushroom cultivation ever written.

WORKING WITH FUNGI FOR GLOBAL RESILIENCE
April 28 at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern)

Mycology is proving itself to be a nearly inexhaustible field for innovation. As new discoveries are constantly being made, there seems to be no end to what fungi can offer humans, their communities, and the environments they touch. In this talk, Peter will explore the wide range of ways to cultivate fungi and integrate them into our lives, homes, and landscapes. Along with detailing some of the most appropriate mycotechniques currently being developed, Peter will also unveil unprecedented protocols for accessibly growing edible and medicinal mushrooms as well as new learning opportunities for advancing the future of human-fungal relations.

This unique talk will be live streamed with the ability for viewers to chat with Peter directly and ask him questions from anywhere in the world. There will also be free book giveaways and special discounts offered to all viewers. To register for this paradigm-shifting talk, click here.


Two Free Mycology Webinars With Peter McCoy

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Next month, Peter McCoy will be offering two free webinars on many of groundbreaking topics discussed in Radical Mycology, one of the most comprehensive books on fungi and mushroom cultivation ever written. These unique talks will be live streamed with the ability for viewers to chat with Peter directly and ask him questions from anywhere in the world. There will also be free book giveaways and special discounts offered to all viewers. To register for this paradigm-shifting talk, click here.

 

SEEING FUNGI
April 14 at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern)

Fungi are everywhere around us, creating and maintaining whole ecological webs. For many, learning to recognize these relationships is one of the most incredible and inspiring aspects of working with the fungal kingdom. In this presentation, Peter will walk through the critical ecological roles that fungi fulfill from the poles to the oceans and from the forests to the deserts. Along the way, Peter will detail how fungal ecologies have influenced the development human cultures throughout time, including a wealth of incredible evidence that he has uncovered on the importance of fungi in the origins and evolution of life. Whether you are new to mycology or well versed in the topic, this talk will leave you overwhelmed with fascination for the incredible fifth kingdom!

WORKING WITH FUNGI FOR GLOBAL RESILIENCE
April 28 at 6PM Pacific (9PM Eastern)

Mycology is proving itself to be a nearly inexhaustible field for innovation. As new discoveries are constantly being made, there seems to be no end to what fungi can offer humans, their communities, and the environments they touch. In this talk, Peter will explore the wide range of ways to cultivate fungi and integrate them into our lives, homes, and landscapes. Along with detailing some of the most appropriate mycotechniques currently being developed, Peter will also unveil unprecedented protocols for accessibly growing edible and medicinal mushrooms as well as new learning opportunities for advancing the future of human-fungal relations.


Radical Mycology featured on Permaculture Tonight

Peter from Radical Mycology was recently interviewed on the podcast Permaculture Tonight hosted by author and teacher Matt Powers. Topics include fungi in the history of the earth and ancient cultures, updates on the Radical Mycology book, and the Secret Life of Fungi.


Radical Mycology Announces the Mycelial Network & Unique Course Offering

Since the initial germination of Radical Mycology in 2006, one of the biggest goals of the project has always been to create stronger connections between amateur mycologists, activists, and grassroots bioremediators working to increase the health and resilience of their communities and environment. Over the years, the Radical Mycology Collective—an anchor point in the larger Radical Mycology movement—has strived to achieve this goal through a variety of means. With the creation and release of free media and educational videos, the group has offered simple and accessible methods for cultivating fungi for food, medicine, and the regeneration of damaged landscapes. By organizing three internationally attended Radical Mycology Convergences, the Collective has worked to build a greater sense of community amongst the many isolated pockets of mushroom cultivators and radical ecologists while simultaneously sharing the often inaccessible skills of working with fungi in a unique format. In the fall of 2014, the group went on a 3-month cross continent tour to share their knowledge and skills with over 40 different community groups and organizations. Along the way, the group discovered a strong desire amongst their collaborators and new friends to understand the fungi and integrate their gifts into the common struggle for finding better ways to live sustainably on the earth.

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Remediation Installation and Morning Circle at the 2014 Radical Mycology Convergence

In the months following their 2014 tour, the Radical Mycology Collective has worked to determine the best means for further uniting this grassroots network of myco-advocates and to fully reflect the desires of those that they met on the road. In the process, several new and exciting project ideas arose, many of which are set to be announced in the months to come. Today, the group is excited to liberate two of their latest spores for inspiring a more tightly knit web of earth workers and mycophiles.

The first new branch of the Radical Mycology project is one that has been subtly lying under the surface of the movement for the last 9 years: The Mycelial Network. Mimicking the decentralized distributive system of fungal mycelium, the Mycelial Network is a connection pathway for finding and working with mycologists, bioremediators, permaculturalists, food/water/soil/economic/health/spiritual/sexual/social/environmental justice advocates, and just about anybody else that identifies with the Network’s Mission Statement and Guiding Principles. The announcement of the Mycelial Network today signifies the first step in the development of this collaborative endeavor. All those that join the Network are welcomed to help refine and build upon the foundation laid in this initial phase as the project evolves.

To incubate the rapid growth of the Mycelial Network, the Radical Mycology Collective is excited to announce the open registration for Recomposing Life, an unprecedented 3-day, donation-based course on the theory and skills needed to fully integrate fungi into social movements building resilience in their community. Unlike most courses on working with fungi, Recomposing Life is not just an introduction to growing mushrooms, it is a suggestive view into redefining ecological relationships and our role as humans in the lands that we inhabit. It is an offering to open alternative dialogues around what it possible in learning from the fungal kingdom. Building off the many skills and insights to be presented in the forthcoming book, Radical Mycology, this course will provide participants with a wide range of perspectives on working with fungi that have never been explored before. The Radical Mycology Collective invites all those interested in the course’s topics to apply.


2014 Radical Mycology Convergence Reportback

RMC 2014 BannerBy Peter McCoy

The Radical Mycology Convergence (RMC) is a volunteer-run gathering that shares the knowledge and skills of working with fungi for personal, societal, and ecological health. A non-discriminatory and family-friendly event, the RMC welcomes people of all backgrounds to learn about and join the growing fields of sustainable mycology and bioremediation. The RMC teaches the means to work with fungi as a resilient food and medicine source as  well a natural ally in efforts to help regenerate, remediate, and renew damaged environments. Emphasizing techniques that are low-cost, the skills and ethos presented at the RMC aim to support a wide range of grassroots efforts advocating for environmental protection, social justice, and local food autonomy.

In the fall of 2014, over 250 people from around the globe gathered at the 3rd Radical Mycology Convergence in Orangeville, IL to gain skills for working with fungi as personal, societal, and ecological medicine. Hosted on the private homestead of bioremediation expert Nance Klehm, the 2014 RMC built on the knowledge base laid at the previous 2 Convergences to further strengthen the emerging fields of community-scale mushroom cultivation and grassroots bioremediation. Hosting over 50 discussions and workshops and 8 edible and experimental remediation installations, this year’s RMC provided new insights into how fungi can help address the increasingly complex challenges of today’s world.

Film by Steve Zieverink

Fertile Substrate

Set up for the RMC began at Fertile Substrate, a 3-day pre-Convergence educational work party where volunteers and organizers prepared piles of substrates, germinated installation inoculum, cleared and designated installation sites, built seating and other infrastructure, and cultured several locally harvested mushroom species such as Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius), Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor), Enoki (Flammulina velutipes), Chicken-Of-The-Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), and Maitake (Grifola frondosa).

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Sourcing and preparing substrates

The Workshops

This year’s RMC hosted over 50 original workshops and discussions focused on one of the several major themes of the RMC: Fungal Biology & Ecology, Ethnomycology, Ecological Restoration & Remediation, and Fungal Cultivation. Many of the workshops intentionally covered topics and skills not typically addressed at mycological events such as using mushroom identification skills to help protect threatened habitats, cultivating mushrooms in arid and extreme environments/climates, the realities of running of a small mushroom farm, and teaching mycology to kids. Friday night’s campfire hosted a challenging discussion addressing the idea “dark ecology,” a theory proposed by author Timothy Morton that the pollution and destructive practices of modern living must be fully embraced in order to overcome them and move toward healthier lives and a healthier world. Also unique to the 2014 RMC teaching model was an expressed desire to increase the presence of women and trans mycologists at the Convergence. As a part of this effort, a discussion directly addressing the role and experience of women and trans people in mycological circles was held at the RMC. A summary of this conversation can be read here.

Descriptions of all the 2014 RMC workshops can be viewed here. Videos of the 2014 RMC’s workshops will be made available online for free in the coming months. To see those when they become available, you can subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

10731602_456662414471436_667240384_nNance Klehm on compost

The Installations

Along with the cultivation workshops and theoretical discussions of the RMC another major component of the Convergence focused on putting theory to practice by facilitating hands-on remediative and regenerative fungal installations during the event. This year’s RMC brought about several novel approaches to working with fungi in landscape to mitigate pollution and renew disturbed habitats.

Determining the sites for remediation work to take place at the RMC was a months-long planning process. Several RMC organizers worked to identify needs, giving preference to issues related to chemical remediation strategies and strengthening local soil and aquatic ecologies. Zones of concern were selected on the property and collaborative planning discussions were held to develop the most effective strategies for addressing these areas. The main issues identified and addressed included the following:

Brush Creek MycoFiltration – Water samples from the property’s creek (Brush Creek) were sent to a local water testing lab prior to the RMC. The water was tested for a range of common chemical and biological contaminants and found to (thankfully) not contain concerning levels of pollutants. However, another concern to the water’s quality had previously been identified: in the rainy spring months heavy rain causes the water table of Brush Creek to rise significantly leading to topsoil erosion and a significant depositing of silt and debris into the creek water. This murky water subsequently reduces available oxygen, choking out aquatic life and reducing the resilience and diversity of riparian communities downstream. To mitigate this issue  a series of filters of mushroom mycelium were installed in the creek (in the form of burlap sacks filled with oak wood chips inoculated with Stropharia rugosoannulata [aka SRA]) to capture silt and increase water purity. The upper portion of the property’s creek was scouted to identify sites that had access to shallow, slower moving sections of the water course where mycelium containers could be installed and easily observed, maintained, and replaced as needed. Two sites were identified.

10732014_578650438928530_1109288106_nPreparing bags of Stropharia rugosoannulata bulk spawn for MycoFiltration of silt

Site A was a preexisting natural dam built of fallen logs and branches. This area was an easy candidate for installation as it would readily retain the bags to be installed. In the coming months the landowner will observe the bags’ health and determine whether they are getting “plugged” with debris, at which point they will need to be replaced.

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Site A of Brush Creek’s MycoFiltration installation

Site B was an overflow side channel in the water’s course that is contained in a short, shallow trench. This shady area is above the water table for most of the year, only filling with water in the rainy season. A series of SRA bags were installed in this channel and secured with branches and stakes of various sizes. In the coming months the bags and surrounding soil will become infused with this mushroom’s mycelium creating a productive mushroom bed. When the water raises next year, overflow from the creek will pass through this mushroom bed, filtering silt and debris as the mycelium is being hydrated (ultimately helping the bed produce more mushrooms). Another function of this mushroom bed is that it will serve to digest much of the property’s Reed Canary Grass. The landowner can simply throw this plant into Site B’s trench, feeding this edible mushroom to increase production while mitigating a common weed.

10724691_864015363622783_1053642658_nSite B of Brush Creek’s MycoFiltration installation

Post-Ag Field Regeneration – The land that hosted to 2014 RMC was a 20 acre parcel that had been heavily cultivated for 70 years with GM corn. While some portions of the property had been left to return to a prairie for 20 years, much of the property had only been out of production for 4 years. Due to years of heavy tillage and chemical input, the diversity in the soil communities of these areas were significantly depressed. These “post-ag” portions of the property were covered in a small number of dominant weeds, a sign of poor soil quality. Our goal was to begin repopulating the soil in these areas by inoculating test plots with beneficial microbes and fungi, thereby kickstarting the natural soil web cycles and eventually leading to greater soil health and increased nutrient availability.

Eight 2’x6′ plots were cleared and inoculated with various combinations of mycorrhizal fungi, compost tea, and biochar. The biochar was produced on-site and inoculated with fresh compost tea that followed standard and biodynamic compost tea practices. Compost tea breeds large quantities of beneficial aerobic microbes. The biochar performs several remediative functions while also serving as a “microbe hotel” where mycorrhizal fungi and other microbes can live. One bed was cleared but not inoculated to serve as a control.

10729295_385536021614627_1867443672_nInoculating biochar with actively aerated compost tea

On the myco end of this installation, several plots were inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi that will help support the soil’s health in numerous ways. The ideal practice for this portion of the experiment would have been to harvest locally-adapted mycorrhizal spores from on-site and culture them in association with plants over a season to amplify their spore load for inoculation. As this would have needed to been done a year in advance, we settled on using a commercial product containing various ecto and endomycorrhizal species. All plots were seeded with a commercial cover crop blend.

Prior to treatment the plots hosted various combinations of the following species (spontaneous vegetation):

Annual and perennial herbaceous plants:
    Dandelion
    Creeping charlie
    Wild aster
    Native aster *
    Stiff goldenrod *
    Canadian goldenrod
    Multiflora rose
    Wild bergamot *
    Reed canary grass
    Brome grass
Woody species:
   Box elder *
   Red maple *
   Red oak *
   White oak *
   Black walnut *
   Wild cherry *
 (* Indicates native species)

In the coming years, the landowner will observe the plots to determine which regenerates the most effectively to host a larger variety of plant species. It is our hypothesis that the plot inoculated with biochar, compost tea, and mycorrhizae will perform the best. Time will tell.

Automobile Engine Point Source Remediation – Not all means of integrating fungi for pollution mitigation need to be complicated or large-scale. For example, a simple “point-source” remediation installation initiated at the RMC involved placing a Pearl Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus) woodchip bed below the landowner’s parking site. As the mycelium of this well-known remediative species myceliates the wood-based substrate in the coming months, it will also likely absorb and digest the oil and chemicals dripping off the car’s engine. This simple method of treating a common source of household pollution can be effectively installed in driveways around the world as this species and its relatives are quite common in most continents. Mushrooms that fruit from this bed should not be eaten however as they may harbor toxic elements.

914426_851927648180799_833609715_nPoint-source remediation of automobile contaminants

Human Waste Disposal – The human “waste” stream produced over the course of the RMC was treated as a valuable resource. Several composting toilets (The Shiitakers) were installed around the property and the fecal and urine matter collected at these sites was placed in The Pilobolus Pile, a slow compost pile that will eventually turn this common “waste” stream into healthy compost. This pile was constructed with an abundance of sawdust to eliminate smell and the risk of disease.

Beyond the restorative installations, several functional mushroom beds were installed around the property as well:

Hot Compost Garden Giant Bed – The landowner was interested in establishing a simple means for producing edible mushroom spawn that could be installed around the property in the coming years. Our go-to mushroom was easily Garden Giant (Stropharia rugosoannulata aka SRA) as this species is easy to grow on a wide range of substrates. In the property’s hoophouse, two 4′ tall hot compost piles were built with wheat straw and cow manure. On top of these compost materials a perforated cardboard buffer was laid in a circular shape and a woodchip / SRA sawdust spawn sandwich was installed. In the coming months this mushroom bed will myceliate the woodchips up top and eventually travel into the cardboard below. Simultaneously, the compost will heat up and reach an internal temperature of around 140ºF for 6-8 weeks, effectively warming the SRA bed and extending the growing season as the mycelium establishes prior to the coming cold months of winter. As the compost eventually begins to cool, the SRA will migrate from the top layer of woodchips into the compost pile (SRA is a secondary decomposer that prefers partially digested substrates). The compost will ultimately become infused with this incredible garden mushroom’s mycelium. When the compost is laid around the land next spring, this companion mushroom will follow in tow to build top soil, channel nutrients and water in the environment, and support plant health as it establishes across the local landscape.
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Stacking functions: King Stropharia mushroom bed on a hot compost pile

Stacking the Funk-tions: Elm Oysters on Reed Canary Grass – Two things were abundant on the property that piqued our cultivation function stacking interests. The edible and remediative Elm Oyster (Hypsizygus ulmarius) mushroom was found growing prodigiously on the property as was the common weed known as Reed Canary Grass (RCG), which we found dominating the old pasture on site. We decided to make use of the RCG (seeing it as an abundant local substrate) by inoculating it with the Elm Oyster, a vigorous species known for its ability to consume a wide variety of substrates. We harvested a basket of these local mushrooms and collected their spores to make a simple “spore slurry” inoculum. Simultaneously, the RCG was harvested and prepared for inoculation by means of fermentation. Once the grass was prepared, the spore slurry was applied by packing the straw in plastic containers and pouring the spore slurry evenly throughout the packing process. In the coming weeks, the mushroom spores will germinate and fuse, forming numerous distinct genetic strains that will develop into diverse mycelial networks to digest the RCG. As these numerous strains grow out, some will stand out in the vigor and tenacity. The strains that fruit most heavily can then be isolated by the landowner. Repeating this spore slurry process with these superior strains in subsequent trials will essentially “speed up evolution” leading to the development of a “super-strain” of the Elm Oyster that will fruit exceptionally well on this locally abundant substrate.

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10706632_1550678755146234_1708386854_n          Hypsizygus ulmarius spore prints                  Preparing Reed Canary Grass for fermentation

The Oak Leaf – A simple, symbolic King Stropharia mushroom bed was installed in a depression in the land downhill from a culvert. Designed in the shape of an oak leaf, this bed was created to honor the dominant tree species on the land and to reflect the value of this wood type in mushroom cultivation. (The density and richness of oak has long been noted to be a superior wood for cultivation of several species such as Shiitake).

10723758_964375643576428_236557124_nHypsizygus ulmarius was found in abundance on the property

Spawning Mycelial Networks

While workshops and installations are the central feature of the Radical Mycology Convergences, there is another, perhaps even more important theme that runs throughout the weekend as well: community building. Knowing the difficulty that can come with studying mycology and mushroom cultivation, the RMC organizers worked intentionally throughout the weekend to help encourage the development of friendships and alliances amongst attendees that will extend beyond the 5 days of the gathering. By camping, cooking, eating, learning, and engaging in discussions together, participants were readily able to meet future cohorts and know that others shared their excitement (and confusion) around working with the fungal kingdom.

On the Sunday of the RMC, a break out discussion was held where participants gathered by region to brainstorm how the skills they learned at the RMC could be applied in their communities. By the end of the discussions, several new Radical Mycology groups had formed to take the skills of grassroots mycology back to their home towns and bioregions. Spawning mycelial networks of collaboration amongst attendees, the 3rd Radical Mycology Convergence has helped increase awareness around the fact that anyone can grow mushrooms for food, medicine, and the benefit of environmental resilience. And there is no better time to join this movement than now.


Thank you!

A big thank you goes out to everyone who presented, supported, sponsored, volunteered, threw down, or otherwise helped co-create this year’s Radical Mycology Convergence. This year’s RMC would not have been such a success without all of your input and collaboration. Thank you to Shawndra Miller for writing up two great reviews of the RMC (here and here) and to Jessie Robertson for his write up here.

See you all at the next RMC!

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Mush love getting served up in the Kit-Chanterelle               Sunday night’s barn dance


Montreal x Remediation x Radical Mycology

Geoffroy

Geoffroy Renaud-Grignon, founder of Champignons Maison and Mycélium Rémedium in Montreal, was recently featured in a great radio-essay by Alexandre Touchette, called Cultiver des Champignons en Ville. In the 15 minute piece, Geoffroy talks about his small business that produces spawn and oyster kits on salvaged coffee grounds as well as his work in mycoremediation of post-industrial sites with the goal of creating green spaces for urban gardening. Geoffroy will serve as translator for the upcoming Radical Mycology workshops to be held in Montreal, on September 18, as a part of the Radical Mycology tour.