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Fungi are found throughout the world, often playing critical roles at the center of all ecological webs. As culturally important foods and medicines, as well as instigators of religious practices, they have been intimately tied to the development and spread of human societies. And yet, despite their numerous influences on the history of the world, fungi are completely disregarded by the majority of people today.
In 2006 Peter McCoy co-founded Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the many valuable ways to work with fungi for personal, societal, and ecological health. Nearly a decade later, McCoy has written Radical Mycology to share the wide array of skills and insights that have arisen from the organization’s international work to advance the science of appropriately applied mycology. Shattering commonly held beliefs on the value of the Fungal Queendom, Radical Mycology definitively explores the many reasons that fungi should no longer be ignored but instead honored and embraced for the many gifts they offer. The result is the most comprehensive and accessible book on the various aspects of mycology—the science of fungi—ever published.
Interwoven with insights into the incredible traits of fungi, Radial Mycology begins with chapters that explore the uniqueness of fungal biology, the critical ecological roles of micro and macro fungi, how to safely identify mushrooms, the value of lichens as medicines and indicators of environmental quality, and the significant influences that fungi have held on the evolution of human cultures. With this foundation laid, the reader is then equipped to work with the fungi directly. Techniques for making potent fungal medicines, growing fermenting fungi for food, and easily cultivating mushrooms with recycled tools (and yet still achieving lab-quality results) are explored in-depth. Subsequent chapters grow far beyond the limits of other books on mushrooms. Detailed information on the principles and practices of natural mushroom farming—largely influenced by the design system of permaculture—is presented along with extensive information on cultivating mycorrhizal fungi and the science of mycoremediation, the application of fungi to mitigate pollution in the environment and in our homes. The book ends with deeper insights into the social effects that fungi present from the reflection of mycelial networks in the design of whole societies to a rigorous examination of the history of psychoactive fungi.
Written for the beginner as well as the experienced mycologist, Radical Mycology is an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in Do-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Together) homesteading, community organizing, food security, natural medicine, grassroots bioremediation, and the evolution of human-fungal-ecological relations. More than a book on mushrooms, Radical Mycology is a call to ally with the fungi in all efforts to spawn a healthier world. Illustrated by the author and heavily referenced, this unprecedented book will undoubtedly remain a classic for generations to come.
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Praise for Radical Mycology
“…[T]he best work on medical mushrooms that exists in print. It is, well, incredible.”
– Stephen Buhner, author of Sacred Plant Medicine, Sacred & Healing Herbals Beers, and Healing Lyme
“What an amazing compendium! Radical Mycology is filled with provocative ideas and practical information for DIY projects. This is a great resource for anyone fascinated by the ubiquitous world of fungi and wishing to broaden their understanding of this important realm. Be prepared to totally geek out on fungi.”
– Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation and Wild Fermentation
“Radical Mycology translates the knowledge of an obscure and marginalized discipline into a science for the people. From strategies for food production and soil decontamination to an exploration of fungal ecology and bioprocesses, Radical Mycology will empower all manner of citizen ecological activists with the tools to build critical mycological alliances.”
– Scott Kellogg, author of Toolbox for Sustainable City Living
“From food to medicine to remediation, the fungal kingdom provides a host of beneficial uses for people and the ecosystems we depend on, and McCoy illustrates the great potential of increasing our understanding of these fascinating organisms. Radical Mycology is a must read for those seeking to deepen their appreciation for these critical components of terrestrial ecology.”
– Tao Orion, author of Beyond the War on Invasive Plants
“Radical Mycology is a must for believers, and an end for non-believers. Peter McCoy indulges the reader into the depths of the mystical, spiritual, technical and practical aspects of all things fungal in one of the most elaborate mycological reads I’ve ever come across.”
– Giuliana Furci, founder of The Fungi Foundation and author of Fungi of Chile
“Peter McCoy has given us a bold container and nutritious substrate. May we digest this substrate’s food and carry our metabolic energy into the field, the forest and the streets, for indeed, the mycelium is the message.”
– Nance Klehm, author of The Ground Rules
“Simply stated, no personal, professional, community, college, or university library Mycology/Fungi instructional reference collection will be either complete or comprehensive without the inclusion of Peter McCoy’s superbly written, deftly organized and exceptionally well presented Radical Mycology.”
– Midwest Book Review
“Peter McCoy has written a textbook on mycology. He thoroughly and articulately describes the world of fungi from evolution to cultural use to biological cycle to cultivation and beyond. For many mushroom lovers, their enjoyment of our fungal friends stops at the kitchen counter. Some many extend their interest to mushroom hunting. Those of us with a scientific glint in our eyes want more and McCoy provides more. Much more.”
– The Practical Herbalist
“In Radical Mycology we have a book that covers the world of fungi from mushroom ketchup to mycoremediation, and all with a passionate, entertaining and very readable writing style.”
– Milkwood Permaculture