Soon I’ll be on my way to this weekend’s Radical Mycology Convergence, an annual gathering of citizen scientists, mushroom enthusiasts, and other earth-loving types. It’s all about learning how to heal the earth by partnering with fungi.
“The Radical Mycology project revolves around just this philosophy: that by studying, working with, and learning from the fungal kingdom, humans can best find solutions to problems of personal, societal, and ecological health.”
I mentioned before that I had a chance to help Peter and other radical mycologists with an installation of bioluminescent mushroom mycelium this summer in Olympia, WA. Here’s a bit more about that experience to whet your appetite for the convergence.
We used both “plug spawn” and “chip spawn” of a mushroom called panellus stipticus.
Panellus is not known for remediative properties, but for its ability to—seriously—glow in the dark.
I saw this bioluminescence for myself when I took a section of inoculated burlap home. Tiny mushrooms had emerged on the outside of the “chip spawn” bag, and they did indeed glow in the dark. One of the coolest things I’ve seen in a long time.
We used inoculated wood chips to make a path around an herb garden.
The hope is that on dark nights, visitors to the Commons at Fertile Ground will see a faintly glowing path. (And check the size of that rosemary plant in the photo above. That’s the Pacific Northwest for you.)
The dowel bits went into a freshly cut red alder log. Eventually the log itself should glow, or it may even pop out with little glowing mushrooms.
Peter emphasized that the same techniques could be used in a mycoremediation project, or to grow mushrooms as food or medicine.
I’m so looking forward to learning more this weekend—it promises to be a deep immersion in all things mycological. A sampling of workshops:
- Liquid Culture will Change the World
- Direct Action for Myco-Activists
- Permaculture for Radicals
The leaders will be guiding us through several onsite remediation projects. Other attractions: a Passion Show, culture/spore swap, and “forays.” Wahoo!
So to get in the spirit, for the first time ever I tried a mushroom called chicken of the woods. Its beautiful orange folds just called to me from the food co-op bin.
I’ve been sauteeing bits of it up with my eggs every day for lunch. I’m finding it a pretty complement to bright orange egg yolks, and it does taste like chicken. So here’s to trying new things.
Note: Registration is still open for the Radical Mycology Convergence, happening Oct. 9-13 in Orangeville, IL.