People Of Color Influencing Mycology

2 Influential People of Color Making an Impact in the Mycology Field

People Of Color Who Positively Changed The World!


Martin Luther King Jr. was a world-changing leader who paved the way for other civil rights fighters to follow. He opened the door for other visible minorities to use their voice and battle prejudiced societal structures. We now turn to people of color influencing mycology. 

 

In mycology, it’s important to recognize the voices of experts of color. Many surpassed the social limitations that are still prevalent for people of color today. These two valuable members are surpassing the standards of mycology and environmentalism, which will hopefully inspire more people of color to feel free to share their voice and make changes in these fields.  

 

These are some valuable visible minority figures who are emerging in the mycology movement:

Tamara Toles O’Laughlin

An environmentalist, Ms. Toles O’Laughlin is directing her fighting efforts towards the fossil fuel industry. She has been recently named 350.org’s new North American Director. In her new role, she has worked to call out systemic racism and exclusivity by the government. Furthermore, she is striving to evoke their action so the fight against climate change can gain more traction, therefore saving the world’s ecosystems.

William Padilla-Brown

He taught himself how to practice mycology, and now, William Padilla-Brown wants to make fungi accessible to the communities around him. This is especially for those of color who do not have the privilege to afford to learn about mycology or luxury fungi products from home growers. At 25 years old, he has already published a book on mycology. He also organizes an annual festival to educate his community to help them start their own sustainable mushroom growth and enjoyment. 

 

While it’s inspiring to have these role models for people of color in the permaculture, mycology, and environmental realms, it’s evident that there is still work to be done. Information around these fields needs to become more accessible to less-privileged minority communities so that more diverse voices will rise with new outlooks and innovative ideas. Follow us and in 2021 and celebrate people of color influencing mycology!

Pollinator Birds Saving The Environment

Mushrooms Save Bees? Pollinator Birds Save the Environment?

Can Mushrooms Save the Bees?

Paul Stamets’ Host Defense’s team and Washington State University published their research in Nature’s Scientific Reports. Mycelium extracts of polypore mushrooms (Reishi and Amadou) have been shown to confer an immune benefit to bees. As pollinators go, bees are one of the most critical players in food security globally.

“The results look very promising and worth investigating further,” says Dr. Renata Borba, a researcher at Beaverlodge, Canada.

 

HIVEOPOLIS in the UK continues to take the study further stating “there are combined functionalities that can be extracted from mushroom mycelium to provide a therapeutic environment primarily for honeybees, and as a consequence for human beings. Our approach is to fuse the medicinal (anti-viral, immune-boosting, etc) and building-related (mechanical, structural, thermal) performance of mycomaterials.”

Environmental Healing & Pollination

Fantastic Fungi believes in focusing on supporting our earth and finding solutions.

Without pollinators like the bees, existing populations of plants would decline, even if soil, air, nutrients, and other life-sustaining elements were available.

Pollinator Birds for the Environment 

What many folks may not be aware of are the many ways that pollinator birds also improve the wellbeing of our environment.

The world is filled with thousands of birds that are involved in flower pollination. By soaking in nectar from one plant and transferring it to another, they contribute to plant fertilization. In doing this, bird pollinators are expanding the earth’s wildlife coverage and improving the ecosystem. They are vital members of said ecosystem. 

Hummingbird

These little fleeting birds have the right thin tubular bills that are perfect for pollination.  Usually no larger than 5 inches in size, they’re small compact birds with speedy, fleeting wings that help them hover over plants as they transfer nectar from flower to flower. They’re commonly found in the Americas and prefer vibrant colored flowers of reds, pinks, fuchsias, oranges, and yellows.

Honeyeaters

With strong vocal muscles, these are members of the songbird family. They have bills that slope down and a tongue that’s developed for nectar suction.  

Honeycreepers

Crested honeycreepers are loyal pollinators. They’ll return to the same flowers again and again for their nectar source, carrying traces of it to other plants that need the sustenance. 

Flower-peckers

Another type of songbird, these birds choose to visit shrubbery and other greenery along with small fruits. Their bills are sharp and fine-pointed, and their brush-tipped tongues are perfectly equipped for sharing juices and nectars.

Sunbirds

With thin bills curved downwards, sunbirds, also known as spiderhunters, are smaller, slender birds that rely on nectar and insects for food. They will intake the liquids from fruits and puncture any plants for their nectar supply if it is difficult to access.

These birds must have enough wildlife to support themselves. They need the efforts of people to restore and protect their habitat so they can continue to feed the ecosystem. This year make sure to focus on getting back to nature while helping pollinator birds saving the environment!

We are all connected. From the anti-viral properties of mycelium to protect our bees to the pollinating benefits of birds, we believe in working towards solutions that improve sustainability and the environment.

Paul Stamets and Joe Rogan: A Shift in Consciousness

There is a shift in consciousness happening around the world, and it begins with people sharing nature’s message for humanity. 

Paul Stamets has appeared twice on The Joe Rogan Experience, introducing millions of listeners to nature’s intelligence and the magic beneath our feet. In his most recent visit, Paul explained why the Fantastic Fungi film is so important during these deeply transitional times. 

“These theaters are selling out days upon days. There’s a huge response. People have an appetite for this because it gives them hope and meaning and our time of desperation they say actionable solutions that cross political and cultural boundaries that can help the commons.” 

Paul Stamets’ Transformation

During his first interview with Joe Rogan, Stamets retold the story of his first magic mushroom trip, a transformational moment for the mycologist.

Throughout his life, Stamets had struggled with a stuttering problem. He took his first magic mushroom dose as a young man and described how the psychedelic experience changed his life.

After eating an entire bag of mushrooms, Stamets climbed a high tree in the middle of a powerful thunderstorm. “I was up there and I felt in touch with Gaia and the universe,” he explained. “My heart opened up I felt one with all. I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is such a powerful spiritual experience.” 

As the storm raged around him, Stamets began to wrestle with his stuttering problem. “I said to myself, ‘Stop stuttering now. Stop stuttering now.’ I said that dozens, hundreds of times. Over and over and over.”

Once the psychedelic journey had ended, Stamets no longer had a problem with his stutter. Stamets ended the story with an explanation of the healing power of fungi: “It has been medically proven that we can reset the neurology of the human brain through neurogenesis. I believe that experience allowed me to map new neurological pathways.”

 You can see that story brought to life in the Fantastic Fungi.

Watch the film today at this link!

 The BeeMushroomed Feeder 

On the Joe Rogan Experience, Stamets also discussed his patent-pending BeeMushroomed Feeder (BMF).

“We have found that this mushroom is extremely powerful for reducing viruses that harm bees,” said Stamets. Developed through Fungi Perfecti, this feeder delivers bees a proprietary mycelium extract that helps bees “sustain their natural health in this time of crisis.”

Watch the feeder in action at Moving Art!

 

While the feeder is still in development, you can join the mailing list and get your own feeder when distribution begins.

“Citizen scientists all over the world can take action to be able to help bee colonies from collapsing,” Stamets explained. “Bees can pollinate up to a thousand flowers a day … Every almond you eat was visited by a bee.”

Mushroom Pies For The Holidays

Mushroom Pies to Share With Your Loved Ones These Holidays

Ever Ma
The holidays are approaching, and the stress of choosing the right dish to bring your family starts creeping nearer. Without a plan of what to bring, you may find yourself in a panic. Try something new this year with mushroom pies for the holidays!

 

Show your family and friends that you love them by bringing a luscious mushroom pie to your next holiday meal. They’ll know you care because you’re sharing the many tastes and health benefits that mushrooms offer. 

 

These are some available delicious mushroom pie recipes that your family will be grateful for and beg you to keep bringing to future holiday dinners:

Elegant Mushroom Pie

Bring this buttery, elevated pie to the table. With baby bella mushrooms, plenty of herbs, and flavoring, this creamy savory pie will have everyone at the dinner going for a second serving.

Magic Mushroom Quiche

 

A cousin of the pie family, this quiche, stuffed with magic mushrooms, will serve as a wonderful hit these holidays. With black trumpet chanterelles as the main staple, this rich dish is a true knockout. It’s great for that holiday brunch with friends.

Mighty Mushroom Pie- Meat-Free Magic

This pie is full of all the right, satisfying ingredients that will leave an unforgettable mark on your loved ones. It’s a great option if there will be vegetarians at the meal. In its center, you’ll be including flavorful and filling baby chestnut mushrooms, along with dried porcini mushrooms. 

Mushroom and Leek Pie

If you need to feed any vegans, this is the perfect pie. It’s packed with mouth-watering savory flavors as the leek, garlic, oils and other components complement the tasty chestnut mushroom base. Watch your loved ones sink their forks into the crunchy crust as they indulge in your dish.

 

Give the gift of delicious mushrooms these holidays by contributing one of these pie recipes to your celebratory feast! After trying them, you may just want to celebrate every year with mushroom pies for the holidays! 

Mushrooms In Pop Culture Classics

The Significance of Mushrooms in These Pop Culture Classics

Mushrooms In Pop Culture Classics

Have you managed to spot all of the mushrooms in pop culture classics? Particularly in science fiction, these fungi present themselves as a commonly beneficial aid to the main character. From video games like the Mario franchise to famed literary works and classic movies, the message is clear: medicinal mushrooms offer healing powers that keep driving the character forward.

Need some proof? These are some examples of mushrooms appearing in media that suggest their positive attributes to a person’s wellbeing:

The Super Mario Franchise

In these classic video games, mushrooms are valuable and provided as a reward to Mario and friends. They offer strength, speed, and a boost of health in times of need. When Mario finds a mushroom, he grows in size and becomes stronger. In Mario Kart, a mushroom gives the go-cart engine a boost. Mushrooms are a core feature of this franchise that support our favorite main characters. 

Anna Karenina

In this novel by Leo Tolstoy, mushroom hunting influences the children’s behavior as they enjoy this activity. These also become an important symbol for Sergei, who struggles to navigate romantic relationships, but finds better refuge in talking about mushrooms and gathering them.

Alice in Wonderland

It has been suggested that Lewis Caroll filled Alice’s journey with hallucinogens. One of these includes the magical mushrooms that change Alice’s size, much like Mario in his franchise. Alice takes her first bite of the mushroom and grows too tall. However, when she takes her next dose, she finds moderation and returns to the right size to continue her journey through Wonderland.

 

Other Mushroom References 

Other works worth mentioning that include mushrooms are H.G. Wells’ The Purple Pileus, Disney’s Fantasia, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and more. They’re out there, so enjoy the hunt for your favorite fungi making their presence known in sci-fi and other pop culture. Let us know where else you have seen mushrooms in pop culture classics!

Must Read Mushroom Books In 2021

Four of the Best Books About Mushrooms to Read In 2021

The Best Mushroom Books In 2021 

As the dawn of 2021 approaches, it’s time to start evaluating how to expand one’s comfort zone and try something life-changing in the new year. Read on to find out a few of the best mushroom books of 2021!

Mushrooms can open the mind and offer numerous health benefits in ways that are difficult to access from other resources. However, it’s helpful to have a stronger understanding of these and mycology in general before getting started. 

4 Helpful Books For Those Intrigued By Mushroom Use In 2021:

1. Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World by Paul Stamets

A leader of the family-run business, Fungi Perfecti, mycologist Paul Stamets promotes the use of medicinal mushrooms and shares the supporting evidence that outlines their many benefits.

2. Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora

This guide is stacked with hundreds of images and classifications of mushrooms and fungi for any curious outsider or prospective mushroom user. This is a beginner-friendly manual educating readers on proper ways to cook or prepare mushrooms for indulging in their benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

3. DIY Mushroom Cultivation by Willoughby Arevalo

In this book, the reader will find step by step instructions on how to grow their own supply of mushrooms. It offers insight for those growing on a budget and shares important information about fungi and their suitable climates. This guide also covers the topics of permaculture and natural medicine. Definitely one of the Best Mushroom Books in 2021.

4. Healing Mushrooms: A Practical and Culinary Guide to Using Mushrooms for Whole Body Health by Tero Isokauppila

Tero Isokauppila hopes to share the wise practices involved in mushroom use from the past so more people can use them for today. In his book, readers will find helpful recipes for their mushroom enjoyment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The benefits of ingesting mushrooms are known to include boosted immunity, improved cognitive function, and more. By learning the how-to’s and details of mycology, new users can prepare for their 2021 mushroom journey.

 

After checking out our best mushroom books of 2021, you will be ready! And as we embark on this new year, we’ll be adding many many more to the list! 

Share your favorite Mushroom Books with us.

Mushroom Books
Holiday Mushroom Decorations

Get Festive with Mushroom Holiday Crafts & Decor

Decorating With Mushrooms?

When you think about decorating your home for the holidays, you probably don’t think about mushrooms first and foremost. However, mushrooms can be a great source of inspiration when it comes to decorating a tree or a mantle. We’re not recommending that you plop some live mushrooms on your table and call it done. Instead, be inspired by the colors and forms of nature’s magical mushrooms to deck the halls. It’s easy to get festive with Mushroom holiday crafts and decor.

If you’re a knitter, it’s easy to knit yourself some soft and colorful mushrooms. These would make a great display in a small basket on your kitchen table. Knit a few extras and give them to friends and family to brighten up their winter table. For the very committed crafter, you could challenge yourself to knit an entire box of mushrooms that you could link together into a chain. This would make a lovely decoration for a Yule or Christmas tree, along with other nature-based ornaments.

Anyone Can Do It

For people who don’t know how to knit, felting is a very accessible way to create colorful handmade decorations. Simply gather up some bits of felt or head to your closet (or the thrift store) to look for raw materials. Follow the instructions to create a small, colorful felted mushroom. If you’re feeling fancy, affix a few beads on the top to give a bit of sparkle. Use small clear beads to give a bit of a frosty glint to your ornaments.

Alas, there are many people who just don’t have a creative bone in their body. However, this doesn’t have to stop you from having fun with craft supplies! Try saving your wine corks all year round or collect them from friends in advance of the holidays. Simply grab a paintbrush along with some red and white paint, and you’re all set to create festive looking ornaments.

To be environmentally friendly, try to use craft supplies that are already laying around your home. Reused materials can be the inspiration for heartfelt gifts, and mushrooms can be the bearer of the message of interconnectedness for friends and family in the holiday season. Hopefully now you are ready to get festive with mushroom holiday crafts and decor.

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Vilseskogen

Mushrooms in Snow Melt

Mushrooming on the Mountaintops

Get Ready For National Mountain Day!

December 11 is National Mountain Day! This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the mountain ranges and hilltops near you. Mountains are very spiritual places. People head to the outdoors to connect with nature and feel at one with the world. Mountains, in particular, are representative of deep wisdom. Many spiritual legends tell the story of enlightened ones who perch on top of the mountain and offer advice to people below. Here are some expert tips if you ever go mushrooming on the mountaintops! 

 

If you’re heading out to celebrate the mountains today, you might want to keep an eye out for mushrooms. There are a variety of fungi that can be found on the rocky, craggy peaks of mountains. Here are some mushrooms you might discover on your summit adventure.

Different Varieties Of Mushrooms

As you pass by the treeline, you may spot bracket fungus. These mushrooms grow horizontally off the side of dead and dying tree trunks. They look a bit like a soft brown frisbee embedded in the tree. Don’t eat these mushrooms. Just admire their rippling colors and pass on by.

 

If you’re lucky, you might stumble upon the famed Amanita mushroom. These are bright red with small white dots on the cap. They are also highly poisonous! You might find them under aspen trees or other conifers, growing about five inches high.

 

For the passionate foragers out there, you should keep a wary eye out for morels while you’re traversing the mountains. These mushrooms have a dark, rippled, honeycomb-like cap that looks a bit like a cone. They especially like to grow beneath cottonwoods and other deciduous trees. Morels are typically found in early spring, so you won’t find any in mid-December.

 

Either way, get out there and enjoy some fresh air at the top of a mountain today. At least plot your springtime adventures when the weather gets calmer. Remember, mountain-climbing is not only about what you can see in the distance. If you remember to look down at your feet every once in a while, you might just discover a trove of mushrooms waiting for you. Make sure to add mushrooming on the mountaintops to your bucket list! 

 

Connection Between Christmas and Mushrooms

The Interesting Connection Between Christmas and Mushrooms

What Do Mushrooms Have To Do With Christmas?

The legend of Santa Claus has some deep ties to mushrooms. You might already know about the ways that the Coca Cola company utilized the character of Santa Claus to sell soda. But they also extrapolated from historic legends and characters from Northern European countries. Read on to see the interesting connection between Christmas and mushrooms.

Holiday eCard

Before you finish reading up on all of these Christmas connections below, we invite you to download this Holiday eCard from Fantastic Fungi, celebrating the connection between Amanita Muscaria and these wonderful holiday stories.

Happy Holidays from Fantastic Fungi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How Christmas Started

Originally, the figure of Santa Claus came from the Nordic countries. In this region, Arctic shamans used to dole out psychedelic mushrooms as part of their winter solstice celebrations. They dressed in red clothing with white spots, similar to Amanita mushrooms. People enjoyed a magical experience and communed with nature on the night of the solstice. Just like Santa enters homes through the chimney, Arctic shamans typically entered snow-blocked homes through an opening in the roof.

Nordic shamans had a deep connection with reindeer as well. They were generally recognized as the spirit animals for the shamans. Under the influence of magic mushrooms, it’s easy to see how someone could hallucinate flying reindeer beneath a beautiful night sky in December.

 

There’s another interesting connection between mushrooms and the tradition of gift-giving at Christmastime. Most people put up an evergreen tree inside their homes to mark the holiday. Gifts are wrapped and placed underneath the tree. Mushrooms also tend to grow at the base of trees, where decaying organic matter can feed the fungi. It’s more than a coincidence that people leave red and white presents underneath their pine trees on Christmas.

This year, honor the history of Nordic shamans at Christmas. Create some delightful mushroom-shaped ornaments to hang on your tree and share the story of the Arctic mystics who delivered gifts in the middle of the night, assisted by their sleigh and reindeer. Spread your newfound knowledge of the connection between Christmas and mushrooms!

 

Paul Stamets Explains Mushrooms & Christmas

 

More great video content to watch!

Joe Rogan “Santa Was a Mushroom”

After Skool

Check out this hilarious animation from After Skool that really packs a punch.

Get Your Mushrooms at a CSA

How To Find Local Mushrooms

Fungi for a Sustainable World

Fungi for a Sustainable World

What Is CSA?

CSA is the acronym for community supported agriculture. It’s a model of farming whereby members of the local community invest their money in advance of the growing season.

This helps farmers plan their crops and purchase the right amount of seeds and supplies. Then, when the crops are ready for harvest, the original community investors can pick up weekly bundles of fresh produce as a return on their investment.

This link from the USDA Local Food Directory can help you find farms near you with mushrooms.

CSAs are a great way to support local food systems. They can also be a cheap way to access fresh produce that you don’t have the time to grow yourself or can’t find in the grocery store. Many of these farms are beginning to offer mushrooms in addition to the more traditional fruit, vegetable, and grain crops. 

Help Your Local Farmers!

Now that it’s foraging season, mushrooms are beginning to appear in farm shares and on the menu at local restaurants across the country.

On Instagram, Fantastic Fungi readers all shared their favorite local purveyors of mushrooms.

Sno-Valley Mushrooms: “Transmogrifying wood to food! We are Seattle and King County WA’s mushroom farm!” (added by reader gravityliftgoff)

Northbeach Mushrooms: “Locally Grown Gourmet Mushrooms in Orcas Island, Washington.” (added by reader jessseca)

Hamakua Mushrooms : “Our Mushrooms are Exotic & Delicious:: Grown on the Hamakua Coast on Hawaii Island.” (Added by reader officialwhiteravencreations)

Turkey Tail Farm: Producers of gourmet mushrooms, cut flowers, pasture-raised, organically fed poultry and fowl, naturally raised pork, grass-fed lamb. Butte CA (added by reader cheetovski)

Sundown Mushrooms: “A gourmet mushroom farm & maker of mushroom things in the heart of the Las Vegas valley. Green advocate of regenerative micro-industries.” (Added by reader saras_jeans)

Chef Sebastian Carosi: “Cooking with and advocating full spectrum clean cannabis consumption through food since the early nineties.” (added by cjasquith)

Mycoterra Farm “Gourmet mushrooms, grown and sold locally in Western Mass.” (Added by reader bennys_traveldaze)

Ash Tree Farms:  “We are a small mushroom farm in Vancouver, WA. We are dedicated to growing beautiful and delicious gourmet mushrooms.” (added by chef_sebastian_carosi)

1000 Stone Farm: “Organic vegetables, eggs, fruit, & mushroom farm in Central Vermont, find us through our CSA, on Farmstore, wholesale, & Burlington Farmers Market.” (Added by exuberanceinmotion)

Autumn Harvest: “We sell a variety of fresh mushrooms and dried mushroom products on farmersmarket and mushrooms (added by reader vorvrestaurant)

Local Mushrooms Are the Best

Reach out to your local farms on this database and ask if they offer mushrooms. Some of them even offer guided excursions to discover your own mushrooms hidden in the farm’s landscape. However, many farms grow mushrooms in logs and well-ordered sheds in order to control and predict their inventory.

It’s important to support local agriculture so that we don’t fall victim to a monoculture. Every region of the country has unique flora and fauna that contribute to a specific flavor palette. When you only purchase food from large producers at big box grocery stores, you’re taking money away from local farmers who may be investing in heritage seeds and sustainable farming practices.

Mushrooms have a long history of secrecy among foragers, who tend to keep their favorite locations hidden from laypeople. If you’d like to support local agriculture but didn’t hop on the bandwagon in time for a produce basket, call up your local farm today and ask about mushrooms. This is your chance to get your mushrooms at a CSA.

 

William Padilla Brown - Meet These Mushroom Entrepreneurs

Meet These Mushroom Entrepreneurs

When is National Entrepreneurs Day?


On November 17, it’s National Entrepreneurs Day! It’s important to celebrate entrepreneurs. They bring innovation and creativity to everyday problems, working outside the box to solve some of society’s most challenging issues. Many entrepreneurs go through several failed attempts to launch a business before they find success. But great entrepreneurs know that failure is just part of the process, and they learn from every experience along the way. We will help you meet these mushroom entrepreneurs.

Some entrepreneurs are especially focused on fungi projects. Fungi have a variety of social, ecological, and nutritional benefits that make them very interesting topics for research. Ancient peoples have used mushrooms as medicinal and ritual tools for millennia. Modern peoples are just beginning to catch up to ancient knowledge, and scientists are applying all the modern scientific tools to demonstrate just how powerful mushrooms really are.

Important Fungi Entrepreneurs

Paul Stamets is one of the most well-known citizen scientists working on fungi projects. Based in Washington State, Stamets and his team are changing the world by cultivating and studying the effects of mushrooms. As an author, he writes about the role of mushrooms in healthy ecosystems and encourages people to incorporate the lessons of fungi into their daily lives.

You can find out more about Paul by watching Fantastic Fungi and you can see his great Joe Rogan appearance here:

“Citizen scientists all over the world can take action to be able to help bee colonies from collapsing,” Stamets explained. “Bees can pollinate up to a thousand flowers a day … Every almond you eat was visited by a bee.”

William Padilla Brown is one of the most active fungi entrepreneurs today. Brown is a mushroom researcher and farmer who grew up traveling and benefited from a non-traditional education. He runs a company devoted to studying mycoremediation and exploring the ways that mushrooms can be used for medicinal and food production purposes around the globe. Brown regularly leads workshops and contributes written content to major publications.

He told his story in Fantastic Fungi:

“I was a city kid, I just played video games. My parents never really took me on hikes or went outside. So finding mushrooms to me was like a spiritual journey.”

Finally, there are groups supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs. In our How To Support African American Farmers post, you can find ways to donate to organizations helping future leaders.

Citizen scientists are some of the most important entrepreneurs working today. You may not hear about them on Forbes or in The Wall Street Journal, but their work is changing the world one experiment at a time. Celebrate National Entrepreneurs Day by exploring the work of these fungi scientists today.

We hope after reading this article, you get a chance to meet these mushroom entrepreneurs!

Relationship Between Soil and Fungi

The Powerful Relationship Between Soil and Fungi

What Is Soil?

Soil is the rich material that makes agriculture possible. It’s very different from dirt. Soil is also present in natural ecosystems, nurturing plant life with decaying material which then feeds animals in a virtuous circle of life. On the other hand, dirt is dead. Many people don’t give a second thought to soil because they’re so focused on the plants that grow out of the dirt. But unhealthy soil is a recipe for ecological disaster. Read on to learn more about the powerful relationship between soil and fungi.

What Relationship Does Fungi Have With Soil?

Fungi play a key role in keeping soil healthy. Mycelial networks can break down difficult material and transform it into nutrients for burgeoning ecosystems. Without an active collection of fungi, forests wouldn’t be able to process all that organic material fast enough. The forest floor would quickly become covered with dried leaves and fallen twigs, and plants wouldn’t have a fighting chance. Instead, fungi break down this material so that plants can easily digest it as nutrients.

 

In addition to their daily role in nourishing the forest’s soil, fungi play a key role in rescuing ecosystems from human-caused disasters. For instance, some types of fungi can break down harsh chemical and oil spills. This is a process known as mycoremediation. Scientists are still learning about how mushrooms are capable of breaking down such difficult material. But they don’t need to understand the specifics to put fungi to work in resolving climate disasters.

On December 5, people around the world will mark World Soil Day. Take a moment to educate yourself about the role that mushrooms play in creating healthy soil. Hopefully now you understand the powerful relationship between soil and fungi. When you realize that fungi play a key role in feeding the forest and feeding your family, you might start celebrating world soil day every day!

What Is STEM?

Here’s How to Use Mushrooms to Teach STEM

What Is STEM?

We celebrated National STEM Day on November 8! The STEM acronym stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These are the areas of study that future citizens will need to understand in order to be creative and contributing members of society.

This week, teachers around the world are highly focused on delivering quality STEM education to students of all ages. 

Start your journey with a Fantastic Fungi Field trip, part of Fungi Day 2020.

It’s possible to teach STEM lessons via virtual lessons as well as in a real-life classroom. The natural world provides immeasurable opportunities to explore how math and science affect the world around us. Teachers are heroes who are constantly innovating and researching new ways to teach kids. 

In an age where climate change is poorly understood by many adults, it’s critical that the next generation builds the skills necessary to understand and combat harmful environmental activities. Kids as young as five can begin to learn about science with simple experiments and research trips to the backyard. Older children can explore physics and chemistry, or build marshmallow houses to understand engineering. 

How To Teach STEM

Mushrooms and other fungi are a wonderful way to showcase the power of nature to young children. Here are some resources to help parents and teachers with STEM lesson plans for children. 

  • The Fantastic Fungi curriculum is available online. It provides lesson plans, videos, and other content inspired by the popular documentary. Teachers and students can access content about mushrooms, natural habitats, experiment outlines, and inspirational content that uses fungi to teach ecological interconnectedness to children of all ages.
  • If you’ve got kids who are into icky and yucky stuff, mold-based experiments could be a great way to sneak in some STEM lessons. Anyone can complete these lesson plans at home with just a bit of expired food and some time.

Education can be fun! As we celebrate National STEM Day this month, say a big thank you to the educators in your life. Look to the natural world for inspiration and commit to helping kids advance in the fields of science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Let’s all your free dis family know that it’s National STEM Day!

Celebrate National Cookie Day With Mushrooms?

Celebrate National Cookie Day With Mushrooms?

Are You Ready For National Cookie Day?

The holiday season is all about sweet treats and generosity. December 4 is National Cookie Day, a great excuse to whip up a batch of cookies and take a moment for yourself amidst the hectic vibes of the holidays. But have you ever heard of mushroom cookies? We’re talking about cookies shaped like mushrooms as well as cookies with mushrooms in the dough. Ever wonder how to celebrate National cookie day with mushrooms? Read on to find out more. 

 

Whether you’re baking for yourself or baking for friends, here are some delightful mushroom-inspired recipes to help you celebrate National Cookie Day.

 

One of the most famous mushroom-shaped cookies is made of meringue. Expert bakers recommend only making this recipe on a dry day to help the meringue keep its shape. The first step is to beat egg whites with cream of tartar. Then, you pipe caps and stems into mushroom shapes. Dust them with cocoa powder and bake at a low temperature until firm. These are often used to decorate the traditional French chocolate roll cake, the buche de noel.

 

You can also create a mushroom-shaped with this recipe, which uses cornstarch and cocoa powder to create realistic-looking mushroom caps that also taste delicious. Children will probably enjoy these cookies more than meringue cookies, although your little ones might surprise you.

Ever Try Cookies Made With Real Mushrooms?

If you’d like to incorporate real mushrooms into the dough of your cookies, try a recipe that uses powdered reishi or lion’s mane. Try these adaptogenic mushroom cookies to add a nourishing boost to your classic chocolate Christmas cookies. You’ll also need raw cacao to create a deep and rich chocolatey flavor. If you want to give people a hint about what’s inside, make sure you purchase fresh, raw enoki mushrooms to press into the dough as a finishing touch.

 

The next time you are out getting back to nature, why not go foraging for mushrooms to make some cookies? The holidays are a great time to slow down and enjoy the pleasures of the season. Try whipping up some mushroom-inspired baked goods on National Cookie Day and share the fruits of your labor with friends and family. Tell us how you are going to celebrate national Cookie Day with mushrooms. 

Get Ready to Fall in Love with Mushroom Cappuccinos

Get Ready to Fall in Love with Mushroom Cappuccinos

A Twist on a Traditional Coffee

Coffee lovers are typically obsessed with caffeine. They love the mental boost that coffee delivers, and they also enjoy the ritual of preparing the drink itself. On November 8, we celebrated National Cappuccino Day, presenting the perfect opportunity to celebrate this delicious coffee beverage. Read on and get ready to fall in love with mushroom cappuccinos!

If you want to explore an unexpected twist on the typical cappuccino, then give the mushroom cappuccino a try, it’s perfect for these cold fall days.

Times of India describes this unexpected recipe:

“Mushroom Cappuccino is, in every way, a soup recipe that is served in the form of a cappuccino. It is easy to make and all you need is a little bit of spice like bay leaf and cinnamon to match the earthiness that the mushrooms and garlic have to give. The texture of the soup comes out to be creamy and oozes out flavours that not only warm your stomach but also your heart.”

How To Make Mushroom Coffee

Ready to try it out? Here’s how you can make a mushroom cappuccino that is light, frothy, and deep with flavor. Soon you’ll be sipping on a tasty dish that will blow your typical cup of coffee out of the water. 

Don’t Forget Mushroom Coffee!

Even if you missed National Cappuccino Day, you can still brew a mushroom coffee and enjoying it on a brisk walk around the block. Make enough to share and you might make some new friends who are impressed with the natural benefits and delicious flavor of mushroom coffee.

Mushroom coffee is growing in popularity. People have realized that they can access the benefits of medicinal mushrooms by blending them into their tasty, daily cup of coffee.

By doing this, they also prevent some of the more harmful side-effects of pure coffee. Some mushroom blends provide a more gradual rise in mental acuity without the harsh drop-off that coffee can deliver.

Happy National Cappuccino Day, and get ready to fall in love with mushroom cappuccinos!

Fantastic fungi fairy ring, The Story Behind Fungi Fairy Rings

The Story Behind Fungi Fairy Rings

What Are Fairy Rings?

If you’ve ever stumbled upon mushrooms growing in a circle shape, you might wonder if you’ve entered a magical land. What makes these fungi grow in a circle? It is aliens, or fairies, or something a bit more straightforward? Researchers found a fairy ring 2,000 feet in diameter in France, a living fungi that is more than 700 years old!

Garden Collage has more about the myths and legends surrounding these magical fungi.

According to many English and Celtic tales, any human who enters a fairy ring will be forced to dance with the creatures, unable to stop until they go mad or perish of exhaustion. Dutch traditions tell of fairy rings that were created by the devil as a place to keep his milk churn, and any livestock that were to enter said circle would suffer the souring of their own milk.

The Science Behind Fairy Rings

There’s actually a very interesting scientific explanation for fairy rings. Read on to see the story behind fungi fairy rings.

The Department of Biology at the University of Utah wrote about how these fairy rings are created by Marasmius oreades, the most well-known fairy ring creating fungi.

“The body of this fungus, its mycelium, is underground. It grows outward in a circle. As it grows, the mycelium uses up all of the nutrients in the soil, starving the grass. This is the reason a fairy ring has dead grass over the growing edge of the mycelium. Umbrella-shaped fruiting bodies, called mushrooms, spring up from just behind the outer edge of the mycelium.”

The phenomenon of fairy rings with mushrooms is related to the way that fungi come to life. Fungi naturally grow in groups out of decaying matter. Margot Cumming, a plant pathology researcher at UW-Madison, described how the fairy rings depend on decay below the surface:

“Fairy rings are caused by certain fungi that feed on decaying organic matter (e.g., tree stumps, logs, leaves or roots) buried in the soil. Growth of fairy ring fungi begins in the center of the ring, expanding outward in a relatively uniform, circular pattern.”

In the cool darkness, mushrooms find the nutrients they need and pop up beneath the dirt.

None of this should make you feel any less magical when you encounter a circle of mushrooms growing in nature. Fungi are a paradigm of interconnectedness and they grow in networks beneath the ground.

Mushrooms are part of a vast underground whisper network, nestled among the tree roots in the dark. They share information about the health of trees and their local ecosystem.

The next time you stumble upon a fairy ring of mushroom with your friends, think twice about spoiling the magic for them immediately. Give them a moment to marvel in the mystery and then reveal the scientific explanation behind this beautiful natural phenomenon.

tall trees in forest

Oregon Voters Support Psilocybin Therapy

After gathering more than 164,000 signatures from voters, Oregon activists have won the vote to bring psilocybin therapy to Oregon “through a licensed, regulated system that supports and protects patients to get them the help they need” inside the Oregon Health Authority.

Mushrooms on the Ballot

In Oregon, this statewide measure to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin gave voters chance to formally support the use of mushrooms. This particular initiative has been under debate for years and was finally approved for the ballot in summer 2020.

For young voters who care about the planet and community health initiatives, this measure was a great reason to head to the polls in Oregon in 2020.

There are other initiatives around the country that aim to legalize the use of mushrooms for therapeutic purposes. California, Michigan, and Colorado are other states that are leading the movement toward legalization and regulation of psilocybin therapy.

In this special video, watch Louie talk with Tom Eckert and Sherri Eckert, the founders of this landmark bill, after a 2019 screening of Fantastic Fungi.

Mushrooms Are a Great Plant-Based Food, and Here’s Why

Are Mushrooms Vegan?

Vegan dishes are not only for vegans. Mushrooms are an excellent source of nutrients, not to mention delicious. 

This month, vegans around the world are celebrating a plant-based lifestyle by cooking up some of these mushroom-based recipes. Even if you aren’t vegan, mushrooms are a great plant-based food that you can add to your diet!

A vegan is someone who eats a plant-based diet. They don’t consume any animal products in their diet, so they avoid eggs, butter, cheese, yogurt, and usually honey. Most vegans also avoid animal products in their daily lives, such as looking for alternatives to leather for their shoes and jackets. 

Because vegans limit their food consumption to plant sources, it’s important that they pay special attention to essential nutrients like iron and B-12. Mushrooms contain some of these key nutrients which make them a valuable part of a vegan diet. Additionally, the texture of mushrooms makes them a tasty and affordable meat substitute. 

It’s easy to use mushrooms in a variety of vegan dishes alongside other vegetables. They make a great standalone ingredient but they’re also great for incorporating as a main dish or meat substitute.

Here are some delectable mushroom recipes for vegans to enjoy, whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

At breakfast, mushrooms are a great ingredient in a vegetable hash. For a simple evening meal, toss mushrooms into a stir-fry with other vegetables and enjoy a nutritious, fresh noodle dish.

If you want a show-stopping main dish, pick up some Portobello mushrooms. Scoop out the stems and fill the caps with vegan cheese and chopped onions before popping them in the oven.

When it comes to meat substitutes, it’s easy to chop up mushrooms and add them to chilis, soups, and casserole dishes. You can also cut Portobello mushrooms into fine slivers and fry them up like bacon.

To get the most flavor out of your mushrooms, experts recommend dry-sauteing them first.

This allows the water content to evaporate and strengthens the delicious umami flavor of the mushroom. Once this is complete, you can add oil and spices specific to your dish. After seeing how mushrooms are a great plant-based food, maybe you will add more to your diet!

Tapping Into Your Creativity With Microdosing

What Is Microdosing?


Microdosing is a practice of consuming small amounts of magic mushrooms to
stimulate creativity. From Silicon Valley leaders to visionary artists, magic mushrooms have played a key role in the creative process of many people. After reading this article, you may want to tap into the magical power of mushrooms! Are you tapping into your creativity with microdosing?

 

The anthropologist and writer Carlos Castaneda is known to have microdosed. Castaneda wrote about psychedelics and culture. Cartoonist Robert Crumb speaks publicly about his experiences with LSD, including how psilocybin mushrooms helped him find his recognizable 1940s aesthetic style. Francis Crick, who famously participated in the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA, says that he was on LSD when the structure occurred to him. The group Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by Bill Wilson, who was a vocal advocate for the power of LSD to help combat alcoholism. Yayoi Kusama, famed artist and creator of the infinity rooms, is known to have been friends with many LSD-takers in the 60s.

 

Finally, Steve Jobs was one of many technologists who is said to have taken psychedelics, once calling his LSD trip as one of the “two or three most important” experiences of his life.

 

Each of these people attributes their creative discoveries to psilocybin mushrooms. The value of microdosing is that, in such small amounts, mushrooms have an opening effect on the mind. A microdose is approximately 1/10 of the amount used in a full-blown trip. Rather than a mind-bending trip, microdosing provides a small boost in creativity and focus. It’s practically the opposite of a daily cup of coffee. Every person is different, so the precise dosage will vary.

 

Microdosing allows for the psilocybin to work its magic, dissolving the ego and cracking open perception. Plant intelligence is just beginning to be understood, but creatives have long known that magic mushrooms can be the key to their next great creation.

Mycelium Sculptures: Art and Interconnectedness

Can Mushrooms Be Used For Art?

Acrylic, pastels, watercolors…. and mushrooms? You may not think of mushrooms as art supplies, but some artists are using mycelium to create sculptures and other forms of art.

Not only does the mycelium have a story about interconnectedness, but the actual growth forms and colors of fungi make it the perfect medium for creating art.

Hericium alpestre photographed by Martin Hlauka (Pescan)

 

These are called mycohuman performances. This is how in mycelium sculptures, art and interconnectedness are one and the same!

One example is an artist who created a biofeedback artwork so that humans and mycelia could interact using sonic technology. By making the interaction visible, artists are using mycelia to illuminate the ways in which humans and plants are intimately connected. 

Another artist added some of her own blood to a petri dish and the art installation is simply a live yeast growth on the small blood sample. It’s a message about rage, about life force, and about regeneration thanks to the natural world. Artists are asking critical questions about the nature of connection and humanity’s role in global ecosystems. 

Art Isn’t Just Imitating Life, It Is Life!

Many artists are creating multisensory, interactive group experiences around mushroom installations. Participants are invited to move through a space where mushrooms are growing on large man-made sculptures. They can touch, smell, and experience a space dominated by fungi.

This is important on a theoretical level, too. As artists begin to work with scientific processes, they break down the hard distinction between art and science. They are bringing experiments outside the laboratory and making them visible to the average person. It can be difficult to appreciate the poetry of fungi from inside a petri dish. But artists are determined to showcase the mycelium’s beauty as a model for interconnectedness.

New Studies On Using Mushrooms For Mental Health

Ancient Wisdom and Modern Research

Academic research is now corroborating what ancient peoples have always known for millennia when it comes to the natural world and mental health. Read on to find out more about using mushrooms for mental health.

We celebrated World Mental Health Day earlier this month, so let’s look at some of the exciting and groundbreaking work being done at research institutions on the role of psilocybin in mental wellness.

The Fantastic Fungi documentary showcases a lot of these studies, and we’ll discuss a few of the key research projects here.  From depression to PTSD, mushrooms have been shown to have a positive effect on a variety of mental health challenges. 

Colleges Researching Using Mushrooms For Mental Health 

Johns Hopkins

In their new center for psychedelic research, Johns Hopkins is leading the way when it comes to psilocybin studies. Paul Stamets leads a variety of initiatives that explore the healing power of fungi, both taken alone and in combination with pharmaceutical medicine. When utilized by patients facing anxiety in the course of medical treatments and daily life, Johns Hopkins is showing the psilocybin use can have deep positive effects.

UCLA

For the last 15 years, researchers at UCLA have been testing the effectiveness of mushrooms to ease anxiety for terminal cancer patients and end-of-life situations. Patients reported reduced depression and lessened anxiety as a result of their mushroom treatment. 

NYU

The studies done at NYU agree with everything that other research institutions have found. Mushrooms can help reduce distress and improve emotional wellbeing, especially in people who are experiencing traumatic medical issues. 

All of this research may one day lead to using mushrooms for pharmaceuticals. To learn more, watch the Fantastic Fungi documentary (now streaming on Apple TV, Amazon Video, Google Play, and VUDU) to explore the future of mushrooms and wellness.

It’s important to spend time each and every day managing your mental health. It’s not something that you can simply put off until a more convenient time. There are more tools available to people now than ever before to help manage their mental health.

Fungi for a Sustainable World

Fungi as the Foundation for a Sustainable World

Mushrooms Can Be Used For Building?

Mushrooms hide in the dirt and they invisibly process waste from the forest, recycling it into usable material for plants and trees. So how could they play such a major role in building a more sustainable world? Fungi are a model of interconnectedness that illuminates new ways of living.

Fantastic Fungi highlighted the work of William Padilla-Brown, the founder of MycoSymbiotics.

He found a way to change his life and his neighborhood through mycology.

“I was a city kid, I just played video games. My parents never really took me on hikes or went outside. So finding mushrooms to me was like a spiritual journey.” Today this self-taught “citizen-scientist” is one of the most respected mycologists in the world.

Networks of beings connected in one pulsing ecosystem is the real truth of the natural world. When humans learn from fungi and incorporate this system thinking into the human world, the result is a much more sustainable way of life. This is how we use fungi for a sustainable world!

Mushrooms Can Change Lives

One powerful example is how some farmers are beginning to grow mushrooms instead of livestock. This process often involves less square footage, and typically produces results in much less time. Mushrooms production also results in less CO2 emissions than those resulting from raising livestock. In another sustainable twist on grain farming, some growers are using spent grain as a planting ground for mushrooms. Previously, animals had been allowed to eat this grain and it gave them gas, resulting in lots of methane gas emissions. Instead, a nutritious crop of mushrooms can be grown in the wasted grain pile. This creates additional jobs and nutrition without harming the environment.

Mushrooms For Sustainability!

Overall, mushrooms have a lot to teach us about sustainability in two ways. The first is that the actual material of mycelium is very sustainable. It can be used in architecture, as packaging, and to replace other non-sustainable materials. The second way is that fungi follow a model of existence that is based on interconnectedness. Fungi exist in symbiotic relationships with the rest of the plant world. They make it possible for dead matter to decompose and be used to nourish new growth. Mushroom networks communicate via vast underground connections, spreading wisdom over miles just by staying connected.

We can learn from fungi in many ways to help us build a more sustainable world. Start here to learn more about the role mushrooms play in creating a sustainable future.

Celebrate Pollinators on World Food Day

What Do Bees Have To Do With Food?

Let’s all celebrate bees on World Food Day! On October 16, governments, businesses, NGOs, and general public will join together to “promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure healthy diets for all.”

When you bite into your lunchtime sandwich, you’re probably not thinking about the bees that pollinated the crops and made your entire meal possible.

We want to help everyone celebrate pollinators on world food day. 

Pollinators make it possible to grow and produce food around the world. Not only do bees facilitate the science of pollination, but they create art in the process. In his TED talk on the hidden beauty of pollination, Louie Schwartzenberg reveals macro imagery of bees in the process of pollination.

We Need To Protect The Bees!

Unfortunately, there are many threats to bee populations that also threaten global food production. From the destruction of bee habitats to the use of pesticides, bees are struggling to stay stable and productive. 

But billions of crops rely on bees for pollination. Around one-third of the crops we eat are depends on pollinators. Not only are bees essential for food cultivated for human consumption, but bees help pollinate wild plants too which keep wildlife fed. 

So the next time you buy food at the grocery store, prepare a meal for yourself, or observe an animal snacking on a plant, thank the bees. Better than thanking them, take steps to protect bee habitats in your neighborhood. Write to your local parks department and inquire about bee-friendly protection for local plants.

Get some plants that bees love to grow in your backyard. Look for bee-friendly crops and support farmers that practice sustainable agriculture. Just make sure you don’t forget to celebrate pollinators on world food day!

Digital Resources to Teach About Fungi

Get Ready For World Teachers Day!

On October 5, teachers and students (and parents!) around the world will celebrate World Teachers Day. When most teachers are working in virtual classrooms, it can be tricky to find resources to teach kids about the natural world.

 

From the very beginning, our Deep Dive section has included resources that teachers and families can use, but we collected some more digital resources to teach about fungi.

Here is a collection of accessible digital resources for teachers to incorporate into their distance learning lesson plans.

Take a Fungi Field Trip

Earlier this year, our team rounded up some different ways teachers and parents can bring the world of mushrooms to kids who are studying from home. Start with this collection of videos, mushroom kits, and inspiring quotes.

Easy Science for Kids website

On this kid-friendly website, young students can click and explore to learn about different types of fungi. There are age-appropriate quizzes and plenty of interesting trivia tidbits to entertain kids. 

 

SciShow Kids on YouTube

What kid wouldn’t be excited about a homework assignment that involves watching YouTube videos? Teachers can send their students over to the SciShow Kids channel to watch entertaining and educational videos about the wild world of fungi. 

What Teachers Can Do From Home

Homeschool Resources for Fungi Experiments

Homeschoolers have always been at the forefront of distance learning. These websites are full of fantastic lesson plans and experiment templates, so that kids can conduct their own learning experiences at home. 

Teachers Pay Teachers Worksheets

It’s no secret that teachers like to make some extra money on the side by sharing their handcrafted worksheets with other educators. Teachers can save time by grabbing some premade fungi worksheets on TPT and getting kids involved in the exciting world of mushrooms. 

If all else fails, encourage kids to go foraging outside. Older children can also take up their colored pencils and create scientific drawings at home, replicating online diagrams of the different life cycles of fungi. Even though teachers can’t take their children on field trips into nature, they can use these tools to help bring nature into digital classrooms.

Celebrate International Coffee Day with Mushroom Coffee

Celebrate International Coffee Day with Mushroom Coffee

What exactly is mushroom coffee?

Coffee is consumed by millions of people around the world, so your daily cup of joe is not necessarily a cause for celebration. But on October 1, we celebrate International Coffee Day. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the complex journey that a coffee bean must undergo before arriving in your mug. Celebrate International Coffee Day with Mushroom Coffee!

From the fields of East Africa to hillsides in Indonesia, coffee is grown around the world. The tradition of drinking coffee has been a human favorite for centuries, dating back to the ancient Middle East and North Africa. Islamic mystic scholars used to sip on coffee and stay awake all night, considering the cosmos. Read on to find the best ways to Celebrate International Coffee Day with Mushroom Coffee!

Today, coffee drinkers are inventing all different types of coffee drinks. Here are some of the most popular mushroom coffee recipes and the benefits they provide.

Lion's Mane is popular for coffee!

The Best Types Of Mushroom Coffee

Reishi Coffee

Also known as Ganoderma coffee, making coffee with added reishi can help improve your sleep quality. It’s also great for your liver and is higher in nutrients than real coffee. If you want a daily drink that can improve your immune system and help with chronic fatigue, this is the drink for you. Rather than get overtired with your caffeinated coffee drink, add some reishi to smooth the energy levels. Ganoderma coffee is less acidic than regular coffee and it can help ease depression. 

 

Chaga Coffee

If you struggle with a sensitive stomach, then Chaga coffee could be the right mix for you. With very low acid, Chaga coffee is easy to digest. It also provides memory-related benefits.

 

Lion’s Mane Coffee

When you use Lion’s Mane extract in your coffee, you protect against dementia, ulcers, and depression. It’s the best add-in for cognitive enhancements.

 

Cordyceps Coffee

Get a boost with anti-aging nutrients by adding Cordyceps to your coffee. It can also help protect your heart and fight against inflammation. It’s an energy booster and great for your liver, so add it when you need a lively start to your day. 

 

Try one today! You don’t have to sacrifice your daily coffee to access the benefits of mushrooms. Hopefully you have found a few new and exciting ways to Celebrate International Coffee Day with Mushroom Coffee!

How To Boost Your Nutrition With Mushrooms

Before you forage, learn about nutritional mushrooms!

It’s foraging season, so it’s the perfect time to learn about the health benefits of cooking with mushrooms. Did you know there are nearly 2,000 species of edible and medicinal mushrooms in the world? Let’s learn about the nutritional benefits of mushrooms and boost your nutrition with mushrooms!

“Plants are all about symbiosis,” said filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg on a recent podcast episode. “Maybe the mushrooms are telling us a grand story.”

Morels have been cited as highly nutritious.

Mushrooms are adaptogens, which means that they help the body balance physiological processes. There are a myriad of benefits of eating mushrooms. They are especially helpful for combating fatigue, balancing the mind, sharpening the wit, and promoting overall wellness.

Cooking is one way to eat mushrooms. You may have had them on a burger or as part of a vegetable hash. But you can also drink them by mixing powdered mushrooms with non-dairy milk and sweetener to create a healing elixir.

Eating medicinal mushrooms is a less common practice, simply because identifying and harvesting medicinal mushrooms can be a challenge for people who’ve never done it before. But indigenous cultures have been consuming medicinal mushrooms for thousands of years, and the benefits are clear.


Some Of The Health Benefits Of Mushrooms

Nutritional Benefits

Mushrooms contain B-vitamins, potassium, and selenium which are all essential for helping the human body function well. Research indicates that eating mushrooms can benefit the skin, heart health, and nervous system. All of these powerful benefits cumulatively add up to boost your immune system with mushrooms!

 

Anti-Cancer Benefits

The Reishi mushroom has been used in Asian countries for wellness, and is now being studied in labs as a cancer-fighting agent. Reishi may help stimulate the immune system and lower high blood pressure, among other benefits.

Lowering Cholesterol

Many studies corroborate the finding that mushrooms can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In fact, in one study animals were fed dried mushrooms as part of their diet for several months. In some of these animals, total cholesterol levels were reduced between 10 and 65%.

 At the grocery store, you’re most likely to find white, shiitake, and portobello mushrooms for cooking. Experts do recommend that you wipe or quickly wash mushrooms before eating. They do tend to soak up water, which diminishes the flavor. So just give them a quick cleaning, then toss them in a pan, and enjoy the health and flavor benefits of celebrating National Mushroom Month! We hope you enjoyed this article and make sure to boost your nutrition with mushrooms today!

Are Legal Psilocybin Mushrooms Coming?

Are Legal Psilocybin Mushrooms Coming?

The legalization of marijuana was a historic victory for cannabis activists. Finally, people were able to safely and responsibly access marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes after years of unregulated production and distribution.

In Ann Arbor this week, the city council unanimously passed a resolution decriminalizing Entheogenic plants within the city. MLive has the story:

“Magic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants and fungi are now effectively decriminalized in Ann Arbor, at least in terms of city police enforcement priority.”

Are legal psilocybin mushrooms coming? A vote in Oregon could start the shift in consciousness! In this video, watch Louie Schwartzberg talk with Tom Eckert and Sherri Eckert, the creators of this landmark legislation, after a 2019 screening of Fantastic Fungi.

Are You Celebrating International Magic Mushroom Day?

On September 20, the world will be celebrating National Psilocybin Day, or “Magic Mushroom Day.” Everyone is invited to mark the occasion in their own way. Mycologists will give speeches and organize panel discussions on the healing power of mushrooms and the lessons of plant intelligence. People who use medicinal mushrooms for self-healing will gather to acknowledge the powerful role of mycelium in personal and collective transformation.

 It’s one thing to utilize mushrooms like Chaga or Lion’s Mane in your daily morning brew for health benefits. But psychedelic mushrooms have had a harder time reaching public levels of approval or political legislation.

 This year, National Psilocybin Day celebrations come just two months ahead of a historic vote that could legalize psilocybin therapy in the State of Oregon. Organizers hope to make “9/20 as iconic as the date 4-20 is for cannabis activists.”

 Indigenous communities have used psychedelic mushrooms for healing and ceremonial purposes for centuries, if not millennia. This historic vote is an opportunity for Oregon to lead the way for psilocybin in the same way it did for cannabis. 

One Vote Could Legalize Psilocybin Mushrooms!

Located in the Pacific Northwest, a successful vote could point the way towards increased foraging and harvesting of mushrooms near the Columbia River and on the Oregon Coast. 

 Come September, Portlanders may well be on the path to seeing psilocybin therapy and other uses. When it comes to mushrooms for healing, psilocybin mushrooms could be the way of the future!

Brewing Mushroom Coffee At Home

What is mushroom coffee?

Mushroom coffee is a combination of regular black coffee brewed with powdered medicinal mushrooms. Cultures all over the world, from Finland to the United States, have been consuming medicinal mushrooms like Chaga and Lion’s Mane in liquid form for generations.

There is no time like the present to brew mushroom coffee at home!

Mushrooms have benefits that are good for both your mind and body.

“I teach other doctors about the uses of mushrooms, and I recommend mushrooms and mushroom products frequently to patients; their health benefits are myriad, and we keep finding new ones,” wrote Dr. Andrew Weil in the Fantastic Fungi companion book.

“There’s a long tradition of using mushrooms as medicines in East Asia, especially in Korea, China, and Japan. I’ve studied traditional Chinese medicine and was very impressed with its use of mushrooms to fill niches for which we don’t have solutions in Western pharmacology.”

If you’re wondering how it tastes, you’ll be pleased to learn that it tastes just like normal coffee. The mushrooms in mushroom coffee are specifically selected for their neutral flavor, so won’t get any unpleasant earthiness or sponginess in your daily cup.

“Whenever I would drink coffee, I would get incredibly jittery and anxious,” recalled Rachel at Bakerita.

“When I tried mushroom coffee though, it balanced out all of the negative feelings of coffee and instead gave a boost of creative energy.”

Wondering how to brew mushroom coffee at home?

In fact, you can make mushroom coffee anyway you like in order to match your specific needs and taste preferences.

 There are lots of benefits to be gained by drinking mushroom coffee, which is probably why it’s growing in popularity. When you consume regular coffee, you get the caffeine jitters. It does have some antioxidants and it can activate your nervous system, but that’s pretty much it. 

On the other hand, mushroom coffee benefits digestion by promoting healthy gut bacteria. You only get half the caffeine of regular coffee, and your body benefits from the amazing healing properties of medicinal mushrooms. For instance, adrenal gland support, mental focus, and even more antioxidants than plain old coffee.

 You can buy mushroom coffee from a company, but you can also brew DIY mushroom coffee at home with just a few ingredients. All you need is the mushroom powder of your choice and whatever other coffee equipment you typically use to brew coffee at home.

 Here are three DIY recipes to brew mushroom coffee at home:

Have you tried mushrooms in your coffee? It’s not as scary as it sounds—learn all about the benefits that are possible!

The Mycology Adventures of Beatrix Potter

Most people remember Beatrix Potter as the author of beloved children’s books like The Tale of Peter Rabbit, but she had a lesser-known, but important career as a mushroom hunter and amateur mycologist!

In the new children’s book, Beatrix Potter, Scientist, author and Kansas City Star parenting columnist Lindsay H. Metcalf explores Potter’s work as an amateur mycologist who presented her research to England’s foremost experts. 

While sexism kept Potter’s discoveries out of the scientific canon, the book shows some of her great work.

Beatrix Potter & Fungi

Beatrix wrote about fungi spores for England’s illustrious Linnean Society in 1897, but a male scientist had to submit the paper on her behalf. Even though the paper never got published, her mycology work lives on in a 450-page journal that she kept throughout the period. 

In the book, Metcalf reminds us that fungi and art were always intertwined in Potter’s life:  

“Beatrix juggled her passions for art and nature. The day after she found a rare fungus, she wrote the first draft of her most famous story in the form of a picture letter. Five-year-old Noel Moore, the son of her friend, was sick, so she wrote him a story about her bunny Peter Piper.” 

A few years later, Potter’s letter-stories would evolve into the book that launched her life-changing career, The Tale of Peter Rabbit. She wrote many books after that, and you can spot fungi in these stories:

The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin (1903), 

The Tale of Johnny Town-Mouse (1918)

The Fairy Caravan (1929).

How To Inspire A Young Beatrix Potter

Metcalf stopped by Fantastic Fungi to tell us how parents can instill a similar love for fungi in their children

Author Lindsay H. Metcalf (photographed by Anna Jackson)

Fantastic Fungi: How can parents & caregivers do to introduce kids to the wonders of mycology after reading your book? What can mycology adventure teach kids in 2020?

Lindsay H. Metcalf: One of the focuses of Beatrix’s research was lichens, and those are common almost everywhere on Earth. They are the green smudges on tree bark that light up neon after a rain. They are the rust-colored spots clinging to concrete or rock. Lichens contain a world of wonderment that kids can access with a little magnification.

This works best after a rain. With a handheld magnifying glass or a phone equipped with a zoom lens, examine the lichens up close. What do they look like to the naked eye? What do they look like when you zoom in? Kids may not know that lichens are fungi combined with either algae (plant) or cynanobacteria (bacteria that undergo photosynthesis). The green coloring in some lichens comes from chlorophyll. 

Zooming in on lichens can unlock a world of discovery for kids. Within the tiny folds of the lichens, even smaller creatures such as tardigrades, or water bears, live, even though those won’t be visible without a strong microscope. Lichens provide a hardy miniature ecosystem that most of us take for granted, and science still has a lot to learn about. 

Studying changes in lichens can also help researchers monitor climate change and air quality. Maybe the children who study them today will grow up to make important discoveries that will help save the planet. 

Lindsay H. Metcalf shared a photo of the life living in our tree bark.

FF: For parents looking to teach kids about mycology, do you have any suggestions for online resources they can explore?

Metcalf: Beatrix Potter’s illustrations of fungi are beautifully detailed, and several are digitized and displayed online. I am also working with an educator to develop a teaching guide full of fun and educational activities that could be used in the classroom or at home! 

One easy activity is making spore prints, if one has access to materials. 

FF: What was it like to comb through the journals and letters of Beatrix Potter? Did it make you look at her work in a new way?

Metcalf: Reading her 450-page journal—which she wrote in an invented code between the ages of 15 and 30—was intimate and illuminating, like gossiping about life with a good friend. 

Suddenly Beatrix was more than an all-caps name on the front of a book. She was a three-dimensional human who indulged curiosity, stared down setbacks and discrimination, and reveled in her pure enchantment with nature. 

Beatrix was working with a man named Charles McIntosh to identify a rare fungi called “old man of the woods” around the same time she created the “picture letter” to a young friend about Peter Rabbit. 

The character of Mr. McGregor was likely a mashup of McIntosh’s appearance and the name of her family’s landlord that summer—Atholl McGregor.

How To Find Fantastic Fungi Around the World

 

Fantastic Fungi, the number one documentary on Apple TV, is now streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video, Google Play, VUDU, and Apple TV around the world!

The whole Fantastic Fungi team is grateful for the support of our mycelial network, the fellow travelers spreading the spores of this shift in consciousness.

For readers in the United States, just follow these links.

Rent or buy the film on Prime Video

Rent or buy the film on Google Play

Rent or buy on VUDU

Rent or buy the film on Apple TV

Watch Fantastic Fungi Around the Globe

There are many other options for our global audience! Just follow these links to watch in other locations.

We are adding more options in the coming months!

Prime Video UK

Google Play Canada

Google Play Australia

Google Play Ireland

Google Play Netherlands

Google Play Great Britain

Google Play Mexico

Google Play Argentina

For our friends outside of the United States, Fantastic Fungi is also available at these Apple TV links:

Canada

United Kingdom

Ireland

Australia

Netherlands

Anguilla

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Bahamas

Belize

Bermuda

Bolivia

British Virgin Islands

Cayman Islands

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Dominica

Dominican Republic

Ecuador 

El Salvador

Grenada

Guatemala

Honduras

Mexico

Nicaragua

Panama

Paraguay

Peru 

Saint Kitts and Nevis 

Trinidad and Tobago

Venezuela

‘Fantastic Fungi’ is already a cult hit,” wrote The Washington Post about our film. 

“Louie Schwartzberg’s documentary about mushrooms became hugely popular during a limited theatrical run earlier this spring; its rerelease for digital viewing during the coronavirus quarantine couldn’t be better timed. What might have been mind-blowing just a few months ago now feels urgently of the moment.” 

 

When so many are struggling for connection, inspiration and hope, Fantastic Fungi brings us together as interconnected creators of our world. 

Fantastic Fungi is a consciousness-shifting film about the mycelium network that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.

Through the eyes of renowned scientists and mycologists like Paul Stamets, best-selling authors like Michael Pollan, Eugenia Bone, Andrew Weil and others, we become aware of the beauty, intelligence and solutions that fungi kingdom offers in response to some of our most pressing medical, therapeutic, and environmental challenges.

Microdosing Mushrooms is taking doses so low they are unlikely to produce whole-body effects, but high enough to study the cellular response. fly agaric or fly amanita

The Healing Power of Fungi

Do you know the power of mycology and the healing power of fungi?

“I hope this resonance of gratitude spreads, like waves meeting other waves and transforming little by little, opening the eyes to beauty,” says Louie Schwartzberg, remind us that gratitude and nature can illuminate the love we sometimes forget to see around us. Most of us don’t think of mushrooms for pharmaceuticals or the healing power of fungi, but it is a real thing!

From Fantastic Fungi to Moving Art, Louie’s work has always explored the healing power of nature. “This made me weep with joy over the beauty and intricacy of this world. A feeling I’ve always had within me, but do not often enough take the time to nurture. Gratitude has the power to heal,” wrote one viewer.

Mushrooms for Health and Mushrooms for Wellness?

If you’ve ever experienced a traumatic event as a child, then you can sympathize with Bett Williams. As a teenager, Williams had a transformative experience during the first time she ever took psilocybin mushrooms. But when she shared the miraculous story with her boss, she was fired from her job. The situation spiraled downwards from there, and Williams avoided psilocybin entirely for the next few years of her life. But something called her back again. 

 It all started with Williams’s desire to heal herself. She met with high-psilocybin Afro-futurist artist collectives and Mazatec indigenous elders. She started writing a book and opening herself up to the healing power of psilocybin and plant intelligence. Titled The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey, Williams’ memoir shares her journey as she learns about fungi’s indigenous roots, and how it eventually came to transform her life. There really is something to the healing power of fungi!

 “It was my desire to honor the psilocybin mushrooms as the Mazatec do, not as a pharmaceutical helper, a pleasure drug, or even a tool of self-discovery in the Western psychological sense,” Williams says. “I wanted to honor them as a holy sacrament.”

 Williams is now an author, mushroom farmer, public speaker, and podcaster. Her podcast, No Cures, Only Alchemy, focuses on the intersection between psychedelics and culture.

 Ultimately, the memoir is a celebration of life and what it truly means to choose healing. It’s not easy to come back from the darkness, and Williams shares every wild adventure with readers on her journey to the light. “Plant medicines truly can connect people, bridge gaps, and build a vast mycelial network,” she observes. 

How to Celebrate National Mushroom Month 

National Mushroom Month is an annual celebration established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to highlight the benefits of the mushroom. 

We can’t all be together this year to celebrate in person, but Fantastic Fungi will lead the virtual gathering all month long!

Start by watching our National Mushroom Month music video…

 

The Fungi Movement

Mushrooms are undeniably having a moment, gaining attention from mainstream agriculturalists for their health benefits and unique growing process.

Mushrooms grow in dead and decaying material, often underground. They have a network of spores that communicate with one another, and the diverse variety of mushroom types ranges from the delectable morel to the psychedelic psilocybin. 

Many people can benefit from consuming mushrooms medicinally, and National Mushroom Month is an opportunity to learn more about how they can benefit you. Plus, you can go foraging mushrooms for free.

 The USDA reports that more than 900 million pounds of mushrooms are produced in the United States every year. Not only that, but the Mushroom Council is committed to educating Americans with recipes and identification tips so that all people can enjoy the health benefits of mushrooms. 

Mushrooms can be found in all different kinds of landscapes, but it’s a good idea to start learning about the ones that grow in your region. 

For instance, if you live in the Pacific Northwest, you may want to learn about the mushrooms that typically grow on rotting logs rather than desert mushrooms. Foraging mushrooms can be a great pastime with tremendous benefits.

 In Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, they host an annual Mushroom Festival which has been occurring since 1986. It started as a simple scholarship support fund and to highlight the region’s biggest cash crop. Now, it has grown to a full-fledged festival with booths, entertainment, exhibits, and opportunities to sample culinary delights directly from vendors.

 How will you celebrate National Mushroom Month?

Where Is Your Favorite Body of Water?

This summer, people around the world have gathered at their favorite oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, cooling off and immersing themselves in nature.

“Beauty is nature’s tool for survival, because we protect what we love,” says Louie Schwartzberg, the filmmaker behind Fantastic Fungi. Through his work at Moving Art, he has created many powerful short films to encourage humanity to defend our waterways and keep our water pure. 

August is National Water Quality Awareness Month. To celebrate, we are gathering some beautiful short films from Louie’s Moving Art archive.

Protect What You Love

“We need to protect the water today, because the longer we wait, the sicker the plants and animals get. If we wait until tomorrow or the next day, the water won’t be the same as that day,” said Autumn Peltier, a Canadian Native American water warrior who has fought for water protection and conservation since the age of eight. 

In 2008 she spoke to the United Nations in New York, declaring, “Water is the lifeblood of Mother Earth. Our water should not be for sale. We all have a right to this water as we need it.”

Moving Art viewers from around the world shared the waterways they want to protect. Read their suggestions and add your own!

skrootooThe upper Adirondacks where the Hudson is still clean enough to drink and my own local pine barrens.”

Lori Chaission Grogan wants to protect the river by her home: “As an artist, living on a river you have given me joy my birthday month. I am forever in awe of the movement of water showing us the lesson of present time.” 

Terran Ambrosone: “I often play the Moving Art series on Netflix on my tablet to fall asleep to. And will play it during the day for my birds. They love it too. Favorites are the forest and underwater ones.”

Lindsey Scott: “Oceans season 1. Can’t count how many times I’ve watched to go to sleep. And put my kids to sleep.”

Monique Navarrette agrees: “I love the waterfalls, they’re so relaxing.”  

Jess Wink added this: “I love the waterfalls segment!”

Miller Canning: “I live in Baja California. As I’m sure you are aware, Tijuana dumps it’s polluted water into the ocean every night. The smell is horrible. And it is destroying the environment around Playas de Tijuana as well Imperial Beach in California. No one seems to have a solution. Our waters here need help!”

pavel_k_novy “So true, thank you for sharing your inspiring videos Louie. My favourite forest is an ancient rainforest of the Pacific North West, specifically on a central coast of British Columbia.”

tall trees in forest

Film Creates a Shift Consciousness

We are all connected, and sometimes we just need to be reminded. And once we tap into that revelation, it becomes clear that we must protect what we love.  

The gift of the mushroom reveals how we are all interconnected. That’s the message of Fantastic Fungi, now available to rent or own on Apple TV.

A Change In Perspective

Filmmaking is one way to bring the shift in consciousness we all need.

“Cinema has been described as an engine of empathy because it allows you to see the world through the eyes of someone else,” said Jason Silva during the “A Shift in Consciousness” panel discussion for Fungi Day. “That’s a metaphysical technology that puts you in the feet of another person. It’s really magical.”

 Fungi Day is an annual opportunity to learn about the history and power of mushrooms.

This virtual panel included Jason Silva, Francoise Bourzat, IN-Q, Jeremy Narby, and Paul Stamets, exploring how mushrooms have been used by indigenous populations both spiritually and medicinally for millennia.

Therapist and author Francoise Bourzat has studied the relationships that indigenous Mexicans have with mushrooms. She notes that “their interfacing with nature is inherently part of their practice with the mushroom. It’s part of their cosmology.”

Modern healthcare practitioners, on the other hand, are just beginning to understand their power.  Jeremy Narby agreed. He’s spent his life studying how different cultures think about ideas like viruses and plant medicine. 

“The logic of viruses and virology and these invisible entities that surround us and then grow in the human body and that can cause harm and that can travel all around the world has been understood by the Shamanic Amazonian people for a long time. But when the first Western observers got there and heard them talk about these things, they just said ‘these people are crazy.’”

Alongside holistic healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers are interested in the role that mushrooms play in agriculture and ecosystems. Without the obvious contributions that crops like corn produce, mushrooms have flown under the radar of mainstream horticulturalists for years. But seekers from all walks of life have always used mushrooms as a way to overcome self and connect with nature.

Jason Silva, futurist and storyteller, observes that “the time is absolutely ripe for experiences that take us out of ourselves.” Mushrooms are especially effective at this because “they allow us to tune away from the broadcast of the ego and instead tune into the broadcast of the whole …  So you have a little more of an unmediated experience of the world and you have less of an identification with self.”

Fantastic Fungi Is the #1 Documentary at Apple TV!

We are proud to announce that Fantastic Fungi is the #1 documentary at Apple TV today.

The whole Fantastic Fungi team is grateful for the support of our mycelial network, the fellow travelers spreading the spores of this shift in consciousness.

Rent or buy the film on Apple TV.

‘Fantastic Fungi’ is already a cult hit,” wrote The Washington Post about our film.

“Louie Schwartzberg’s documentary about mushrooms became hugely popular during a limited theatrical run earlier this spring; its rerelease for digital viewing during the coronavirus quarantine couldn’t be better timed. What might have been mind-blowing just a few months ago now feels urgently of the moment.”

For our friends outside of the United States, Fantastic Fungi is also available at these Apple TV links:

Canada

United Kingdom

Ireland

Australia

Netherlands

Anguilla
Antigua and Barbuda
Argentina
Bahamas
Belize
Bermuda
Bolivia
British Virgin Islands
Cayman Islands
Chile
Colombia
Costa Rica
Dominica
Dominican Republic
Ecuador 
El Salvador
Grenada
Guatemala
Honduras
Mexico
Nicaragua
Panama
Paraguay
Peru 
Saint Kitts and Nevis 
Trinidad and Tobago
Venezuela

 

 How Can We Save Bees? 

We’ll all celebrate National Honeybee Day later this week!

To prepare, learn how mycologist Paul Stamets and Washington State University researchers in this special short film Louie Schwartzberg directed for the California Academy of Sciences’ bioGraphic magazine.

You Can Save Your Local Bees

There are a lot of ways that everyday people can help. It starts by appreciating the beauty of pollination!

Keeping bees in your backyard or planting bee-friendly plants are great ways to help the bees. The most important thing everyone should do is commit to learning more and staying involved. After all, the bees need us but we need them, too.

Brigit Strawbridge Howard, the author of Dancing with Bees: a Journey Back to Nature, recently shared some powerful advice with Living on Earth. Follow these suggestions to protect your local pollinators! 

 

  1. Cultivate a wider variety of plants in your home: “With these 20,000, 25,000 different species of bee, clearly it’s not a case of one plant suits all bees, or one bee pollinates all plants. So we need to increase diversity.”

 

  1. Use pesticide alternatives: “Once you stop using the insecticide, you know, a whole host of beneficial insects move in and they take care of the pests for you.”

 

  1. Observe the natural environment around you: “If there’s no interest in one plant, but another is just covered in insects throughout the day, then maybe plant more of the one that’s covered in insects.”

 Agricultural Solutions for the Bees

The bees need our help, but we need them, too. Bees help pollinate 80% of cultivated crops, enabling millions of people to eat.

Some of the most effective, cutting-edge solutions are related to permaculture and biodiversity. As we celebrate National Honeybee Day, here are some of the ways that farmers, researchers, and everyday people are trying to save the bees.

Farmers are turning to biodiversity for increased sustainability as the bee population declines. Incorporating bees into their farms is a great way for individual farmers to do their part in maintaining the bee population. This has several key benefits for farmers. It ensures their crops get pollinated. It adds another income stream if they sell the honey. Finally, it helps educate the next generation of farmers about the importance of bees.

Researchers like Paul Stamets and others at Washington State University are working hard to learn about how fungi could help battle the deadly viruses that threaten the survival of both human beings and bees. In fact, they’ve discovered that “bees in hives treated with Metarhizium tend to be much healthier and live longer than those in untreated hives.”

Read more about Paul’s BeeMushroomed Feeder as well!

In the past, agricultural departments at universities have frequently limited their courses to animal husbandry, forestry, and land management. This is beginning to change, however, as people realize how dependent agriculture is on a healthy planet.

Want to learn more? Watch Fantastic Fungi on Apple TV!

Psilocybin Therapy Goes Mainstream

This is a historic year when voters will consider legalizing psilocybin therapy. In Fantastic Fungi (now available on Apple TV!) we get to see psilocybin therapy clinical trials.

One of the participants was Tony Head, who described the therapy this way:

“After the experience, I just looked at life differently. I wasn’t obsessed with dying or death. I was more just looking at life and really looking at how we as a world, as humanity can connect.”

Learn more about the research from this Fungi Day panel discussion…

Will 2020 Expand Psilocybin Therapy Clinical Trials? 

First of all, activists have collected more than 164,000 signatures from voters in Oregon to ensure that the issue will be on the ballot this fall and psilocybin therapy clinical trials can expand.

Next, the state will vote on Initiative Petition 34 (IP 34) in November, a petition that would bring psilocybin therapy to Oregon “through a licensed, regulated system that supports and protects patients to get them the help they need” inside the Oregon Health Authority.

During Fungi Day earlier this year, Johns Hopkins University researcher Mary Cosimano explained what she learned after guiding many patients through psilocybin therapy.

“The one thing that I did come to believe for me is that our true nature is love,” she said. “Our true authentic nature is love. And by love, I mean connection. Connection to ourselves. To others. And to everything.”

One of the other participants described it this way:

“I had a profound and life-altering experience of universal connectedness, and deep love, witness, and a constant supporting presence. And that does sustain me to this day.”

A Psychedelic Renaissance

“We’re just at the beginning of a psychedelic renaissance, and the next few years should bring major changes in research, progress, and legalization,” writes health coach and wellness blogger Jenny Sansouci in her gripping new book, The Rebel’s Apothecary. “The budding research on psilocybin could completely revolutionize the way we approach mental health care.”

The book tells the story of her father’s fight against Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The Rebel’s Apothecary follows her family journey, taking the best from every field of medicine and reaching healing with the help of the earth.

Her father underwent a combination of chemotherapy and natural treatment, including cannabis and medicinal mushrooms. He is now healthy, strong, and advocates with his daughter as outspoken champions of the healing power of plant medicine and fungi.

The Rebel’s Apothecary is firm on one point: being a rebel doesn’t mean ignoring what works, and that includes mainstream healthcare. For Sansouci, being a rebel means thinking for yourself and incorporating natural tools into healing.

For the decade before her father’s diagnosis, Sansouci had been studying holistic wellness and training under some of the top names in integrative medicine. When she learned that her father was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer, she dove into the world of mushrooms and their medicinal properties. “I committed to learning as much as I could about alternative methods for healing, and this plunge into inquiry ultimately led me to cannabis and medicinal mushrooms as the all-star players of his healing team,” she writes.

Early on in her journey, Sansouci struggled with bureaucratic red tape as well as initial resistance from the medical establishment. But armed with her education as a health coach and determination to save her father’s life, she quickly made a case for herself. Along the way, Sansouci discovered a vast history of people around the world using fungi for healing.

Working with the power of the Earth is absolutely fundamental to bringing about healing in natural systems.

Everything You Need To Know About Forest Bathing

Director Louie Schwartzberg has been exploring forests with his camera for more than four decades, showing us the healing power of Visual Healing with imagery of a wooded setting.

Millions of viewers around the world have relaxed with Louie’s Moving Art short film, “Forests.” In Fantastic Fungi, we received an intimate look at the vast mycelial network beneath our feet in the forest.

Watch this short Moving Art film where Louie explains the power of nature…

 

 Forest Calm

If you’ve ever had the transformative experience of finding instant calm while walking through a forest, then you are ready to try forest bathing.

 Forest bathing is a Japanese practice of deeply immersing yourself in nature. It’s believed to improve physical and mental well-being, reduce stress hormone production, lower heart rates, boost the immune system, and even accelerate recovery from illness. Some say it can even help with the symptoms of menopause, too.

It’s not a physical bathing experience, it’s about being in a forest and letting nature wash over you.  Nature Connector Deborah Mendes helps people discover forest bathing and other forest meditations—a gateway to more abundance, better relationships and good health.

She collected a series of testimonials from her participants about the experience.

An Introduction To Forest Bathing

But forest bathing is more nuanced than simply visiting trees and hoping for healing. To practice it correctly, you must prepare to be fully present during your experience. Here’s how.

 First, look for a quiet grove of trees where you can spend some time alone in communion with nature. Busy parks are not the best places for forest bathing due to the noise and distractions caused by other visitors. On the other hand, if you only have access to public parks, you could visit them very early in the morning to get some quiet time. Make sure you leave your phone at home or turn off notifications.

 Now it’s time to enter the forest. Release all your expectations and goals. Forest bathing is about connecting with nature, not planning or evaluating. Every time you notice a thought arise, simply acknowledge it and let it pass by. Instead, turn your attention to the amazing ecosystem before you.

 Try to observe the trees, the leaves, and the forest floor. Touch the tree bark and admire the different textures on different trunks. Inhale deeply and allow your senses to fully embrace the forest. Notice the way the ground feels underneath your feet. Listen to the sounds of birds and wildlife around you.

 Where To Go Forest Bathing

Forest bathing is growing in popularity as people begin to understand that connecting with nature is just as important as connecting to the Internet. Take yourself to a nearby grove and enjoy the trees. Your body and mind will experience benefits now and in the long-term.

There are many places you can visit!

 For East Coast forest bathing, the Travel Channel has a great list of sites you can visit.

 For West Coast forest bathing, the Los Angeles Times has a great feature with international and national spots.

Wonder & Awe Podcast 

Louie Schwartzberg and Moving Art are bringing you Wonder & Awe, a podcast that explores the captivating intersection between art and science.

Every episode, Louie will host a conversation about our natural world featuring two unique guests: one guest from the realm of art and one from the field of science.

It all begins with the legendary mycologist Paul Stamets, who will share his long history in the field and his vision for how mycology will shape our future.  He’ll be joined by Merlin Sheldrake, a young artist, biologist, and the celebrated author of Entangled Life.  

[az_video_embed class=”” link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzGc_hhvHaU&t=27s”]

Making the Invisible Visible

Louie’s work has always made the invisible visible. Using the art of time-lapse and slow-motion cinematography, he captures images that are too slow, too fast, too small or too vast for the naked eye to see.    

This visionary work inspires both wonder and awe. Science has discovered that blowing your mind is medicinal and it is good for the soul.  

Art and science are related because they both ignite and foster our sense of wonder. Even better, this kind of immersion in nature increases our capacity for creativity, kindness, and compassion. 

The Wonder & Awe podcast will open your eyes to nature’s intelligence. Join us for this consciousness-shifting journey!

Paul Stamets Calls for Change

In our first episode, we’ll meet Paul Stamets and Merlin Sheldrake for a one-of-a-kind conversation. 

To celebrate his birthday, the great Paul Stamets spoke frankly about death and spirituality, one theme where art and science intersect. 

“Although I am not religious, I am spiritual. Ultimately, it is your destiny, your consciousness, that seeks to come to peace with the mortality we all share,” he said. “Please support local, provincial, state, and national initiatives for the therapeutic use of psilocybin so those seeking to come to peace with their mortality are not considered criminals at the end of their lives.”

Cambridge professor Uta Paszkowski praised Merlin Sheldrake for bridging the realms of art and science in his book. “Looking through Sheldrake’s lens, fungal biology integrates with art, philosophy, and human society. His voice is real and personal. His book educates and entertains.”  

The Wonder & Awe podcast will awaken listeners to the reality that our world really can be heaven on earth if we just learn to live in harmony with nature. If we follow nature’s example, we will come to love and protect our one and only home— creating a more sustainable and compassionate planet.

Great minds like Paul Stamets and Merlin Sheldrake can help us make this leap of faith and find the shift in consciousness we need to cope with these transformational times.

Get Your Mushrooms at a CSA

How Permaculture Can Change Our Lives

Louie Schwartzberg demonstrated our powerful connection to nature in his Earth Day 2020 short film.

The mycelial network gives us a glimpse of what is possible through connection. How we can live in harmony with the earth.

We need to recognize that what we do the earth, we do to ourselves. Watch the short film today! 

 

What Is Permaculture?

Permaculture is the practice of living in alignment with nature’s systems. For instance, the mycelial network connects communities of living things and establishes shared economies where ecosystems can flourish without greed. That’s because Earth’s natural ecosystems have created smart systems that help plants and animals live in harmony.

 The practice of permaculture taps into this harmony and works with natural systems, rather than against them. You can apply permaculture principles to your everyday life, no matter where you live.

 The most important part of permaculture is creating symbiosis with nature. For people who live in cities, it can sometimes feel like a challenge to connect with nature. But everyone can find ways to build a relationship with local ecosystems.

 The World Permaculture Association has tons of courses and resources if you want to learn more.

Starting Your Permaculture Journey

 Embracing your local ecosystem is especially important now during this time of social distancing. Visiting a local park is a wonderful way to connect with the trees, plants, and wildlife in your neighborhood.

 If you have the opportunity to visit a wilderness area with less human cultivation, you’ll be able to observe how Mother Nature’s natural systems work together to support life.

 One great way to begin your relationship with permaculture is to grow something. You can do this in your big backyard, on your small balcony, or in apartments with good light.

 Having plants indoors has become a major trend in the last decade, and for good reason. Not only do plants help clean the air for you, but just looking at them can make you feel more balanced.

 Start your permaculture journey today. Permaculture is a way of thinking and doing that will change your life and change the planet. We all belong to the same ecosystem, after all. Connection is everywhere and we must shift our perspective to see the interconnectedness all around us.

 Permaculture can show us how. It’s time to recognize that whatever we do to the earth we do to ourselves.

 There’s no better way to learn about permaculture than watching Fantastic Fungi. Pre-order now on Apple TV!

Visionary Art for Deeply Transformative Times

Louie Schwartzberg received the American Visionary Art Museum’s highest honor, the Grand Visionary Award.

Louie’s work will be on display at the museum through January 2021, part of its 25th original mega-exhibition, “The Secret Life of Earth.”

Watch his inspiring keynote speech below!

A Visionary Exhibit

The American Visionary Art Museum exhibit brings together global earth science researchers and indigenous devoted land stewards. It reflects “the rapidly changing state of our earth while providing insight into the disruption of the delicate balances which permit all life to flourish.” 

The exhibit will help viewers understand and respect the preciousness of our planet. The exhibit focuses on nature’s intelligence, reminding us of the power of pollination, mushroom benefits, ecosystem balance, and even birdsongs!

If you want to read more about visionary art, visit our article at Moving Art.

In this video, American Visionary Art Museum founder and director Rebecca Hoffberger takes you on a video tour through the exhibit, including Louie’s work.

Visionary Art and Visionary Film 

“There’s a magical intersection between the animal and the plant worlds. What do plants need in order to survive? They need soil. Where does soil come from? It comes from the largest organism on the planet,” said Louie Schwartzberg as he accepted the Visionary Award at the 20th annual Maui Film Festival. 

“It can heal, you can feed you can clean up an oil spill can even clean up the atmosphere. And it’s only one cell thick. It’s inside of you. It’s fungi.” You can watch more of his moving speech here, an introduction to the way Louie’s work bridges the realms of science and art. 

 

Louie Schwartzberg’s unique body of work crosses two different artistic genres: visionary art and visionary film.

The Maui Film Festival’s award honors “a film artist for their long-standing commitment to inspire and nurture the endlessly evolving tapestry of global cultures into an ever more compassionate and life-affirming planetary community.” 

The festival only gave out the award one other time in its 20-year history. The first award went to His Holiness, the Dalai Lama. 

 

 The exhibit will help viewers understand mycelium art and respect the preciousness of our planet. The exhibit focuses on nature’s intelligence, reminding us of the power of pollination, ecosystem balance, and even birdsongs!

If you want to read more about visionary art, visit our article at Moving Art.

The Stoned Ape

How did the human brain triple in size in just two million years?

According to the “Stoned Ape Theory” developed by Terrence McKenna and his brother Dennis McKenna, a community of proto-humans might have consumed the magic mushrooms they found in the wild. That act could have profoundly changed their brains.

“It was like a software to program this neurologically modern hardware,” explained Dennis McKenna in this clip from Fantastic Fungi.

“It’s not so simple to say that they ate psilocybin mushrooms and suddenly the brain mutated, I think it’s more complex than that, but I think it was a factor. It was like a software to program this neurologically modern hardware to think, to have cognition, to have language—because language is essentially synesthesia. Language is the association with apparently meaningless sound except that it’s associated with the complex of meaning.” -Dennis McKenna

 

Get the Stoned Ape Poster!

Fantastic Fungi Stoned Ape Poster

Fill out the below and we’ll email you a download link.

Did Our Ancestors Eat Mushrooms?

The Stoned Ape theory starts with our ancestors, the great apes who left the forests, traveling across the savannahs on two feet.

You can learn more when you watch Fantastic Fungi.

However, as these ancient relatives of human beings began their journeys, their food choices expanded as they hunted animals and foraged in new environments.

Research has found that 23 different primates—including humans—added mushrooms in their diets over centuries of evolution.

Charles Grob, a professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, reminds us that many indigenous cultures have a rich history with plant medicine.

Basically, this could reinforce the possibility that our prehistoric ancestors began this experience.

“Human existence on this Earth goes back an extraordinarily long period of time, most of which we have no identifiable information.  It’s entirely plausible, given that, that the indigenous people all around the world know intimately all the plant life, and will know the different combinations of plant life, that our prehistoric ancestors, they had come across the plants that do alter consciousness.”

How Terrence McKenna Described the Theory

Here’s how Inverse framed the basics of the Stoned Ape Theory in their deep dive on the subject:

“McKenna posited that psilocybin caused the primitive brain’s information-processing capabilities to rapidly reorganize, which in turn kick-started the rapid evolution of cognition that led to the early art, language, and technology written in Homo sapiens’ archeological record. As early humans, he said we ‘ate our way to higher consciousness’ by consuming these mushrooms, which, he hypothesized, grew out of animal manure. Psilocybin, he said, brought us ‘out of the animal mind and into the world of articulated speech and imagination.’

“As human cultural evolution led to the domestication of wild cattle, humans began to spend a lot more time around cattle dung, McKenna explained. And, because psilocybin mushrooms commonly grow in cow droppings, ‘the human-mushroom interspecies codependency was enhanced and deepened. It was at this time that religious ritual, calendar making, and natural magic came into their own.’”

The Stoned Ape in Popular Culture

Terrence McKenna and his brother Dennis McKenna developed this theory in the 1970s, and it has spawned some amazing art.

The great comedian Bill Hicks did an unforgettable riff on the Stoned Ape during his Revelations tour, telling audiences:
“I believe that God left certain drugs growing naturally upon our planet to help speed up and facilitate our evolution.”

 

 

Michael Pollan & Others Still 

Although The Stoned Ape theory is a compelling one and helps us to understand more about our origins as a species (we know for a fact, for example, that humans have long used psychedelic mushrooms in religious rituals and rites), we may not have the technology to prove or disprove it conclusively yet. 

For his part, author Michael Pollan is a skeptic of the theory. He recently appeared on the Joe Rogan Experience to discuss his new book on psychedelics, How To Change Your Mind, and expressed his doubts about the theory.

 

Finally, mycologist Paul Stamets touched on what he calls the “Stoned Ape Hypothesis” Fantastic Fungi. In the film, he outlined the impact magic mushrooms could have provided our ancestors’ brain development.

“These magic mushrooms open up the amount of information you receive.  Basically, you can think of it as a contact fluid between synapsis in the brain.  Wow, what a competitive advantage.  Especially if you’re working with the geometry of weapons or having to put something together that will give you a better chance of survival.”

Stamets outlined the hypothesis for this hilarious animated video from After Skool.

Everything You Need To Know About Astromycology

Fungi could hold the key to our travels in outer space, both in real life and science fiction.

On Star Trek: Discovery, a fictional astromycologist named Paul Stamets harnessed the power of cosmic fungi to power an entire spaceship.

Watch the Star Trek character describe his work here:

Star Trek Astromycology

First of all, that’s a little far-fetched for most earth-bound mycologists, but he was inspired (and named after) a real-life mycological superhero–Paul Stamets.

In other words, Stamets describes how real-life fungal networks carry messages. The science-fictional mycologist then expands that idea into a cosmic concept.

Using a fictional mushroom called Prototaxites stellaviatori, the Star Trek Stamets explains how spaceships could use a cosmic mycelial network to travel vast distances:

“Its fungal roots, aka mycelium, spread across the universe, fanning out into infinity to create a matrix that serves as our intergalactic freeway system.”

In addition, if have high hopes for space travel and extraterrestrial contact, you should check out The Harmonic Convergence. It’s a ten-day meditation event dedicated to these consciousness-shifting concepts.

Real Life Astromycology

However, astromycology is a real-life scientific discipline! These scientists use fungi and the mycelium in fungi fto explore the mysteries of life. Scientists in this new discipline test how fungi can survive and thrive in outer space. They hope that someday, these discoveries will teach us how to survive in space.

An article in the Harvard Science Review explored the promise of this new science. 

“In nature, it seems that mushrooms play an integral part in the cycle of nutrients breaking down lignin and other plant material … Perhaps one day, scientists will find a way of incorporating fungi to aid in production of fresh food out in space and degradation of biological waste; or maybe fungi will be used in the absorption of radiation.” 

Finally, in Fantastic Fungi, you get to see Paul Stamets’ Star Trek character for a brief clip in the credits. Just like the fictional character, our film places great hope in the science of fungi.

Watch Fantastic Fungi at home!

Oregon Puts Psilocybin Therapy on the Ballot

Psilocybin Therapy – On The Ballot

Activists have collected more than 164,000 signatures from voters in Oregon to ensure that psilocybin therapy will be on the ballot this fall. 

Next, the state will vote on Initiative Petition 34 (IP 34) in November a petition that would bring psilocybin therapy to Oregon “through a licensed, regulated system that supports and protects patients to get them the help they need” inside the Oregon Health Authority.

In this special video, watch Louie talk with Tom Eckert and Sherri Eckert, the founders of this landmark bill, after a 2019 screening of Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi Possibilities

To begin with, Fantastic Fungi film explored some of the ways medical mushrooms and psilocybin therapy can help in the medical field, and other research shows it can help individuals coping with depression, anxiety, and addiction. 

Tom, a psychotherapist and one of the chief petitioners for IP 34, summed up why this ballot initiative matters right now:  

“Even before COVID-19 hit, Oregon was dealing with sky-high rates of mental illness—which is why we started campaigning to advance this uniquely effective therapeutic option … stressors associated with the pandemic will undoubtedly push those rates even higher, which further highlights the importance of this initiative.”

Mycologist Paul Stamets sits on the board of this initiative, and sees the support of this ballot and its impact on medical mushrooms and psilocybin therapy as a crucial development:

“The Oregon initiative is so critically important. It’s time to create the structures within society for safely using psilocybin in a responsible manner for maximum benefit, as this is a uniquely powerful tool for healing,” said Stamets.

If you want to read more about the power of mushrooms and psilocybin therapy, you should explore the Fantastic Fungi, the Book

Fantastic Fungi sold out 500 screenings in 2019, helping drive this momentum nationwide pushing for more psilocybin research. “Through this mycelium network, people showed up,” said Louie Schwartzberg. 

In a special conversation with Isis Indriya for The Harmonic Convergence, he explained how that journey has kept him inspired:

“We hold conversations with local beekeepers, foragers, scientists, cooks, chefs, and psychonauts. We brought all these people together in a local community, along with local leaders as well, to hold a conversation in public to say: “Here we are, we’re part of a movement and we are unstoppable.”

Experience The Harmonic Convergence

Fantastic Fungi director Louie Schwartzberg joined The Harmonic Convergence—a 10-day long global meditation for universal contact organized by Unify.

His unique work was played throughout the week-long broadcast, and Louie spoke with Isis Indriya for a fascinating conversation about our conscious evolution.

Watch everything here:

A Shift in Consciousness

The Harmonic Convergence (THC) took place from July 5th through the 14th, a historic experiment: “A global meditation to invite peaceful extraterrestrials to show themselves with thousands of lightships across the sky.”

The founders hope to collectively raise human consciousness and empower our planetary stewardship. Through meditation, they hope to elevate “humanity into deeper resonance, coherence, and world peace, and beyond world peace…universal peace.”

Fantastic Fungi creator Louie Schwartzberg has been shooting time-lapse macro-cinematography of fungi for many years. By studying the vast communication network underneath our forests, he discovered a fundamental truth about reality.

Lessons from Nature

Louie has also learned that plant medicine can shift your consciousness and make someone feel our ultimate connection with all living things on the planet. “That’s the shift of consciousness we need right now—to care about everybody and everything,” he said. “The fact that we’re disconnected from each other is what’s hurting us more than anything right now.”

Louie explained how the mycelium network is key to our understanding of nature’s secrets. “We need to understand nature’s intelligence for us to gain the knowledge of how to live sustainably on our planet,” he said. “So it is right there under our feet.”

The study of myology has grown into its own science, providing young fungi scientists a chance to explore this new world.

“Bringing virtual nature into your home is a gift. Because I’m not just showing you what a mountain looks like or what a river looks like. With the use of time-lapse, slow-mo, micro, and macro I’m trying to make the invisible visible,” said Louie.

If you want to continue your adventure, try watching Fantastic Fungi online.

Mushroom Foraging with John Cage  

The great American composer John Cage once wrote, “I have come to the conclusion that much can be learned about music by devoting oneself to the mushroom.” 

John Cage Foraging for mushrooms, from William Gedney.

He was an amateur mycologist throughout his life, and this summer, his writings about fungi will be re-released in a gorgeous collection, John Cage: A Mycological Foray.

Decades after the book was published in an enormous format, Atelier Éditions will bring out a reprint that readers can enjoy. 

Atelier Éditions is a limited-edition publishing house that specializes in archival monographs, contemporary art books, and exploratory printed matter. 

One section of the book is printed on environmental Cartamela paper, a product derived from the industrial waste of apple processing.

This section pays homage to Cage’s 1990 art series, Edible Drawings, illustrations created on paper that could be recycled as food. 

Cage used mushrooms for food while living as a starving artist in Carmel during the Depression.

“I didn’t have anything to eat … So I picked one of the mushrooms and went in the public library and satisfied myself that it was not deadly, that it was edible, and I ate nothing else for a week.” 

 

The great composer even brought his love of mushrooms and being an amateur mycologist to the university. Starting in 1959, he began teaching a course about mushrooms at the New School in New York City along with horticulturist, Guy Nearing.

An Artsy article described that delicious classroom experience:

The class, which included Fluxus artists Alison Knowles and Dick Higgins, went on foraging expeditions, but only to woods accessible through the city’s public transportation system. Creating a positive out look on mycology and Cage as a mycologist himself. They held large dinners to consume their spoils, and their Annual Banquet even made it into the culinary pages of the New York Times.

The Sound of Fungi

Music and nature are intertwined in the work of contemporary creators as well. 

Merlin Sheldrake, the author of Entangled Life, recorded the sound of the Pleurotus fungus consuming his new book. He made some wonderful music with the sound.

You can watch the whole video here: 

Merlin explained the idea behind the video:

“The fungus made such a good noise that I couldn’t resist playing along on the piano… The video and recording of the book being digested was made by the sound ecologist Michael Prime (Youtube: ‘Carbon Ladder’). The electrodes record the bioelectric activity of the fungus alongside its galvanic response (like a lie detector). These data streams control a tunable oscillator. Michael Prime uses filters to shape the raw oscillator signal, but the fluctuations in pitch and rhythm that you hear are a real-time sonic representation of the activity of the fungus as it eats the book.” 

Fantastic Fungi: Reimagine Album

FANTASTIC FUNGI REIMAGINE

We are launching a brand new album inspired by Fantastic Funig and the Mycelial Network.

Pre-orders will launch on Kickstarter June 29th, but the official album release is July 28th.

Over the next several weeks we are excited to share live performances and stories from the artists and producers who have contributed to this wonderful project.

In celebration of our Kickstarter Launch, Unify will be hosting an amazing launch party!

 

Join Us! Live Streaming on Unify’s Facebook Live Channel

Celebrate the Pre-Order Launch of Fantastic Fungi: Reimagine.

Monday, June 29, 2020

8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific

 

The evening will feature live performances and interviews from: Giuliana Furci, Louie Schwartzberg, Beautiful Chorus, Mary Cosimano, Tony Head, Paul Stamets, Amber Rubarth, and William Padilla-Brown.

Hosted by: Marcina Hale and Stephen Apkon

IN TODAY’S DEEPLY TRANSITIONAL TIMES, WE ARE ALL BEING CALLED AS ARTISTS TO REIMAGINE OUR WORLD.

“Reimagine,” a project of Reconsider, together with Amber Rubarth and Parmita Pushman.

To inspire this process, a diverse and visionary group of artists aligned with the themes of the documentary and a love of all things mushroom, have come together to share songs on the upcoming record, “Fantastic Fungi: Reimagine.”

As a global society, we are facing challenging environmental, health, and humanitarian issues – the message of the mycelium taps into the heart of these issues – that we are all connected. The album celebrates the integral part music plays in every movement and is curated to foster a commitment to build a more connected and conscious world.

We need to open our eyes to nature’s intelligent design and our hearts to nature’s wonders. If we can embrace our fungal partners and ancestors, we can change the fate of our planet from mass extinctions to flourishing environments. We can build communities that celebrate and honor life in its many forms.

Watch the Fantastic Fungi Film

 

Fantastic Fungi - Reimagine Album

The double-length album release features original songs, new remixes, and celebrated tracks from some of our favorite artists. Founded on the film’s themes for how the underground mycelium network heals, sustains, and contributes to the regeneration of life on Earth, these songs are designed to help listeners relax, meditate, dream, and create. Truly bringing together the essence of the mycelium network and its interconnectivity.

Our sponsors include SPORE, Ecovative Design, Reconsider, and Ear Trumpet Labs.

Avatar and the Real Life Wood Wide Web

Did you know there was real science behind Avatar‘s most famous concept?  The forest is alive, all nurtured by the Mother Tree.

James Cameron’s Avatar caused a sensation upon its release in 2009. Fans of the science fiction movie returned again and again for repeated viewings, making it one of the biggest box office hits of all time.

The movie touched a real nerve in the modern psyches of so many longing for more balance and connection with all living things in nature.

Continue Reading…

tall trees in forest

Fungi Field Trip

There are worlds of wonder that every child should visit. A journey to the Kingdom of the Mycelia world will spark your children’s curiosity about mushrooms and all the hidden magic there is to be discovered in nature. And it’s as close as a forest near you. 

Start your journey by watching “The Fantastic Fungi Field Trip” panel discussion, part of Fungi Day 2020.

 

Taking the Journey

A fungi field trip can help guide their children in embracing hope and joy, rather than becoming numbed by fear. It’s a way to stimulate and encourage a child’s curiosity in learning about the wonders of our existence.

There are more than 1.5 million species of fungi and mycelium in soil, six times more than the plants with which they share the ground. They are the largest living things on earth, yet in most of their vastness, microscopic. They live all around us, even inside us, hidden from us in plain sight. 

Before embarking with your kids on your exploration of the mycelial world, you should watch that marvelous instructive primer to guide you as to what to be looking for, and what exactly it is you’re finding and seeing in the woods as you spot mushrooms and turn over fallen logs. 

Your kids will be inspired by William Padilla-Brown, the founder of MycoSymbiotics.

The circumstances of his youth, living in the city, afforded him little chance of ever entering the upper echelons of science or academia to learn about subjects such as mycology. 

“I was a city kid, I just played video games. My parents never really took me on hikes or went outside. So finding mushrooms to me was like a spiritual journey.” Today this self-taught “citizen-scientist” is one of the most respected mycologists in the world. 

Paul Stamets, author of the now-classic mushroom text,“Mycelium Running,” explains what hooked him on the mysterious world of mushrooms and mycology as a boy.  “My parents warned me, ‘don’t touch wild mushrooms, they can kill you,’ and so I was attracted to that which was forbidden. Think of this: something that only comes up and disappears in four or five days, that can heal you, kill you, feed you, or send you on a spiritual journey, something that is so powerful yet ephemeral.” 

Explore with Mushroom Kits

 At Far West Fungi, you can buy a mushroom grow kit online, like this gorgeous Lions Mane Mini Farm that has beneficial effects on the brain, heart, and gut. Any kid can handle this project:

“This Mini-Farm requires light misting to produce three to four crops over a two month period. It grows fairly well in warm climates as well. Expect one to two pounds of mushrooms with proper care.”

 If you want a tastier mushroom, you can’t go wrong with the kid-friendly Shiitake Mini-Farm.

“This is our longest lasting Mini-Farm producing three to four crops over a four to five-month period. This is also our most durable Mini-Farm if you have less than perfect indoor growing conditions. The Shiitake mushroom has a unique and fabulous flavor, perhaps the finest of any mushroom.” 

And if you prefer stay-at-home adventures, try watching Fantastic Fungi online.

This documentary has a 5-star rating at Common Sense Media, the gold standard for children’s programming. The reviewer called the film  “one of the most positive and hopeful documentaries in years, this lean, beautiful, entertaining mushroom movie suggests that the answers to many of our problems could grow naturally and abundantly.” 

Want to learn more about foraging and mycology?

Fantastic Fungi, directed by Louie Schwartzberg, is a consciousness-shifting film that takes us on an immersive journey through time and scale into the magical earth beneath our feet, an underground network that can heal and save our planet.

Follow this link to watch Fantastic Fungi at home!

 

Holistic Primary Care Presents ​​​​​​​Fantastic Fungi

Fantastic Fungi and Holistic Primary Care invite you to join a special online screening of Louie Schwartzberg’s Fantastic Fungi film.

Immediately following the screening, will be a live Q&A session with director Louie Schwartzberg, neurologist Maya Shetreat, MD, and holistic psychiatrist, Scott Shannon, MD–all moderated by Holistic Primary Care’s editor, Erik Goldman as the group discusses mushrooms for wellness and the many benefits of mushrooms.

Follow this link to register.

Fungi are the planet’s great transformers. They bridge death and life, chaos and form, energy, and substance. As the first multicellular organisms to emerge from the oceans, fungi shaped the terrestrial world we and our animal kin inhabit. Mushrooms for wellness are vital. And Fantastic Fungi explores these in a mushroom documentary about many mycelium benefits from sustainability to mushroom bees. Mushrooms have profound implications for our future individual and planetary health.

Continue Reading…