In Review: Spring and Summer 2018
Thanks to all of our fungal friends, this year’s spring was the most busy and successful season yet. All of our spring classes were sold out January through May, the attendance and volunteer participation at our Spring Open House party was unprecedented, and the volunteers at our regular volunteer days helped us reach the end of the first phase of our site renovations for our Research Station at the Circle Acres Nature Preserve.
Myco Alliance would like to extend our sincere gratitude to you, our community of supporters, without whom we would not nearly know the bliss of mutual appreciation at the scale we experienced the past six months.
Spring’s bounty has allowed us to make the most of our summer, as we prepare to once again intensify our efforts in the Fall. We’ve grown our team from two to six fungophiles, and our Director of Operations, Daniel Reyes is traveling to Mexico to spread spores thanks to the generosity of many of you who supported the, “Mushrooms for Economic Renewal,” crowdfunding campaign.
This campaign, which is still open for donation, is focused on developing economic and food resilience through mushroom cultivation in historically impoverished regions of Mexico as well as those affected by the 7.1 magnitude earthquake of September 19th, 2017. To read more about this campaign and catch a glimpse of Daniel’s fantastically fungal itinerary, click here.
Stay tuned for our August blog post to hear post-trip details, Fall class announcements, intros to new team members, and more of our latest developments.
All sightings are from the, “Circle Acres Nature Preserve Project” and/or the “Mushrooms of Texas Project” on iNaturalist. Species descriptions are provided by iNaturalist or an otherwise cited source.
Happy American Independence Day! - How ketchup, irresponsible banking, and the ink used to write the Declaration of Independence are all fungal
Fellow mycophiles will know, there’s always a strong desire to connect everything with fungi. It’s a certain kind of lovestruck that we can’t always help. Mushroom lovers even go so far as to, “think like a mushroom.” We adopt fungal philosophies and strive to be the caregivers, responsible recyclers, connectors, and sources of physical and emotional nourishment that we believe our fungal friends to be. And many of us are fascinated by fungal history -- whether that be as it relates to the evolution of our natural world, or how humans and other animals have interacted with fungi. I found myself wondering how America’s Independence Day might have fungal connections. So I searched the time period of the creation of the Declaration of Independence - hunting for mushrooms.
*Note: to enjoy more thorough american and worldly fungal histories visit books like Mycophilia by Eugenia Bone, Mushroom: A Global History (Edible) by Cynthia D. Bertelsen, Radical Mycology by Peter McCoy and many, many notable others.* Here’s a list of my trivial but fun findings:
Thomas Jefferson ate mushrooms (also called mycophagy). He was one of our first, most famous foodies who enjoyed recipes regularly laden with mushrooms at his famous Monticello home. His love for mushrooms likely came from his experience as the French Ambassador for America (French fungal culinary traditions include full-on familial foraging and feasting).
Ketchup was originally made with mushrooms as the primary base ingredient instead of tomatoes.
As told by Michael Maciarello in his article, “Mushroom’s Role in the Declaration of Independence,” the ink used to write the Declaration was a mixture of inky cap mushroom ink (Coprinus comatus) and iron gall ink. To read more, click here.
The term, “mushroom bank,” can be found in Thomas Jefferson’s personal writings and a fair number of social reform writings of the time, due to free banking laws that allowed banks to print more money than they could keep in circulation. Thus allowing the amount of money available to the colonies to increase rapidly in quantity and then effectively disappear or become void as it’s value was lost or the banks closed down (mushrooming).
Maciarello, Michael. “Http://Herbarium.desu.edu/Downloads/Files/Inky_Caps_Jul_3_2011.Pdf.” Claude E. Phillips Herbarium, Delaware State University | College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, 3 July 2011, herbarium.desu.edu/downloads/files/Inky_Caps_Jul_3_2011.pdf.
Varieties of Banking and Regional Economic Development in the United States,
1840-1860 - Mushroom Banks
The writings of Thomas Jefferson: being his autobiography ..., Volume 11 - Mushroom Banks
Mushroom: A Global History - Thomas Jefferson