Mushroom workshop an educational exercise in sustainability

If you are interested in learning about the mystical world of fungi, join Jessica Wolf for a workshop on growing your own mushrooms in Errington, B.C. Workshop participants will learn about harvesting wild mushrooms and create their own grow kits.

Wolf is passionate about wild foods and foraging plants that carry medicinal properties. “I have the most pleasure in life when I’m walking around foraging, so naturally [I] want to to share that joy and passion with others, but also, [there’s] that deeper level of protecting the wilderness and ecosystems,” said Wolf.

Workshop participants will learn how to inoculate alder logs with shiitake mushroom spawn which they will take home. Additionally, participants will be provided with an oyster mushroom grow kit to set up on their own. The oyster mushroom spawns will be inoculated in pasteurized straw and will fruit in up to six weeks. Wolf will teach people how to harvest wild mushrooms and look at local medicinal mushrooms. It is important to note that there are deadly poisonous mushrooms so research is needed before harvesting alone.

Different types of fungi have been used in environmental remediation and are important components of the ecosystem. They act as decomposers, breaking down plant matter which nourishes the soil. There have also been studies that show oyster mushrooms can help with oil spills by converting the structure of hydrocarbons found in oil to make it viable.

With the uncertain future of food security, Wolf realizes the need to create sustainable communities and reconnect with nature. “A part of what I want to do [is] bring people a return to their connection to nature . . . We are growing up very detached from that connection in our lives. I don’t know if many people are really connected to the importance of water and all the ecosystem functions that sustain our own lives. We don’t appreciate how we depend on the [earth’s resources] for survival,” said Wolf.

Encouraging people to grow their own food or shop locally helps Vancouver Island’s local food movement thrive, and learning how to grow mushrooms or harvest food in the wild can be an empowering part of that process. Wolf hopes to share her passion for nature and educate people about the magical world of mushrooms that awaits them.

Workshops run May 8, 9, and 10 from 1–4:30 p.m. in Errington, B.C. To register for the Grow Your Own Mushrooms workshop, visit jessicawolf.ca or call 250-734-1422. Sign up for Jessica Wolf’s newsletter for information on future workshops.

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