By Richard Pollard, Grow Wild's South England engagement manager...
This year I’ve discovered that Fungi have been running this planet for hundreds of millions of years, and it appears we are all only just waking up to the fact that ‘’Fungi are natures engineers’’ as Lee Davies – Kew Mycologist told me, during a Grow Wild community project visit to Kew Fungarium, to view the worlds largest collection of fungi.
Fungi are everywhere linking up the planets life support systems (ecosystems) like a giant wood-wide-web, providing the means for trees to exchange nutrients and to warn each other of encroaching disease. Fungi have even been shown to enable trees like the great English Oak to extend their life by hundreds of years, not to mention helping us extend our own lives through the advances of Penicillin.
Fungi are so amazing they have even be reported to survive in space, could it be true that fungi are out there in space colonising other planets??
Fungi are revealing themselves to be one of natures most incredible powers and are attracting all sorts of attention from Grow Wilders. I visited Feed Avalon in Somerset earlier this year, who have started an innovative project harnessing the power of fungi to absorb toxic metals from a contaminated site in Glastonbury, by inoculating logs (plugging oak logs with Oyster Mushroom mycelium) and sinking them into contaminated soils onsite.
Organic Lea near Epping forest is establishing a whole production line of fungus kits/logs and training, as part of their Fungusamongus project. They're using coffee granules as their growing medium - fungi have never tasted so good!
Even Camelot have been getting on board with a learn and lunch session, where they learnt how to cook oyster mushrooms and the remarkable Lion’s Mane. Given that Lion's Mane is linked to research demonstrating that it improves your memory, they won’t forget that session!