Take part in our #TeamFungus challenge!
I've said it before and I'll say it again: fungi are amazing! But I only got the chance to find out because I work for Grow Wild - in general people's awareness and understanding of the fungi kingdom is pretty low.
Fungi are neither plant nor animal. They are essential to the eco-system of our planet; without them we would be knee-deep in decaying plant matter. And the potential of developing uses of fungi for food, medicine and many other walks of life is inspiring, as Paul Stamets, a mycologist (fungi expert), outlines in his talk '6 ways mushrooms can save the world'.
With all this going for the fungi kingdom, why are we all so clueless?
That's why we've launched a campaign to get people growing, and eating, their own fungus. A sporeless strain of Pleurotus ostreatus to be exact, which produces an edible grey oyster mushroom as its fruit. From Wednesday 2 May, teams around the country will be receiving their fungus kits, competing to see who can successfully work together to nurture their fungal mycelium to produce a full-grown mushroom.
There's a national competition as well for all team to apply for: Best in Show (judged by one of Kew Gardens' professional mycologists) and Best Name (by public vote).
Each team has several roles that need to be filled:
- Chief Executive of Fungus Growing - you're the one who will sign up your team and make sure everyone knows their responsibilities
- Fridge Monitor in Chief - needs access to a fridge
- Pasteurisation Executive - they're in charge of the pasteurisation process so will need a kettle and a bowl or bucket. Oh, and they should really be an adult...
- Director of Mycelium Dispersion - don't worry, this will all become clear
- Vice-President of Fungal Hydration - must be willing to get wet (not really)
This is a fun and quirky way to get a bunch of people growing together. And it doesn't require a garden or access to outdoor space.
Here in our office we're already planning to pit one team against another - may the best fungus growers win!
Image: An edible grey oyster mushroom growing from a fungus kit, Grow Wild.