Fungus labs 2019: what happened?

This year was bigger and better than ever for raising the profile of fungi.

Over 9,500 teams took on the challenge of growing their own fungus, learning how to pasteurise straw, disperse mycelium and hydrate the mushrooms… among other important duties for our amateur mycologists.

Before using their fungus lab, 64% of people said they had none at all, or very little, understanding how to grow fungi

At Grow Wild, we like to find out what kind of impact our fungus labs have: how much do people learn, what are they inspired to do? We had nearly 2,000 responses to a survey sent out to all our fungus growers, which was fantastic!

After using their fungus lab, 61% of people said they now had a lot of understanding how to grow fungi

Our fungus growing teams are from all across the UK and from a range of backgrounds. Most people grew theirs with their family, but we also had teams in workplaces, in schools and in community groups.

66% of respondents said they would share their knowledge of fungi with family and friends

We also had some amazing tales from around the country along with some excellent photos of people getting into character or enjoying their mushrooms.

Fungus Jones’ Diary

five women sitting around a fungus lab smiling at the cameraThe Sassy Mushrooms with Malcolm, their fungus

Laurie and her colleagues at MM Flowers (aka the Sassy Mushrooms) truly stepped up to the challenge with ‘Operation Malcom’. This day by day telling of their fungus-growing escapade really brightened our day when it appeared in our inbox.

Download and read it yourself!

Inspiring a generation of mycologists

A young girl with blonde hair smiles at the camera holding a mushroom growing from her fungus labYoung fungus grower with her mushroom

We had quite a few people tell us this experience has made them want to become mycologists. One of our survey respondents said, “I am considering doing a geneticist degree” so if they do, we wish them every success.

Parents and teachers alike told us it was a great way to get young people interested in science. Although there were plenty of adults saying they learned a lot from the experience too!

A few surprises along the way

A young boy pokes at a mushroom growing from his fungus lab

This is Joseph. According to his Mum, he struggles with communication and staying still but was fascinated by the whole process of watching the fungus grow and fruit.

“I actually cried to see him interacting with the mushrooms and when he could tell me they were ‘mushrooms’,” she told us. Since then he’s been on several fungi quests in the local park to find more mushrooms.

70% of respondents agreed to some extent that Grow Wild enabled people to build stronger relationships

Meanwhile CEFG* Grandad Norm had to deal with a minor mutiny by his 10 year old Pasteurisation Executive and 4 year old Director of Mycelium Dispersion, who wanted to change his carefully thought through plans for fungus growing. But it seemed to work out in the end.

There were so many more brilliant photos and stories shared by our fantastic fungus growers – many of which feature in the video above.

Thank you to everyone who took part! Here’s to us together helping raise the profile of fungi.

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*Chief Executive of Fungus Growing

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