In September 2020, I hosted a Mushroom Cultivation Workshop through the Neighborhood Small Grant program. The workshop aimed to teach participants about fungi and provide everyone with the skills and materials necessary to grow edible mushrooms from logs.

Before writing an application for the grant I contacted Robin Mercy, a mushroom grower and farmer in the Kootenay Region, to organize the workshop. Robin had taught community classes in the past about fungi and was excited to work with me on this project. The plan was to inoculate logs with oyster and shiitake spores. Growing mushrooms using logs as a substrate is a low maintenance, inexpensive, and long-term mushroom cultivation method. Once a log is inoculated mushrooms can be harvested from it for up to five years.

In terms of practical decisions, I decided to host the workshop over zoom. This was due to several factors but primarily because of shifting COVID regulations.

In advance of the workshop, Robin sent mushroom cultivation kits to the city. We anticipated about 10 participants. I then picked up some additional supplies and compiled them with the kits. A few days before the workshop, I dropped off the supplies at participants’ houses. The workshop was informative and lively. Mushrooms are fascinating, and they play a vital role in ecology. I think that mushroom cultivation can be a rewarding addition to any outdoor garden, especially here in the Pacific Northwest, globally recognized as having good conditions for cultivating many mushrooms.

I feel like the workshop acted as a catalyst for connecting people with who share a similar interest in gardening and mushrooms. I am grateful for the small grants for providing an opportunity to host a community based workshop and for the funding which makes it accessible for everyone to participate.
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