People all over the Triad want to grow their own food and here at the Edible Schoolyard we love teaching people about edible gardening. Through our Urban Homestead weekend workshops, we help budding farmers in our community build skills. Back in January, we offered a basic mushroom class, where the folks attending learned some of the fundamentals of mushroom cultivation and went home with their very own bag of sterilized straw, inoculated with oyster mushroom spawn. We kept a few bags here in the Greensboro Children’s Museum as well, which I am happy to report have fruited successfully. The mycelium has spread throughout the straw and to the untrained eye, it looks like someone left the bag in a damp dark corner and let it get moldy.
The fungi kingdom, which includes molds, yeasts, and mushrooms, feed off of other organisms and help recycle nutrients in the environment. There are even fungi used to in bioremediation for removal of toxins such as petroleum, BPA, and chemical warfare agents. Mycoremediation-using fungi to safely process toxins-may even prove key in removing radiation from the environment around the nuclear power plant in Fukushima. To read more about this remarkable kingdom, check out these websites: http://www.fungi.com/mycotech an/mycova.html and http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/05/070522-fungi.html