Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World
Posted by deborahmclaren on October 21, 2009
I have spent the past couple of weeks thumbing through the book “Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World” by Paul Stamets. As you can imagine from the title, Stamets is practically religious in his message that we can use living systems to solve environmental problems and to restore ecosystems.
One story that stands out in my mind is about his brother’s no-till farming technique. After the produce is cut, the stalks and roots are left in the field. As mushrooms grow in this material they hold the earth in place, absorb and keep more water, and return nutrients to the land. The land stays fertile.
Stamets also discusses the numerous ways that mushrooms have been used as medicine, discussions from the renewal of toxic land to the rehabilitation of toxic human bodies, gardening techniques, how fungi can live off of and absorb and grow on human hair, petro products and other crazy stuff — and compares mushroom growth and shapes to those of galaxies and universes. Could this book be more interesting? And it is written in perfectly readable, understandable English.
My husband Rob and I started taking our son, Anil, mushroom hunting this fall. He was immediately captivated and not only discovered many different types of fungi, but was intensely interested in helping us identify them later. I think part of his interest might have had to do with the fact that many mushrooms are dangerous and have names like “Death Angel,” and sometimes glow – like Jack-o-lanterns. Very cool for 9 year old boys — and I’m happy its mushrooms instead of Play Station 3 warriors… way more organic!
I’m going to have to check Stamet’s book out for another term from the library. It’s too much fun. And I think I might have to start doing mushroom tours! I’ve got some great places in mind — call me if you want to tour both wild and domestic mushroom sites in Minnesota next year!