Tues, Oct 23, 2012, reflections on the event: Hey myco-folk! I’ve just returned from the Radical Mycology Convergence in Port Townsend, WA and am hanging out in Seattle drinking coffee. I’ll be back in California later today to soak in the warm San Francisco culture.First off, what was the Radical Mycology Convergence? Over two hundred myco-minded individuals congregated to the northeastern point of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula for a five day conference in Port Townsend to discuss mycology, remediation, and ecology. Visitors from coast to coast shared knowledge in mushroom cultivation, bioremediation, farming, medicinal mushrooms, event organization, and many other stimulating subjects! This was the second annual Radical Mycology Convergence, and the organizers are interested in expanding next year’s convergence to cater to a larger number of individuals. The location is yet to be decided.
Port Townsend was cold and sometimes wet, but spirits were high and excited. The cost for attendees was based on a sliding scale. Attending the event did not require paying a specific fee, and the organizers asked only for a donation of $10-50.
(Attendees wait in line for mid-day lunch break. Yummy food was provided three times a day for all attendees)
One of the intentions of the convergence was to empower and educate other individuals who are interested in creating their own convergence or mycology group in other parts of the country. Using a mycological metaphor, we became spores of knowledge intending to spread across the land and establish our own mycelial networks.
The Radical Mycology Convergence was a complete success, and from talking to the organizers, I’m convinced they felt the same way. I want to thank the organizers and all the presenters for assisting me with my recordings of the RMC workshops and with impromptu interviews. The organizers established a place for all of us to camp, fed us hot, healthy food at least three times a day, and provided yerba mate, coffee, and gallons of mushroom tea!
To all those with whom I shared a connection, I hope to see you blossom in your future. Please contact me: email@example.com and spread that mycelial network.
Personal notes: I was surprised at the amount of people who were interested in a resource for further documentation of events like these. I hope my audio and video documentation can be an endless resource for all who attended and for those who could not attend. Because of the number of workshops held at RMC2012, several workshops were held at one time. I did my best to record the workshops which I felt both piqued my visitors’ interests, and as a springboard for my own future investigations and endeavors.
Here is a quick list of workshops and interviews I documented:
- Understanding Medicinal Mushrooms (wowy!)
- Radical Mycology 101
- How to Identify Mushrooms: a Basic Introduction to Characteristics and Stature Type
- Defending the Forest (a group discussion)
- Reading the Land, aka applying fungi and bacteria to an unhealthy terrain
- Soil Basics
- Truffling, aka How to Find Truffles in the Pacific Northwest
- How to Create Your Own Radical Mycology Group
- Bioremediation (aka “Earth Repair”)
- Medicinal Lichens (which, by the request of the presenter, will only appear on the RMC2012 website, more updates when that arrives)
- Joining and Creating a Community Lab
- Closing Notes by the Organizers
Look forward to seeing and hearing these events in the near future!
There were many more workshops which I was unable to attend. Some of these other workshops were recorded by other individuals. Hopefully through collaboration all of the documentation will make its way back to the RMC website
. I’ll make announcements as the media rolls in. For comfort, we’re looking at about a couple months before all of the documentation is completely cleaned, organized, and uploaded, though expect them to trickle in one at a time.
On mushroomjoe.com: Which, by the way, brings me to another point. I realize the current state of mushroomjoe.com is fairly limited. Currently, mushroomjoe.com is a linear blogging site, and as such is limited in its potential to organize and present media and information. I’ll soon be making an announcement concerning the future of mushroomjoe.com. I’m excited! I hope you are, too! mushroomjoe.com will be stretching beyond simply mushrooms, and will be capturing the larger picture of which mycology is simply a branch.
On what I learned: I’ve always felt the community of myco-minded folk are the most eclectic, diverse, interesting, and intellectual of all communities of which I’ve been a part. These feelings concerning this community were confirmed after this event. RMC2012 drew together scientists working on their doctorates, curious-minded folk just out of high school, urban foragers, college students working toward a more environmentally friendly future, and urban and rural farmers, young and senior, to name a few. Everyone connected and gained from one another. The mycology community is extremely generous, and I want to thank everyone for their endless hospitality and generosity.
I also learned that understanding mycology is just a small, itty-bitty piece of a much larger puzzle toward understanding our natural world, and especially understanding bioremediation. After RMC2012, I’m interested in learning more about bacteria, soil, composting, and a host of other branches that belong to the larger ecological issues. The presentation I documented on bioremediation by Leila Darwish will reveal a more extended list of skills and knowledge to be gained.
On a separate, but related endeavor: Another subject that came up during RMC2012 was the need for a central online location of documenting hands-on do-it-yourself bioremediation techniques, case studies and anecdotes of the effects of medicinal mushrooms, and an index and central resource for remediation and cultivation techniques, and a wiki to boot. I’m excited to be part of a project which will hopefully become an invaluable resource for earth-friendly folk across our planet.