Cultures around the world have long valued mushrooms as a vital source of nutrition and healing for centuries. Several mushrooms are easy to grow at home and on gardens and farms, with minimal startup costs and materials that many may already have on hand. Many communities lack the knowledge of how to get started and build a successful growing practice.
With support from USDA-SARE and USDA-AFRI, Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY and the Cornell Small Farms Program is partnering with Farm School NYC to offer a Community Mushroom Educator (CME) Training that aims to build a cohort of educators from urban and rural centers to increase access to mushroom knowledge.
Our initial group of educators come from diverse communities and over the past few years we have met online and in person to learn cultivation techniques and discuss how we can effectively teach skills in our communities.
Community Mushroom Educators:
- Live and grow in both rural and urban locations
- Are committed to community-based education models
- Engage with community organizations, farms, and community gardens
- Speak multiple languages and can offer bi-lingual trainings, especially Spanish
- Work for farming non-profits supporting women, refugee, and BIPOC farmers
- Are enthusiastic about growing mushrooms, and excited to share with others!
Current Community Mushroom Educators
Cecilia De La Fuente
Amanda Heidel, Mushroom Shed, www.mushroomshed.us
Jie Jin, CuriousSeed, www.curiouseed.com
Renee Keitt. Kelly St Garden + New Roots Farm
Aysha Venjara, Falaha Center for Spiritual Agriculture, www.falahacenter.org
James Ankenman, Harlem Grown
Ciara Cidell, Randalls Island Urban Farm
Zach Strein, Wycoff House Farm
MaryJo Lane, MJ Creative Gardens
What do CMEs learn? How do I get involved?
Community Mushroom Educator Virtual Training 2022
April 5 - May 10, 2022
In 2021, CMEs Inoculate Hundreds of Logs For NYC Urban Ag Projects
In the Summer of 2021, mushroom logs connected the upstream forests of New York state with the residents of the city engaged in urban agriculture. These logs were harvested in the Catskill mountains and sailed 90 miles down the Hudson River using a carbon-neutral sail-freight ship, the Schooner Apollonia.
From the original pick-up in Kingston to delivery in Red Hook, Brooklyn and inoculation at the Red Hook Community Farm, hundreds of individuals were involved in making this event a success, with close to 300 logs being distributed to 12 different urban ag projects in New York City.
This event is just one example of the type of collaborative, intersecting efforts the Community Mushroom Educator Network aims to facilitate. As we share knowledge, community connections, resources, and ideas, the collective benefits of mushrooms can be better realized by more people in a wide range of communities.
This project is a collaboration between:
This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program under sub award number ENE19-156-33243.