Building a world of
resilient communities.

MAIN LIST

 

A little help from the fungus kingdom

Yesterday I went on a quest for the fabled fungus that’s been mopping up petrochemicals from a food co-op’s parking lot. Olympia Food Co-op‘s eastside store was the place. I timed my visit just right, happening upon a crew of landscapers working the butterfly and bird garden.

The grounds of this food co-op include a sweet garden meant to attract pollinators.

Outside the food co-op is a sweet garden meant to attract pollinators (and people).

Sarika, the co-op’s landscape coordinator, jumped at the chance to tell me about the project. The mycoremediation began five years ago in partnership with Olympia Mycelial Network. Oyster mushrooms are able to digest petrochemicals into harmless compounds. So the drainage ditch of the parking lot contains several burlap bags full of oyster mushroom mycelium.

Bags filled with oyster mushroom mycelium.

Bags filled with oyster mushroom mycelium.

The idea is to filter the oil before it hits the drain down by the sidewalk.

Ever wonder where the runoff disappears to when it enters a drain like this?

Ever wonder where the runoff disappears to when it enters a drain like this?

I also met Brittany and Jordan, two young Louisiana-born “WWOOFers” volunteering with Sarika. They are traveling around the country with another friend, exploring farming innovations and learning how they can be of use to our beautiful planet. (Check out their adventures at Traveling Tripod.)

Jordan, Sarika, and Brittany

Jordan, Sarika, and Brittany

Brittany waxed eloquent about the role of mushrooms—this critical work is all about ensuring “clean water for everyone.”

Signage showing the overview of the mycoremediation

Signage showing an overview of the fungi’s work

Having been in the Pacific Northwest for almost a month, I’m beginning to grasp the extreme sensitivity of Puget Sound. This project represents just one small but significant effort to right the wrongs of our polluting ways.

Hood Canal, a basin of Puget Sound, as seen from Potlatch Beach on a moody day.

Hood Canal, a basin of Puget Sound, as seen from Potlatch Beach on a moody day.

The possibilities are staggering. Peter McCoy, who last year contributed a guest post about radical mycology, first told me about this project over a year ago. Finally seeing those humble mushroom bags doing their work brought tears to my eyes.

Sarika is looking into funding to pursue farther-reaching remediation. And the Radical Mycology Collective, of which Olympia Mycelial Network is a part, is launching its fall tour today. I can’t wait till the big Radical Mycology Convergence, taking place in Orangeville, IL this October!

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Sign up for regular Resilience bulletins direct to your email.

Take action!  

Find out more about Community Resilience. See our COMMUNITIES page
Start your own projects. See our RESOURCES page.
Help build resilience. DONATE NOW.

 

This is a community site and the discussion is moderated. The rules in brief: no personal abuse and no climate denial. Complete Guidelines.


How Smarter Irrigation Might Save Rare Mussels and Ease a Water War

It’s clear that restoring healthy flows to the Flint River and its …

School Days in 2040: Saikou's Day aboard the Tigerfish Floating School

While floating schools certainly aren’t solving the climate crisis in …

Flood-Ravaged Gulf Coast Residents Ask President Obama To Cancel Federal Offshore Drilling Lease Auction

During President Obama’s visit to a flood-ravaged area near Baton …

IPCC Special Report to Scrutinise ‘Feasibility’ of 1.5C Climate Goal

The head of the United Nation’s climate body has called for a thorough …

Of Horseshoe Crabs and Empathy

I feel quite sure that whatever the scientific explanation for the die-off …

Climate Change and Colonial History Make a Toxic Combination

New research points to a powerful link between climate change and armed …

McKibben: It's time to declare war on climate change

We're under attack, said author and climate campaigner Bill McKibben, and …