In our blog we’ve talked a lot about the health benefits of our home mushroom kits, the ease and reliability of growth, and the incredible bounty you can reap to nourish yourself in a sustainable way. Eating well and making health-conscious choices is good and all; however, we would be doing the fantastical, wonderful world of fungi a disservice if we didn’t mention some of the incredible ways they’re being used to help heal our planet.
The Day Oyster Mushrooms Saved San Francisco Bay
In early November of 2007, a cargo ship traveling through San Francisco Bay struck the Bay Bridge Tower, spilling over 58,000 gallons of fuel. To residents living in and around the bay, it was an ecological disaster whose implications were thought to be ultimately unknown and far-reaching. Normal response from the government when responding to a chemical, oil, or fuel spill is to immediately quarantine the area and contain the spread of the substance using other types of chemicals they say are “inert” or less damaging to the environment.
However, a group of guerilla volunteers decided that they didn’t want the fate of the bay to be left up to the authorities and their strategy of fighting chemicals with chemicals. They took the unorthodox path, using completely sustainable and green methods for containing and cleaning up oil by focusing on smaller sections of the affected beaches.
Armed only with hair mats woven from thousands of strands of hair, they went to work sopping up the oil by hand and creating berms of mats along the shoreline. The hair naturally absorbed the oil from the air and water and acted as a sponge. One the mats were saturated with oil, the problem was still how to effectively eliminate the oil for good in an environmentally friendly way. Enter the mighty Oyster Mushroom. Renowned mycologist Paul Stamets donated thousands of dollars’ worth of mushroom spores to break down and consume the oil mats.
This was a novel approach that got heads turning locally and abroad. Could mushrooms really be used to help clean up environmental disasters and return coasts back to a healthy state? The answer was yes. In only 12 weeks the mushrooms grew and absorbed the oil from the mats, breaking the bonds and turning the mats into usable soil. The experiment was so successful the EPA decided to give free courses so that more volunteers could be certified in the oil cleanup.
Respect the Power of Your Shrooms
Awesome to watch grow, tasty to eat, and good for your body. All great things, but don’t let your thoughts stop there when it comes to the capabilities of your home mushroom kit. Those beautiful oyster mushrooms have the power to clean up our messes and revitalize ecosystems that were once thought o be beyond repair. Next time you’re with friends cooking up a batch of shrooms, tell them about the story about Oyster mushrooms and San Francisco Bay.
Time to restock? First-time shroomer?
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