For contemporaries coming of age during the climate crisis, the potent animals are more important than ever
Cassandra Posey was a 25 -year-old fashion branding consultant living in the Lower East Side of Manhattan when, in the spring of 2018, she and a girlfriend got into a near-stranger’s car bound for Baltimore. The move was a friend-of-a-friend worded William Padilla-Brown, a dreadlocked permaculturist who sold mushrooms and their cultures from his home in Asheville, North Carolina.
He and Posey had recently begun exchanging contents on Instagram, where they bonded over a shared interest in plant-based medicines. When Padilla-Brown offered to drive Posey to a workshop he was render on spirulina gardening, she lied that her friend was going through a difficult breakup and would need to tag along, just in case the travel should warrant a wingwoman.
” We hop-skip in the car ,” Posey recollects,” and I’ll never ignore, he was playing some creepy-crawly live music and I was like,’ Oh, it’s going to be one of those journeys ‘, you know ?”
But almost immediately, they became a couple; about as soon, Posey started a mushroom business of her own. Within a year, joined by Padilla-Brown’s four-year-old son, Leo, they would relocate to a farm in rural Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, to raise chickens, tend a garden-variety- and spread the gospel of fungi.
As far as diversions croak, mycology- studies and research, collect and production of fungu- has never been wildly removed from the mainstream. Upwards of 90 neighbourhood mushroom fraternities exist throughout the US and Canada; members host foraging steps and help each other tackle subtle taxonomical variants.
Despite its quiet proliferation, sprout hunting has, until very recently, retained something of an old-world mystique. The age demographic associated with the activity has been, accordingly , not exactly young. But sometime in the last decade, there’s been a shift.
On Instagram, hashtags like #mushroomhunting and #mushroomsofinstagram have been used more than a million times. The photos illustrate prized edibles on the forest floor- crinkle-capped morels or vase-like chanterelles- and, naturally, bright-eyed influencers proudly cradling armfuls of Technicolor chicken of the woods.
As younger contemporaries come of age in an era of climate catastrophe, more and more members of the Gen Z and millennial cohorts are turning to the earth for answers to their own wellbeing- and the health of the planet. Their burgeoning mushroom madness really are likely to be the quintessential sign of the times.
Posey, Padilla-Brown, and little Leo were among the more than 300 mushroom admirers- most in their 20 s and 30 s- who recently set up camp on a parcel of country in upstate New York’s Adirondack Park for the second annual New Moon Mycology Summit.
The summit’s packed program included workshops on DIY mushroom cultivation and navigated goes to identify therapeutic seeds. Environmental stewardship was a recurrent theme of conversation throughout, which was infused with the language of anti-capitalist activism and an emphasis on living more reciprocally with sort amid an economy of extraction.