Learn basic ID, species, life cycle, and potential applications of mushrooms to solve community level challenges
Mushrooms are a fascinating set of organisms that are part of the larger set of fungi which includes yeasts, molds, and a host of other species. They are quickly gaining popularity for a wide range of applications from food to medicine to cleaning up toxic pollutants.
This course offers an overview of foundational knowledge needed to understand how mushrooms might play a role in your farm and/or greater community.
Students will learn the basic biology and life cycle, how to properly harvest and identify a specimen, and receive basic information and examples of ways humans are using mushrooms successfully depending on their goals and context.
While not required, this course is an excellent starting point for anyone curious about mushrooms as a prerequisite to our cultivation deep-dive courses including BF 151: Outdoor Mushroom Growing, BF 153: Indoor Mushroom Growing, and BF 154: Community Mushroom Educator Training.
All levels - This course is for new farmers or experienced farmers seeking to diversify their operations. It’s also relevant to woodlot owners and backyard gardeners, and forest stewards interested in this topic. Growing as a viable economic enterprise will be discussed, though techniques can also be applied at any scale. Mushroom growing is an easy topic for beginners with some experience farming and managing crop systems.
At the completion of this course, you will:
- Be able to describe basic biology and life cycle of fungi and mushrooms
- Know the proper process for safe harvest and identification
- Learn methods for propagating and cultivating mushrooms
- Discover medicinal mushrooms and their uses
- Consider applications of mushrooms for materials and remediation of toxins in the environment
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction next begins Tues Sept 20, 2022 from 6:30-8pm Eastern, with the final webinar on Tues Oct 25. While we encourage live attendance so you have the opportunity to engage with the presenters and ask questions, all webinars are recorded and posted in your online classroom for students to watch anytime. Once you have enrolled in this course, you will retain access to all materials indefinitely, and can return to participate in the live webinars in future offerings of the course if you wish.
Our Community Mushroom Educators (CMEs) come from a range of backgrounds, communities, and experiences with fungi and together co- facilitate each mushroom course offered through the Cornell Small Farms Program. The teaching team for each course includes a Cornell-affiliated co-facilitator (Steve Gabriel) and one to three CME co-facilitators that offer content and facilitate demos, activities, guest speakers, and more to provide a rich learning environment. All CMEs complete an initial training and are then supported to develop their facilitation skills in virtual and in-person events centered around mushroom education.