Wild Mushroom Festival

A reason to celebrate

| July/August 2002 Issue

Mushrooms can save the planet, contends maverick mycologist Paul Stamets. And he means that literally. In experiments, Stamets has shown that down-to-earth ’shrooms can neutralize toxic wastes. This scientific breakthrough (see Utne Reader, Jan./Feb. 2001, p. 28) comes as no surprise to the residents of Telluride, Colorado, who whoop it up every August to honor the fungus among us. It’s taste, more than environmental restoration, that is celebrated in this woolly festival, which features folks parading up Main Street dressed as chanterelles and porcini (with a few nods to psilocybin along the way). You’ll also find lots of great food, from soups to "scrap-of-the-woods" stir fry. Try staging your own ’shroomfest, showcasing your local mycological delicacies as well as celebrating fungi’s potential to restore ecological balance. For information on Telluride’s festival, visit www.telluride.com/mushroom.html. For more information on Stamet’s work, go to www.fungiperfecti.com.