The Secret Life of Fungi: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility

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Originally posted by Chelsea Green on April 18, 2018. Reposted with permission.

Did you know that our collective future could well pivot on people coming to understand that soil fungi matter? Or that there’s such a thing as fungal consciousness?

Mycorrhizal-Planet-Michael-Phillips-Chelsea-GreenFungi have intricate lives, behaviors, and uses most people are unaware of. Mychorrizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with the root systems of other plants. The crucial, symbiotic role that fungi play in everything from healthy plants to healthy soils to a healthy planet.

Beyond farmers and gardeners, Mycorrhizal Planet will resonate with anyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.

The following is an excerpt from Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility that has been adapted for the web.

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Respecting Intuition while Getting Over the Fear of Eating Wild!

Ductifera pululahuana

I know the feeling...the exciting one you get when walking through the woods and someone says, "Hey, you can eat this!"  I also know the feeling of looking at Ductifera pululahuana on a log and thinking...say whaaaa? I'm supposed to eat this? Then if we're adventurous enough to take some home to try, it sits... and it sits, because we don't know how to use and enjoy it. I know the feeling.

I also know the feeling of finding different sources that say plant "x" is edible while others say it's not. Ductifera pululahuana is not considered a "choice" mushroom like morels. Some sources even claim it is inedible. I was lucky to have found these with my Chinese and Lithuanian friends and after some extensive research into the fungus, proper ID and cross reference between the three of us...I boiled it, made a sweet soup and ate it. It was delicious, and different to my palate. While it was new for me, this mushroom is commonly used in Chinese soups and is also noted to be supportive to female health. Knowing this history gave me more confidence to eat it traditionally sweet rather than savory. It has the taste of rain + minerals mixed with a delicious sweetness from the broth.

After this mushroom experience I realized that there is a process of trusting, intuitively saying yes, and building a relationship with a plant or fungus. With time and practice you will become more and more familiar with perennial wild plants so that you too can confidently prepare and enjoy these plants, fungi, and mosses. 

Today, I'm sharing my triple check when foraging for wild edibles. Much like the three object/composition rule in visual art, we're going to use three checks when building a relationship with perennial wild edibles. 

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Creamy Chickweed Pesto with Sweet Potato Fries

 

As the days are getting hotter and hotter here in Chicago my body is craving lighter meals packed with nutrition. Spring –Fall are busy times for me, so I want to be sure have quick simple meals that fill me. For this I have been making a Creamy Chickweed Pesto (GF/V) made with cashews, chickweed, a pinch of salt, and garlic all blended up. Easy, simple, beautiful and oh so good!

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Gift of Gratitude & Knowledge

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Take advantage of our Gift of Gratitude and Gift of Knowledge to save on 2018 courses! Register for any of our 2018 courses - Permaculture Forest Gardener, Edible Wild Plants Certificate, Bioregional Herbalism, or Advanced Bioregional Herbalism and save with one or both Gifts! When you register before December 5th you'll save an additional $25.

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We Need Your Vote!

VOTE FOR THE RESILIENCY INSTITUTE "COMMUNITY TREE"

Take the family for a visit to Cantigny Park in Wheaton for a Free Tour of McCormick House. View the seven "Community Trees" on Display and VOTE for your favorite (Hint: The Resiliency Institute). The tree with the most votes receives $2,500 from the McCormick Foundation. You can vote as many times as you want. Kids can vote, too!

The Resiliency Institute was one of seven organizations honored by the Robert R. McCormick Foundation with a $2,500 grant and an invitation to decorate a "Community Tree". The area charities were invited to participate because their missions involve issues or causes that were important to Robert McCormick during his career and life at Cantigny. The "Community Trees" will be on display at the McCormick House November 17th through December 30th

Let us know what you think of our tree via FACEBOOK

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