Fungi Perfecti: Paul Stamets

Before Paul Stamets, I hardly gave mushrooms a thought beyond salad and stir fry, and a mild interest in what popped up from my lawn after a good rain.  After watching his captivating TED Talk, “6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World”, I gained a new and profound respect for these amazing organisms.

Imagine, a fungus that clean up an oil spill AND become dinner?  Fungi also can be harnessed to cure diseases, control household pests without the need for toxic chemicals, decompose a variety of substances, and filter polluted water.  Since 1980, Stamets has spread the message of mushrooms through his small buisness, Fungi Perfecti.  Certified organic, Fungi Perfecti promotes the use of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve the health of the planet and her inhabitants.  Through the site, you can order one of Stamets’s fascinating books, buy kits to grow your own mushrooms, collect recipes, or read up on your favorite species.

A dedicated mycologist for over 30 years, Stamets is as fascinating as the subject he studies.  Throughout his career, he has discovered four new species of fungus, created numerous techniques for the cultivation of mushrooms, written six books, filed over 22 patents for fungus-related products, and conducted a plethora of ecological studies.  He has been the recipient of many accolades including the Bioneers Award and the National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Green-O-Vator Award.  Most recently, Stamets has been given a government grant by the EPA to study the effects of mycofiltration on E. coli-contaminated storm water. Also deeply involved with the conservation of Pacific Northwest’s old growth forests, where many of the world’s most important fungi are found, Stamets is truly a remarkable individual.

Go and explore a compelling part of the natural world with Paul Stamets as your guide!

 

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