Fungi are found throughout the world, often playing critical roles at the center of all ecological webs. As culturally important foods and medicines, as well as instigators of religious practices, they have been intimately tied to the development and spread of human societies. And yet, despite their numerous influences on the history of the world, fungi are completely disregarded by the majority of people today.
In 2006 Peter McCoy founded Radical Mycology, a grassroots organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the many ways to work with fungi for personal, societal, and ecological health. Nearly a decade later, McCoy has written Radical Mycology to share the wide array of skills and insights that have arisen from the organization’s international work to advance the science of appropriately applied mycology. Shattering commonly held beliefs on the value of the Fungal Queendom, Radical Mycology definitively explores the reasons that fungi should no longer be ignored but instead honored and embraced for the countless gifts they offer. The result is the most comprehensive book on mycology—the science of fungi—ever published.
Interwoven with short essays on the lessons of the fungi, Radial Mycology begins with chapters that explore the uniqueness of fungal biology, the critical ecological roles of micro and macro fungi, how to accurately identify mushrooms and mycorrhizal fungi, the importance of lichens as medicines and indicators of environmental quality, and the profound influences that fungi have held on the evolution of all life and human cultures. With this foundation laid, the reader is then equipped to work with the fungi directly. Techniques for making potent fungal medicines, growing fermenting fungi for food, and cheaply cultivating mushrooms using recycled tools (and yet still achieving lab-quality results) are explored in-depth. Subsequent chapters grow far beyond the limits of other books on mushrooms. Detailed information on the principles and practices of natural mushroom farming—largely influenced by the design system of permaculture—is presented along with extensive information on cultivating mycorrhizal fungi and the science of mycoremediation, the application of fungi to mitigate pollution in the environment and in our homes. The book ends with deeper insights into the social effects that fungi present from the reflection of mycelial networks in the design of whole societies to a rigorous examination of the history of psychoactive fungi.
Written for the beginner as well as the experienced mycologist, Radical Mycology is an invaluable reference book for anyone interested in Do-It-Yourself (or Do-It-Together) homesteading, community organizing, food security, natural medicine, grassroots bioremediation, and the evolution of human-fungal-ecological relations. More than just another book on mushrooms, Radical Mycology is a call to ally with the fungi in all efforts to spawn a healthier world. Heavily referenced and vibrantly illustrated by the author, this unprecedented book will undoubtedly remain a classic for generations to come.