Empowering Fungi with Nat Kelley

Empowering Fungi with Nat Kelley

Get Inspired by Fungi and Nathalie Kelley’s Work with the Fungi Foundation

Actress, Nathalie Kelley, is working to protect the fungi queendom and indigenous fungal knowledge. She believes everyone should get involved and the first step is to get inspired.

Podcast Topics

  • How Nathalie Kelley got involved in the fungal world
  • Kelley’s work with the Fungi Foundation
  • How we can make fungi sexy again
  • Mushrooms in Hollywood
  • The potential mushrooms carry for healing 
  • Kelley’s personal testimony and decision to fight for ancestral fungal knowledge 
  • How Kelley stays positive during climate change
  • About the Netflix Documentary, Kiss the Ground
  • The connection between mushrooms and all life on the planet
  • A call to educate high schoolers on mushrooms
  • Consumerism that is sexy and Zero Waste
  • Kelley’s favorite “Fun Guys” and recommended watching, listening, and reading
  • Why we should listen to our ancestors and mushrooms 


How Nathalie Kelley Got Involved With Fungi

Image from amplifybample


Today, we are joined by actress & activist, Nathalie Kelley. She is a Peruvian-Australian actress, indigenous woman, and aspiring regenerative human. She has most recently starred in ABC’s The Baker and the Beauty. 


Image from FFungi

 In the podcast show, Kelley shares with us why the fungal queendom deserves recognition and employment now more than ever. We look to fungi as an example of regenerative living and discuss the real ways in which humans can readopt that lifestyle. We also talk about the growing awareness around fungi and how to encourage that momentum for a better world. In particular, we discuss the important work of the Fungi Foundation, a Chilean organization that focuses on the conservation and documentation of fungi. 

In this blog post, we will discuss Kelley’s work in the fungal world as well as how we can all help to make fungi sexy again. There is also a list of the actress’ favorite inspirational “fun guy” people to learn from in the blog post. So, read on to get some fun and shroomy inspiration.

Kelley’s Work With the Fungi Foundation


Like many of us, Kelley was inspired by the movie Fantastic Fungi. She felt that mushrooms began to call out to her. There was also the oil spill in Ecuador in the Amazon that began to push her into action. When she decided she wanted to serve mushrooms, Kelley reached out to the amazing Giuliana Furci, foundress & CEO of the Fungi Foundation, on Instagram. Amazingly, Furci later invited her to join the non-profit organization as a board member. Now, she works alongside incredible people like Furci, the renowned mycologist, Paul Stamets, the natural winemaker, Joanna Foster, and many others to advocate for fungi around the world.

Now, Kelley is working with Fungi Foundation to accomplish two global goals: one, protect fungi, and two, document ancestral knowledge of fungi worldwide.

First, the primary goal is simple: protect mushrooms. Rather than the world just recognizing flora & fauna in our environments — the Fungi Foundation is making known the new FFF (Flora, Fauna, and Fungi). This legislation will have a big impact not only on fungi but on other species as well. 



The second Fungi Foundation goal: document the ancestral knowledge of fungi around the world. The information on fungi that indigenous cultures have been stewarding for centuries, we cannot afford to lose. The old traditions and wisdom are likely to have been orally passed, which makes them time-sensitive.

 In more detail, the indigenous cultures that stewarded information about fungi were mostly women foragers. Women were the keepers of fungal knowledge. And since the world only recognizes about 4% of the mushroom species on the planet, their wisdom is highly valuable. That’s why the Fungi Foundation is out to document their essential mycological intelligence. 

The Fungi Foundation recently became a global non-profit. This gives the organization a greater platform to deliver on their mission. They are setting stones for other countries to follow in regards to fungi legislation. And with people like Nathalie Kelley advocating for fungi, the mission to acknowledge fungi as a separate queendom and to regenerate indigenous knowledge is sure to succeed.


Kiss the Ground Film


Available on Netflix, Kiss the Ground, is a movie about “regenerative agriculture, a practice with the extraordinary ability to balance our climate and feed the world” (16). Our guest, Kelley, is a Board Director for the film. 

Kelley shares that the film shows how mycorrhizal fungi “play such an important role in the symbiosis between plants and fungi.” Specifically, mycorrhizal fungi colonize the roots of plants. Together, the fungi and plants trade resources. The trading creates a symbiotic relationship between fungi and other living species like trees. 

In a regenerative context, mycorrhizal fungi in the soil reduce carbon. Thus, fungi help to reverse climate change. This ultimately advances the Mushroom Movement into one that goes far beyond mushrooms. It impacts everyone. It’s biodiverse. From human to tree, from tree to mushroom, from mushroom to the bacteria in the dirt — everyone is reaping the benefits. Sounds sexy, right?


How We Can Make Fungi Sexy Again: Get Inspired

If you’re thinking that you want to get involved in the movement, but you don’t know where to start, don’t worry — Nathalie Kelley shares that she didn’t begin with a lot of knowledge about mushrooms. 

Kelley tells us that the first step is to get inspired. In the podcast show, Kelley shares a personal story about her super intimate connection with the mushrooms in the mountains of Japan and Big Sur, California. After watching Fantastic Fungi, her intentions solidified — she wanted to advocate for the lives of fungi. So, she reached out to someone who got her involved. 

 To get involved, you don’t need to have any prior knowledge about mycology. First, you need to get inspired.


Generate Inspiration for the Mushroom Queendom With Nathalie Kelley’s Top Three “Fun Guys”

Paul Stamets, Mycologist & Scientist

    Image from Paul Stamets 


    Stamets helped to awaken Kelley to the importance of fungi. He is an icon in the mycology world. His works include the companion book he edited, Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet. The book pairs with the inspiring documentary, Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us. The film is a main contributor to Kelley deciding to divert her life to mushrooms. Watch the documentary here.

    To learn even more about Fantastic Fungi, check out the Mushroom Revival Podcast, "Fantastic Fungi: A Film by Louie Schwartzberg."


    Giuliana Furci, Field Mycologist, Author, Speaker, Fungal Activist, and Foundress & CEO of the Fungi Foundation 


      Image from Giuliana Furci's Instagram 

      Furci was a guest on the Mushroom Revival Podcast, “Conservation of Fungi with Giuliana Furci,” which is a recommended listen by Kelley. Furci is the first Chilean female mycologist and foundress & CEO of the global non-profit, Fungi Foundation. She has written Field Guides in Spanish that are available on her website among other incredible works. 

      To support Furci’s and Kelley’s mission to protect mushrooms and indigenous fungal knowledge — donate to the Fungi Foundation here


      Merlin Sheldrake, Biologist & Writer 

        Image from Merlin Sheldrake 

        Sheldrake’s book, Entangled Life, was instrumental for Kelley to learn more about our amazing world. The book brings to light how important fungi are for the planet, our minds, and our futures. Fungi doesn’t include just the mushrooms that we can see with our eyes, but many more, so be prepared for a mind stimulating read. Sheldrake has an extensive background in sciences with a remarkable academic history. He also sits on the board of the Fungi Foundation alongside Kelley and Furci. 

        To read Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake, purchase the book here.

        Yes, these people are amazing and they’re doing wonderful work for fungi and our environment. But you don’t have to be a professional to make a change that you want to see on the planet. 


        Everyone Can Get Involved


        Whatever profession you’re in — fungi can grow there. 

        Your involvement can be as simple as donating to the global non-profit, Fungi Foundation, to support the protection of mushrooms and ancient fungal knowledge.

        What’s more, you can get involved by grabbing a bowl of popcorn and watching the documentary, Fantastic Fungi, available on Netflix; or by making a nice cup of mushroom tincture tea and listening to a new Mushroom Revival podcast; or by purchasing an awesome shroomy book from one of the authors mentioned above.

        For more from Nathalie Kelley, tune in to the podcast to get inspired— or re-inspired— to fuel the fungal queendom's role in the modern world. 

         We encourage you to listen to Kelley’s inspiring talk on how preserving indigenous fungal knowledge and honoring our ancestors is vital for our futures. Plus, the show includes her lovely testimony and beautiful ideas to help our fungi friends! Enjoy!


        Podcast Show Notes & Works Cited

        1. Donate: Fungi Foundation. https://www.every.org/ffungi/
        2. Every Non-Profit: Nathalie Kelley’s Page. https://www.every.org/@natkelley  
        3. Instagram: Nathalie Kelley. https://www.instagram.com/natkelley/ 
        4. Fungi Foundation: https://ffungi.org/ https://www.every.org/ffungi/ 
        5. Paul Stamets: http://paulstamets.com/ 
        6. Watch the Documentary: Fantastic Fungi: The Magic Beneath Us. https://fantasticfungi.com/watch/ 
        7. Book: Fantastic Fungi: How Mushrooms Can Heal, Shift Consciousness, and Save the Planet. https://fantasticfungi.com/buy-the-book/ 
        8. Giuliana Furci: https://giulianafurci.com/ 
        9. Instagram: Giuliana Furci. https://www.instagram.com/giulifungi/ 
        10. BBC Article: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20210811-the-chilean-biologist-celebrating-fungis-hidden-kingdom 
        11. Mushroom Revival Podcast on Spotify: “Conservation of Fungi with Giuliana Furci.” https://open.spotify.com/episode/2yA4FwBr9AEU3SfDv4xZ6O 
        12. Book: Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake: https://www.merlinsheldrake.com/entangled-life 
        13. Julia Watson: https://www.juliawatson.com/
        14. Book: Lo—TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism by Julia Watson. https://bookshop.org/books/julia-watson-lo-tek-design-by-radical-indigenism 
        15. Kiss the Ground: https://kisstheground.com/ 
        16. Watch Kiss the Ground: https://www.netflix.com/title/81321999 



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