Unknown Speaker 0:11
What is going on mushroom people? This is your host Alex door and you are listening to the mushroom revival podcast where we dive deep into the wonderful, strange, mysterious, interesting world of mushrooms and fungi. We bring on guests from all around the world to geek out with us and go down their own niche rabbit hole of why they love and are obsessed with mushrooms and fungi. So, today we have a dear friend, who I'm super excited to bring on the show. John Micheletti, how're you doing, man? I'm doing great, Alex. Thanks for having me on. Yeah, so let's start for people who are living under a rock and don't know you're wonderful being of who are you?
Unknown Speaker 0:59
Well, my name is John McClarty. I'm the founder of Catskill fungi, which empowers people with fungi through outdoor education classes, cultivation courses, mushroom art, and mushroom health extracts that we make on our family farm, the former president of the mid Hudson Psychological Association, up here in the Hudson Valley, which is about an hour and a half north of New York City. I've currently serving
Unknown Speaker 1:26
as chair of the medicinal mushroom committee for the North American Psychological Association, as well as a poison control consultant for New York Psychological Association, and New York City poison control center.
Unknown Speaker 1:42
And, yeah, I was very grateful to be chosen by the Catskill center as one of the stewards of the Catskills for my contributions to the environment,
Unknown Speaker 1:52
I've had the pleasure of kind of presenting all over the country, including the Telluride mushroom Festival, which is pretty much where I see you every year, which is awesome and amazing. But also at the New York Botanical Gardens, and
Unknown Speaker 2:06
really a variety of colleges, universities and things like that.
Unknown Speaker 2:11
And yeah, just been a big myco file for about a dozen years and kind of saw the start of the whole Rise of the mushroom craze. And it's been really interesting to have a company involved in fungi throughout the few years, because before they were very strange, nobody knew what I was doing or what I what,
Unknown Speaker 2:33
why I was doing it. But now it's seemed that people are really turned on to it. So it's great to great to see how things are moving forward.
Unknown Speaker 2:43
And was what has it been 10 years or something since we first met loading mushroom blocks in in our mutual friend's backyard talking about
Unknown Speaker 2:54
Ecuador and micro remediation. And you're telling me a story about how you were a former boat captain on the docks reading mushroom books. And eventually, you went tell a story of how you eventually got to Ecuador doing micro remediation stuff and, and why you're a boat captain, you have a lot of interesting stories of traveling around the globe doing interesting thing. So yeah, that was the first story that I heard about you. And we bonded about how we both went to Ecuador. And that we're both into micro remediation. And from that day forward, we're like, Yep, yeah, this is gonna be a lifelong friendship. So
Unknown Speaker 3:35
yeah. Yeah, it was great. Yeah, it's really wild. There's not every day you meet somebody that has also gone to Ecuador and is interested in mushrooms and learn about micro remediation. But yeah, I mean, I wasn't I didn't grow up with mushrooms. I was told that they're poisonous don't touch them, they're gonna kill you, which is actually not true. There's no transdermal toxins with fungi but
Unknown Speaker 3:59
but when I came across them, I was I was a boat captain at the time, and I was volunteering at nearby nature center. And it was through that that I really found fungi for the first time. And then my friends tipped me off that there's little mushroom clubs, excuse me mushroom clubs around. And at these mushroom clubs, I got to go outside and start exploring fungi. And then of course, you know, as working as a boat captain, I actually had a lot of time to sit and read. And so I was appealing through mushroom books, any mushroom books I can get my hands on, and really wanted to study more into applied mycology and cultivation and myco remediation or how fungi can help to clean up toxins in oil spills, water and in soil. And
Unknown Speaker 4:51
I was really trying to get to the west coast because there's a famous mycologist out there that was teaching so amazing courses but
Unknown Speaker 5:00
Unfortunately, they were very cost prohibitive. I mean, it was like $3,000 for one weekend. And I just couldn't do that. I mean, as somebody in my, you know, early 20s, there was just no way that that was possible. And so I did find a course in Ecuador. And it was through Amazon myco renewal project, now renamed COVID. Renewal. And it was because I was able to swing that because I had done America, and America is really excellent. Like if you're in your 20s, and you're wondering kind of what to do, and you know, anywhere between high school and college age, like it's a great program where you can spend 10 months doing service work, working for different nonprofits, and they give you money for higher education. And so I was able to link up with Sonoma State University, me and malt who helped me get that as a certified course. And then I was able to use my americorps stipend to go to Ecuador. And it was a whole month of learning about cultivation, medicinal mushrooms, micro remediation, setting up experiments and things like that. So it was pretty amazing. Like, I don't know about what your experience was down there. But we were down there with a team of,
Unknown Speaker 6:21
you know, international bio remediators chemists, microbiologists, people that have started their own mushroom companies, I mean, people all, like really high accolades and like walks of life, highly accomplished people. So it was extremely inspiring to be around these people to learn from them. And really found my niche as somebody that can really help to bring the community together and make, you know, take these big ideas and make them more applied and functional. Like, okay, we've been talking about this for a while, but like, can we all get behind doing this small, you know, this, this test this experiment, this project? And
Unknown Speaker 7:04
yeah, it was, it's fun, because I mean, I have a background in outdoor education, I spent a lot of time doing outdoor walks from kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, scuba diving, like led a lot of outdoor trips, and,
Unknown Speaker 7:19
you know, love teaching the outdoors and kind of motivating crews of people. So that was really fun. And you know, I spent a lot of time doing a lot of nonprofit work with the Student Conservation Association and helping to clean up trails across the United States and do trail work there and inspire crews to do that. So it's really been a lot of fun to kind of take these skills that I've learned from these things, and then apply it to mushrooms and get people in the woods and get them excited about things. So that was really my springboard. Ecuador was a major Springboard like everything I learned there. I was so excited when I got back. I just started talking about mushrooms everywhere. And, you know, next thing I knew actually got a call from somebody in Austin was like, I heard you talking about mushrooms who are come down here and we to work so yeah. So So you know, there's things. There's things like that, that that happen. I mean, did you have a similar experience in Ecuador? You know, I didn't go with ko renewal or Amazon myco renewal project at that time.
Unknown Speaker 8:25
But it definitely was such a formative time. In my life. I was just it was a
Unknown Speaker 8:33
field study for me. So I got class credit for in my school. And it was it was during a time where I was.
Unknown Speaker 8:40
I didn't know if I wanted to change schools or what I was kind of wanting to study and things like that. But I knew I was interested in, in mushroom. So I went down there. And we were studying biodiversity and different ecosystems. And
Unknown Speaker 8:56
I think I came I got interested in coal renewal and Amazon, my renewal project like way after you, and so they didn't think they had any sites currently set up in Ecuador. At that time. I think they're transitioning, kind of, I think they are realizing that grassroots micro remediation was a lot harder than then, Paul Sam has made it out to be So especially, you know, in Ecuador, and
Unknown Speaker 9:25
when everyone's bribed by these oil companies to fight against you.
Unknown Speaker 9:30
From the testing companies, the landowners, like pretty much everyone is being paid to look the other way.
Unknown Speaker 9:39
And now Now, it's it's really interesting. I think, like a week ago, or two weeks ago, I was in Hawaii, and there was someone from CO renewal. They're talking about their project now on fire restoration in California. So they really pivoted their mission from doing oil cleanup in Ecuador.
Unknown Speaker 10:00
And now during fire cleanup, and
Unknown Speaker 10:04
but yeah, I'm dying to go back men, I found a bunch of cordyceps there and I lost all my specimens, I had like a box of 30 of them. And literally like an hour before I was going on a flight, I handed it to someone to look at and I like left the room to go do something and they're like, Oh, I handed it to that person. And then it went to that person. They're like, Oh, no, I handed it to this person. And then the that person is like, Oh no, I left it on the corner of this table and I went to the table, it's gone. I asked literally everyone in the house. I was in like a like this community, eco village place and like no one knew where the box went. And I like looked in the trash and looked everywhere. And I was like what and then I really had to go I had to like grab a taxi and go and I was like ah you know so so next time right well we'll plan a trip we'll go down and look for look for mushrooms together and yeah, I'm I'm dying to go back there's like a couple of research stations that we stayed at that I'm sure that we can go back to and set up a little little research study find some new species.
Unknown Speaker 11:14
Yeah, V be a lot of fun. There's so much unexplored.
Unknown Speaker 11:19
Yeah, so a lot of fun. You're you're an explorer down there. Your baby, that you spend an insane amount of hours on his cat scale fungi. When did when did cat scale fungi?
Unknown Speaker 11:33
When was the birth of cat's tail fungi and what has been kind of the main evolutionary stages throughout time?
Unknown Speaker 11:43
Yeah, so I started Casco fungi in 2014. I moved to the Catskills then, and I was staying at a my great, great grandfather's farm. It was staying in a little cabin that I had restored. And it it's been in the family for many generations. And I was working kind of up the road from there. And really super involved in mushrooms at this point and knew I wanted to go into mushrooms knew I wanted to spend my life doing this and wasn't sure exactly how that was going to work. But, you know, trusting, trusting that it would work out and so I remember waiting for a friend while to go on a hike and we're waiting in like the High Falls Food Coop just near down the road. And I noticed all these local plant tinctures and then mushroom tinctures coming from the other side of the country. And I asked the person there if they'd be interested in a local source of mushroom tinctures. And they aren't really excited. And then that's the same time around then I was I was walking out doing herbal walks with the Catskill forest Association and identifying mushrooms and the herbalist was like Well, that's a mushroom, I don't know go ask him he seems to know the mushrooms and and they asked me if I wanted to lead a mushroom walk. And so it was really out of the need from the community that I found a niche that would not only fulfill my need, I moved around a lot of jobs because I always wanted, I had the need to fall I was going to work on something.
Unknown Speaker 13:23
I wanted to improve my community and I wanted to improve the environment. And I really wasn't budging on that. And I also wanted to afford the lifestyle I wanted to live. So I crunched the numbers on these things. And I realized that this would be it. So that was about 2014 and I made the leap to start doing this full time and it took a long time to set up everything from scratch. I didn't borrow any my I just basically had a few $1,000 in the bank and created my own labels and logos and everything it starred and website I'd never built a website before. And it took a few months getting this thing off the ground. And in 2015 I started doing farmers markets and
Unknown Speaker 14:10
started leading mushroom walks put together walk list and sort of putting myself out there and it's really been great like it was at first it was kind of interesting, people would walk up like I said it was mushrooms were not popular. People would walk up and be like weird mushrooms why and walk away and like then you know, but they would take a flyer maybe and then come back and it was a lot of educating because people just didn't have any clue with mushrooms just like I did when I grew up. And so it was about 2015 And that really got kicked off. And it what the community found and through doing a lot of farmers markets as people kept coming back they were like, wow, you know, I'm feeling different with these and you know better and so
Unknown Speaker 14:57
people were really liking the mushroom walks and they kept
Unknown Speaker 15:00
coming back. And then soon I got energy from the community and I had somebody step up, my dear dear friend will ven Rodin, who I was just emailing with this morning. And he offered to do over my branding. And, you know, he's an incredibly talented brand designer, that does work for the New York Times and different organizations. So it was really incredible to have him kind of make over the branding, and I had other people step up and just wanting to offer the felt good with by taking the tinctures and had less pain. And so they wanted to volunteer and, and it was from that, that really the energy of the community and the support of the community kind of kept me going through how many, many late nights and like seven days a week for the first few years. So it was really inspiring, you know, to have that community support. So that was kind of the beginning of it. We've since now branched off, and we've we're doing a lot more private mushroom walks where we have,
Unknown Speaker 16:04
you know, we'll go to people's land and help them identify what mushrooms are growing there, if they want to cultivate mushrooms, you know, we can help them cultivate them. But honestly, that became the popularity since what we call as the fantastic fungi effect, meaning like so many mushrooms got really popular over the last few years. And now I've got too many walk, I've got too many people wanting walks and private walks. So I started a private mushroom walk map and helping other people that want to lead mushroom walks, be have access to that so and have access to people that want them to come lead mushroom walk. So I'm now helping people NOT have to spend all the late nights creating a label on a logo and everything else. But if you want to lead mushroom walks, you can kind of sign up and drop yourself on the map, make your own hours, make you know, pick whatever days you want to lead walks and what you want to do. And
Unknown Speaker 17:05
you know, and getting the word out there. And really, a lot of that is, you know, coming back to the mission of improving the environment, one of the things we really want to do is focus on
Unknown Speaker 17:18
the biodiversity of fungi, and the conservation of fungi. So one of the ways in which we're doing that is through these private mushroom walk leaders, because they can they have access, like if people want us to come to their land we have access is very special that we have access, and we could actually identify certain things on that land, and otherwise people wouldn't have access to so we can upload these things and have them be part of a
Unknown Speaker 17:43
myco logical biodiversity database. And that can help further the science of mycology. So that's kind of another thing that we work on. So yeah, so it's continuously growing continuously blooming, as you can imagine, but there are certain sides of the company that I like to keep small and local. Like, I don't think I'm going to grow much larger with the extra x, it's not really the goal, I just want to stay with farmers markets and things like that, but
Unknown Speaker 18:14
but I do want to help people, you know, the mission of the company is to connect and inspire with fungi. And so I want to be able to continue doing that. Beyond myself. So and what a cool age that we're a part of, it almost seems like a transition from
Unknown Speaker 18:36
you know, with the use of technology, because,
Unknown Speaker 18:40
you know, it's really funny seeing like old mushroom IDs with like, you know, you had to you had to paint or draw the mushroom, you know, you can take a picture of it. And, you know, and a lot of times you just had to write the description, and would you still do it in a certain sense, but, but now we're kind of at the age where we have aI naturalist we have, you know, pretty
Unknown Speaker 19:07
relatively inexpensive DNA sequencing technology that we could carry with us and do pretty
Unknown Speaker 19:14
efficiently. And, you know, we have this, like this app that you're creating, which can connect you with a mushroom walk leader in your area, you know, and we have the technology like social media, and we have these new documentaries coming out and it seems like
Unknown Speaker 19:33
I mean, part of the goal with mushroom hunting, at least for me is to like get away from technology and like have a break and do the woods wash you know and like not look at my phone, be with nature, kind of. Yeah, get away from all the noise and the buzzing and the chaos and just kind of remember my true self, which is just another species in the
Unknown Speaker 20:00
In the in the web of life, and, but it's cool that we can still partner with technology to kind of boost that connection.
Unknown Speaker 20:10
And, and really, you know,
Unknown Speaker 20:14
be able to give that connection to more and more people. So it's awesome that you're like making this app and connecting people more to mushrooms and to be able to quit their job and dedicate their life to mushrooms if like, you want to become a walk leader, like, Here, here's all the connections I got you, you know, and that's really cool. So
Unknown Speaker 20:38
kind of a big question. But
Unknown Speaker 20:42
over the last nine years, of Catskill fungi, if you could do anything different, if you could restart, going back to 2014, with all the knowledge that you have today,
Unknown Speaker 20:57
would you do anything different?
Unknown Speaker 21:02
Yeah, that's a really good question. And what would I do different?
Unknown Speaker 21:09
Honestly, I really appreciate the kind of organic pneus of how it grew, I knew I always had in the mindset that I didn't want to go really big all at once or anything I wanted to to grow, like mycelium bat, just naturally, and,
Unknown Speaker 21:26
and in all directions, and I think that might have been a little bit difficult is growing in all directions. And that might be something that I would change a little bit, because when you do grow in all directions, it's great. You you cover a lot of space, but it's hard to focus on any one thing. So yeah, I feel like it took me a long time, you know, doing grow kits for a while doing indoor grows for a while, and then kind of saying, You know what, that's not for me, I'm gonna let somebody else do that. I'm gonna focus on outdoor log inoculation. And I'm going to focus on my extracts and education and, you know, finding that niche, you know, that if I would have found that earlier and known that, then that would have been fine. But you know, I'm still in my exploration phases of it. So it's fun to explore. It's fun to find that, but
Unknown Speaker 22:25
yeah, honestly, it's been, every person I met has really helped me along in that journey. And I think,
Unknown Speaker 22:35
you know, there was no,
Unknown Speaker 22:38
there was no rushing that there's no rush in those relationships. And so this is where, you know, I would do things differently. Now, I feel like, of course, I'd be able to do things probably a lot faster. Because now, I mean, you know, that like, once you establish a business once, you don't have to relearn it when you do it again. And so I probably be able to do it quicker, you know, maybe even a quarter or half the time, maybe two thirds of the time that it took me. But yeah, it's no real rush in those relationships. And so, and that's where, you know, grateful for the journey. But, yeah.
Unknown Speaker 23:17
Yeah, it's good. It's a good question. I mean, there's really so many things, and you know, ask me another 10 years, they'll probably have
Unknown Speaker 23:24
different answers. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 23:27
Yeah, I, I get that question a lot. And I think I have the same answer as you, I mean, part of the journey is really juicy, of like, messing up, you know, it's like that to mess up, and then realize a better way to do things like that, honestly, is super juicy. You know, it's like, I don't know if I would trade that. Like, I'm grateful for the times in which I did something really inefficiently, and then got to my breaking point, and then realize, like, Oh, my God, like, a way better thing to do, you know.
Unknown Speaker 24:04
And I think that's a curse of most mycologist. Because, you know, there's like 99% of fungi still left undiscovered, and so many things that we're realizing that we can partner with them to do to solve some of our biggest world problems. It's like, I feel most mycologist I feel like it overzealous of like, all the things that we could do, or all the things that we could study because it's just a wide open field that no one's doing. So you'll be like, Oh my god, like I could go down this path and this path and this path. Let's do all of them all at once. You know, and i i that's been like my biggest thing of, you know, simplifying my life and I think this podcast really helps me with that is like I can geek out for a couple hours a week on specific niches that I would love to go further into and then I cut myself off. I'm like, alright, that's the episode. That's a wrap. That's that top
Unknown Speaker 25:00
Pick, you know, and then I can focus on one. One thing, but it's hard, you know, it's hard to get, it's hard not to get so excited about all the things going on in mushrooms. It's true. And you and I and like, honestly, I have the same thing from listening to your podcast where I get to learn about a new thing that I otherwise wouldn't have explored. And I do that, like when I'm making extracts in the commercial kitchen, I'm listening your podcast and, you know, hearing about the different different things that have really, really opened my eyes and a lot of ways. And you and I have talked about this over the years about how, yeah, there's been some juicy mistakes along the way. But you know, it's not to say that you should just walk in blindly like you and I help each other out while we talk about the different ways in which we help each other like not make pitfalls. And we've always been people that reach out to others that have done it or have experience with it. So that, you know, you're not trying to make mistakes, but we can help each other, not make those same pitfalls. And I do the same thing. I was just talking to somebody yesterday about, hey, you know, he's getting started with his company, and he's making his extracts and he's getting ready to start leading walks and stuff. And I said, Look, if you ever want to talk about this, I can help you by not making the same mistakes I did. And that's kind of what we're here for. Right? That's what is the law rising? A rising tide makes all boats float or something like that.
Unknown Speaker 26:29
But you can't say that, you know, we're all in this together. And I think there's there's plenty of room
Unknown Speaker 26:36
for everyone to, to get into mycology, make a business make a life for themselves, support their, you know, pay all their bills, while also having a ton of fun, you know, and doing new things and, and forming just a really good partnership with mushrooms. There's plenty of room for everybody. Which is is really cool. You know, it's it's a wide open field. And I tell people this all the time is like, if you want to be the first to discover something, or do be the first in the world to do something with fungi. mycology is
Unknown Speaker 27:13
the great field for you, because like literally pick any path and go down it. And you will be the first to do whatever, you know, it's a wide open field, and there's not enough people doing it. So yeah, you can be the pioneer in
Unknown Speaker 27:31
whatever niche that you choose. And also with new people.
Unknown Speaker 27:36
You know, I tell them to join a mushroom Club, which you were the past president of one, the mid Hudson Psychological Association. So for people who don't know what a mushroom club is, as a past president of one what, what is a mushroom club? And how do they help new people get into mushrooms?
Unknown Speaker 27:56
Yeah, that's a great question. And, and before I get into that, yeah, just echoing what you just said, I also believe that there are so many niches in in mycology and fungi. And like, you don't have to be a scientist, you know, there's plenty of room for artists, there's so many different industries, you know, you don't have to have your own company. There's so many mushroom myco companies that are hiring different types of people. So it's really pretty exciting to see how that's growing within business. And that's, that's one of the things I'm going to be talking about Telluride mushroom festival, this coming year, is mushrooms in business. There's going to be more talks on that. And so it'll be interesting to flush that out. But there's really love helping people kind of get established in that way.
Unknown Speaker 28:44
But yeah, muster and my start was mushroom clubs. Like I said, I, I didn't know anything about mushrooms. And I joined the Connecticut Westchester Psychological Association I was living in right at the time Rye, New York. And
Unknown Speaker 28:57
it was pretty, pretty wild. I mean, back then, I was it was me and Zach Chavez, were the only two people without silver hair. And it was amazing. Like in everybody, you know, all ages side and everything. Everybody was so welcome. So welcoming, happy to, you know, happy you were there happy everybody else was there happy to show you kind of what they knew. It wasn't secretive. It wasn't, you know, it was very open. And there was a lot of sharing information. And it was clear to me that I found my tribe right away. And some of these people are still been my main mentors throughout the years, which I'm very grateful for. But yeah, it was through this mushroom club that I really got sorry. And then I realized that there's mushroom clubs, kind of all over the country. And then you know, with all these different mushroom clubs all over the country, there's kind of one bigger organization that you
Unknown Speaker 30:00
is the North American Psychological Association and it's kind of
Unknown Speaker 30:06
doesn't like oversee all the clubs but it unites all the clubs. It's it's something, it's a place that all the clubs can come together and they send out big newsletters. There's 90 clubs associated with the North America Psychological Association. And if you go to namyco.org, that's their website, and you just click on clubs, and it brings you up by state, all the different mushroom clubs in your area. So if anybody's listening from Vermont, by the way, we need some mushroom club in Vermont to join namah. So there are none in Vermont right now.
Unknown Speaker 30:45
Not that I know of no, there's Yeah, come on Vermont, I think let's go.
Unknown Speaker 30:50
Well, I'm sure there's mushroom things happening. I'm sure there's great people out there doing great stuff. And we just love to connect more.
Unknown Speaker 30:56
Because one of the other things that I'm working on is part of the North Eastern psychological Federation, which is, you know, once again, its own, it's not like a club, there's no membership, but we unite a lot of the northeastern my mushroom clubs, and we throw an annual for a, that's going to be happening Croxon this year, September 14 through 17th. And
Unknown Speaker 31:19
it's, it's really great way to get together with a bunch of mushroom people. And so when I first found that mushroom club, you know, they were nice enough to invite me to this foray, you know, that that was happening was actually happening at the same place. And it was my first mushroom foray in 2010. And I was so enamored by what I found, I mean, you're talking like 300, people, all geeking out on mushrooms, going out in the woods, to multiple different spots every day, finding tons of mushrooms, bring them back, laying them out on tables, identifying them. So like, heavy on taxonomy, heavy on identification, everybody is basically just putting them in these little boats and putting them on tables, all your poly pores are together, your cordoned areas here, you know, he belongs, everything's all grouped together. And it's so easy to walk around and see, you know, in back then it was just like the edible ones and the poisonous one next to each other, when you see both of them next to each other really helps you identify it. But that goes for really any two species that you're having trouble identifying. And so once again, you have now 300 People that are incredibly welcoming in helping you learn things. And it was just incredibly inspiring to be at that event. And,
Unknown Speaker 32:42
and it kind of really got me involved and got me started into learning more about these mushroom clubs and volunteering with them to lead walks. And then from there, when I moved to the Hudson Valley, I gave a presentation to the mid Hudson Psychological Association. And that night, the President walked up to me.
Unknown Speaker 33:02
And, yeah, she asked me, you know, we think you'd make a great president. That's what she said to me. And I was like,
Unknown Speaker 33:11
you know, I was just starting my business. There's no way I had the time commitment for this and everything else. And she was like, I said, um, what does that entail? And she said, you'll be fine.
Unknown Speaker 33:22
I was like, Ah, what's the time? She goes, you'll be fine.
Unknown Speaker 33:29
Well, she was right. She was right.
Unknown Speaker 33:33
And yeah, I'm really grateful.
Unknown Speaker 33:36
To Lisa Resnick, the late Reese, Lisa Resnick, that kind of got me inspired to take the reins on the mid Hudson mycological Association. And kind of the main thing I did first with them was to create a monthly meeting that was at the same time, same place every month. It was the first Tuesday of the month, a monthly mushroom speaker series. We invited everybody to come to this community center that was free to use. And we met every month and we saw different speakers, it was a great opportunity for me to, you know, hire my friends to come in and give presentations, and I got to learn from it. So it was really fascinating in that way. And I really did my best to broaden the types of speakers that came so I had to attract a broad audience. And with that, we started getting a core group of people coming in, and we were able to turn over the board positions. Some of the people there had been well extended their stays, but there were no volunteers to take the reins. And yeah, from there, I got to start a variety of other different things with the mid Hudson mycological Association and you're still involved with them. And you helped create or you currently run a mushroom book club
Unknown Speaker 35:00
For Nima Zarate
Unknown Speaker 35:03
Yeah, yeah, I like I kind of I made a transition I did some I did a lot of work with mid Hudson. And by the way, if you're interested in getting involved in your local mushroom club, do it if you're even considering volunteer doing if you're not considered volunteer, do it. It's it's really one of these things that I didn't think I had the capacity for it either. So once I did, the more you put in, the more you get out, it was really kind of amazing. The like, what, what comes, what comes when you put it in. And that's like, like anything else. It's like any other relationship, the more you put in, the more you get out. And this is where Yeah, I highly recommend people get involved with your local mushroom club. And then that led me to the North American Psychological Association. And somebody, I think it was Trad Trac Cotter when I took the wild mushroom food safety certification course, I was a teacher for that in New York State. It's a course that certifies people to sell wild harvested mushrooms to supermarkets and restaurants and things like that. And so I was teaching that course. And he recommended that I become a consultant for poison control for the North American Psychological Association. So every once in a while I get texts from usually dogs that have eaten much well, it's not the dogs that are sending me the text, but the owners of the dogs and me to take the picture of the mug, I feel so bad.
Unknown Speaker 36:33
I'm not sure. But yeah, it's just helped to identify things and
Unknown Speaker 36:39
but yeah, through that they invited me to be part of the medicinal mushroom committee. And
Unknown Speaker 36:47
with the medicinal mushroom committee, you know, one one really cool thing that I do want to talk about with a lot of these mushroom clubs. And what the North American Psychological Association like what they do is like they host conferences, where people get together like the one I described, they host like regional forays and happen in different places. One coming up in Mexico, by the way, if anybody wants to go to the Mexico with the North American Psychological Association,
Unknown Speaker 37:15
but they also have newsletter which is in Mexico City, which is pretty easy to get to for people.
Unknown Speaker 37:22
Yeah, I think they might they might be going right outside of Mexico City. But I think the they meet at first in Mexico City. So easy, easy plane ride. For most people. It's a it's a, it's a pretty easy airport to get to. So.
Unknown Speaker 37:39
Yeah, yeah. Think about it, go for it. Don't even think just go for it.
Unknown Speaker 37:44
But yeah, you won't regret it. I mean, it's it's a vacation in Mexico with mushroom people. How are you going to if you're listening to this podcast, you're already infected? You might as well just go down there and do it. I mean, it's like, Get get further involved. It's great. And yeah, once again, this is something that these organizations can offer. They offer like photo contests, they've education programs, they do scholarships, a lot of mushroom clubs have scholarships. So like I said, I couldn't afford kind of some of this mushroom education that I want to embark upon. But there's all sorts of scholarships with the North American Psychological Association, but also with local mushroom clubs. I started a local scholarship that Gary Lin cough Memorial Scholarship for the mid Hudson Psychological Association for pretty much anybody that wants to pursue any higher education in fungi. So once again, there's a lot of different opportunities out there, but there's a speaker's bureau, there's toxicology, there's all sorts of things going on with these clubs. So highly recommend kind of getting on that for sure.
Unknown Speaker 38:47
But yeah, so one of the things I had to do, just getting back to your question, it's like, I yeah, there's a mushroom book club. So it was because when I became chair, they said, Well, here's like, the list of duties that you have. And one of them is to write
Unknown Speaker 39:02
book reviews for the newsletter. And, you know, I have a committee of people, and everybody was getting lazy and reading books. So I said, Look, forget it, you know, I I wanted to read more of your books. That was really what it came down to. And you had just plenty of time on your hands. You were like, kick it back.
Unknown Speaker 39:20
Oh, well, here's the thing, though. But unless like, this is where I need accountability buddies. You know, I need people that like, are there. And so this is where, yeah, I kind of have to like force the time. And so we're not like forced the time. But like, I have to take the time. I've just scheduled a time. And so if there's a book club that I get to show up to an emcee, like and talk about a book, I'm gonna read the book. So and I had to write these newsletters for the North American Psychological Association. So starting the book club was a really great way to not only cover the more recent books that were coming out in mycology, but get a
Unknown Speaker 40:00
A lot of people together and it's virtual. So people get together online, which, you know, once again, like you said, like, we kind of get into mushrooms to get outside a lot. But, you know, this is another way of of growing and staying connected. So we come together, this is the third Thursday of every month at 8pm. Eastern. I think that's 5pm Pacific. And we talk about different books and the next book coming up. We just talked about the lives of fungi by grip on Europe, which is fantastic.
Unknown Speaker 40:33
Yeah, Princeton University Press. And it was, it's really fantastic. Like, if you haven't read it, it's, even if you're a novice or expert, it doesn't matter. There's so much to learn in that book, I mean, and it's beautiful. The pictures of it are gorgeous. And I mean pictures of mushrooms that I've seen yet for years in many books, and it's the most beautiful picture of that mushroom I've seen, and it teaches me something about that mushroom. And he also goes into all different types of fungi out there. And he paints like a really great overview of what's going on with the kingdom in the ever changing climate that we're living in, and how they affect people and things like this. So.
Unknown Speaker 41:22
So anyway, so that's that was kind of this last month's book, this coming up. We're reading Merlin Sheldrake entangled life, which a while yeah, people have probably read. And if you haven't, it's fantastic. I'm rereading it. It's incredible, again, and we're going to be covering that once. I said that third Thursday, if you go to Nam myco.org, the book clubs under the Events page, and you can see kind of our next list of speakers coming up. But yeah, it should be a lot of fun. We've got Daniel Winkler's fruits of the forest in June, and myco, philia by Eugenia bone in July. So, superstars Yeah, yeah. And speaking of another superstar.
Unknown Speaker 42:08
Have you heard of someone by the name of Gary link off by any chance?
Unknown Speaker 42:16
Do you know? Yeah, name rings.
Unknown Speaker 42:20
You know, a little formative in your life?
Unknown Speaker 42:24
I'd say yeah, no, I'm definitely here because of Gary. Yeah, as you well know. But yeah, he was on the first mushroom walk that I led. He was on the first mushroom presentation I went to, which was for coma, and it was on psilocybin, and how he found psilocybin all over the world. And he was just telling stories. I mean, he led, I think, something like 40 trips to different countries within like 30 years, I think, wow, he was just running so many different trips all over the world. And he's, I was just over and I read his, his, his wife's house, in the city, looking at all the slides. And the slides are just like taking up a whole closet of what he has, because you know that you're there, the original league square slides that he had made, but really incredible. He taught at the New York Botanical Gardens for 42 years. I think he's probably why I'm teaching there now him and I think Paul Sadowski had something to do with it. But
Unknown Speaker 43:30
it was, it was really formative to be around him because even though he's an internationally world renowned mycologist, who wrote the Audubon's guide to North American mushrooms, he was one of the most humble people you'll ever meet. And no matter what you came up to him with, he would make you feel like you found something special. And he was he was like that with everybody. But he and I really connected a lot. I just love taking classes with him. He would pull me up on stage and be like, tell him about Ecuador. Just like impromptu like five minutes about like, you know, whatever I was doing and
Unknown Speaker 44:12
yeah, I ended up kind of contributing to appendix two and his last book,
Unknown Speaker 44:19
complete mushroom Hunter revised. And we did duets on stage for songs that he wrote at the Telluride mushroom festival and for Nam for Nam. Ah, so yeah, really dear, dear friend. And we were planning a trip to Chile, right before he passed away, and that that trip still went like there was still a couple dozen of us my colleges went to Chile. And it was kind of a Gary link off Memorial trip that introduced me to a whole nother world of new mentors. So yeah, really grateful for Gary. And I always cheers them all the time like to Gary
Unknown Speaker 45:00
He Yeah, he now has a street named after him in New York City, which is amazing. And I was blessed to go on one foray with him at Telluride. And it was such a funny and humbling experience because I think we got all of five feet
Unknown Speaker 45:19
if we didn't go beyond that, and you know, I was like starry eyed just getting into mushrooms. And I was like, Yeah, let's go deep in the woods, and let's find some, you know, like, crazy mushrooms in there. And like, he didn't even get into the woods. I mean, it was like, this fall in log, like five feet in the path didn't even start yet. And he was just like, Alright, stop, we got some, like a really awesome specimen. I'm like, looking at the log. I'm like, I don't see anything, you know. And he's like, if you, if you get on your hands and knees, you look really close. There's just like, rust fungus, you know, that you could barely see. And I was like, Alright, cool. You know, I turned around, I'm like, let's go. And he's like, and then if you look, you know, an inch to the right, there's this other rust fungus. And I was like, oh, okay, I don't like Let's go, you know, and like, I just didn't get it at the time. And he stayed at that log for, like, 20 minutes. And he found like, 30 different species, or fungi or whatever. And he was like, you don't have to go far to find and he's like, you know, some of these could be new. And, you know, it's all right beneath your feet. And you just got to pause and look, and it was like, this really humbling moment where
Unknown Speaker 46:34
in my excitement and starry eyed Ness, I was missing all the, the beauty beneath my feet. And you know, he was really, yeah, the littlest things he could get so excited for and you know, yeah, he's a he's a great mentor. And you actually started a the Gary link off Memorial Scholarship. Is that right?
Unknown Speaker 46:57
Yeah, that was through the mid Hudson Psychological Association. Yeah, in his honor.
Unknown Speaker 47:03
And yeah, that's it EDUCATION, fun if you're a member of the mid Hudson Psychological Association, which really like these clubs, these mushroom clubs. I mean, it's, it's like 15 to 25 bucks to join for the year. And
Unknown Speaker 47:16
it's really great way to connect with other people in your community that are like minded.
Unknown Speaker 47:22
And Gary Lin cough, he founded the Connecticut Westchester Psychological Association, he co founded that one, and was a huge part of the New York Psychological Society, because, you know, he's a Manhattan native, so talk about not having to go far. I mean, he walked in central park every year, every day and was always finding new things. But, yeah, he also was president of the North America Psychological Association for many years, too. So really, his contributions to mycology were were amazing. And once again, didn't come from a background of, you know, science, even science. I mean, he studied English and theatre and was an incredible actor and speaker, but ended up writing kind of one of the most groundbreaking and
Unknown Speaker 48:15
kind of changing books within mycology with an was pretty much one of the most well renowned mycologists coming and that just echoes for a lot of people that are getting interested in mushrooms. Like I didn't study mycology in school, I was studying psychology communications, I was interested in outdoor guiding, but, you know, found my way to mushrooms. And there's so many people out there that aren't. This is one of these fields, there's not a lot of fields out there that you you know, certain certain things you have to take a traditional path to, but mycology is one of these things currently that you don't like you could just be interested and take an interest and a love for them. And like you said, just hone in on a niche and you could be the expert of that niche before you know it because there's nobody else looking at it. And same thing with with growing and getting involved. It's there's really just it's endless right now it's ever expanding.
Unknown Speaker 49:16
So, so yeah, his Audubon room scholarship and help people get there.
Unknown Speaker 49:23
His Audubon guide is still to this day, a Bible for me. I mean, it. It's also the perfect size is such as it's like a dimensionally. It's such a small book, but it's really thick. So it's, you know, it's just like the perfect size to bring around on forays. And, you know, if you got pockets big enough, you can slide it right in your pocket or put it in your mushroom basket or whatever. And, you know, it works for a big part of the US and North America. I mean, it's it's, it works really well there's some regions where it's, it's still, you know, could use a little bit more information.
Unknown Speaker 50:00
We might need kind of a, like a local guide to beef it up a little bit. But it works surprisingly well throughout pretty much all North America. And you can. I mean, it's great. I mean, it is like the go to guide for mushroom ID if you live in North America, or specifically the US. So if you haven't gotten the Autobahn guide yet, definitely get it. And that was in 1981.
Unknown Speaker 50:29
So to vote today for it to still be a Bible, it's it's means it's pretty, pretty damn good. And Gary was pretty, pretty famous, one of his most famous quotes was quit your job and devote your life to mushrooms. And it's been a pretty significant quote for you as well. And you've given talks at Telluride with pretty much that same title.
Unknown Speaker 50:56
And for people listening to this podcast, maybe you're a longtime listener, and you've heard tons of these different speakers talk about their different niche and how they, you know, their own specific path and how they went through to mushrooms.
Unknown Speaker 51:13
You know, there's like a million ways in which you can support yourself and pay your bills with with mushrooms, but in your, in your, you know, position. How can people do that?
Unknown Speaker 51:27
Yeah. And there's, there's really a lot of different ways. And
Unknown Speaker 51:35
yeah, I really appreciated Gary's quote, and I took it to heart. I mean, I kind of had to, because when he gave that presentation,
Unknown Speaker 51:44
to quit your job and devote your life to mushrooms, he was kind of traveling around doing that, he included my picture in it. And it was kind of like, okay, you know, I got the hint. So,
Unknown Speaker 51:56
but, you know, I always wanted to anyway, so it was really pretty amazing to have his to have him up, you know, on my back. And, you know, he's, with a lot of people, you know, he was just inspiring people to do it.
Unknown Speaker 52:10
And, you know, hope to carry on that legacy. And so during the presentation that I gave, of how to quit your job and devote your life to mushrooms I talked about, the different people have done it. I remember interviewing you for that, and kind of some of the things that you said, were, you know, drink from the fire hose, read every book twice.
Unknown Speaker 52:32
I think you were saying advocate for people smarter than you and things like that you had some really great advice. I talked to a lot of different people. I remember Olga Cotter, from mushroom mountain, she, she had great advice. She said,
Unknown Speaker 52:47
it was very pragmatic, it was strict, you know, skate on to skates first, you know, make sure you know you have your current job, and you have your mushroom passion that you're working on, make sure that mushroom passion can support you, and then make your transition, I thought that was a very important thing for people to know.
Unknown Speaker 53:09
And, you know, I had a lot of different people kind of pipe up about, about what what they would do and in that situation, how to how they did it.
Unknown Speaker 53:21
Unknown Speaker 53:23
it's really, it's really pretty amazing, because there's so many different ways to follow your passion.
Unknown Speaker 53:32
And I feel like advocating for people smarter than you really helped me as well. And, you know, you have to, you have to balance the passion with what you're good at and what can support the lifestyle you want to live and like figuring out what lifestyle you want to live as important start, you know, how much you know, not everybody needs the same things. Some people
Unknown Speaker 53:56
some people want like a giant mansion of a house. And that's okay. You know, it's just like, be honest with yourself about like, what you want, and then start there, and then work backwards. Okay, if I want a giant mansion of a house, it means like, I'm gonna have to bring it in this much income and like, I see, you know, and people have a hard time with money like I did for a long time. I wanted to live without money completely. I wanted to, you know, be completely away from it. And I meditated a lot on my relationship with it. Because, and found that, you know, it's really, for me, I feel it as a form of energy. You know, it's not necessarily inherently bad or good. It's just you know, some people look at it negatively because so many people do negative things with it. Yeah, and with that power, but it can also yield power for good. And so, you know, seeing it as a flow, it comes in it goes out the breath and just kind of feeling a better relationship with it really helped me
Unknown Speaker 55:00
I'd be okay, with calling that into, you know, that that really is healing that relationship took some time or like really meditating on it took some time. But you know, finding out what my needs were what I wanted, and then you know what I was good at. And then there's, you know, you could, you could really love doing something, if you're not good at it, that's okay, you can still work really hard and do it. But you know, it's, it also helps to stick with what you're good at, and then what you liked doing and
Unknown Speaker 55:30
feeling your passion and like I had really great advice from different people have.
Unknown Speaker 55:37
Really just keeping your resource preserved, and your passion is the resource. So like, really, you know, staying passionate, and doing what you need to do to stay passionate, you know, keep learning, keep studying, keep your curiosity up. Because then if you get bogged down by things, and even just the smallest little bump will derail you, but if you're passionate, you'll climb out. And so this is where it's, it's really things like that, but that it was a balance, you know, it's a balance of learning intellectually about fungi, about
Unknown Speaker 56:13
it, business and like how to kind of look at doing all the things from like building a website to like registering an LLC, and like doing things like that. And it's the not so sexy side of things, but it's important.
Unknown Speaker 56:32
Maybe to some people, but and then and then also, you know, building the passion. And so, you know, I love helping people do this. And like I said, I think we're going to be talking a lot more about this at Telluride and in the future about
Unknown Speaker 56:46
you know, what, what it is to have a mushroom business and I have helped people also that have started mushroom companies that have contacted me and said, Hey, I want to do this, and I'm not quite sure how or what, you know, I'm not that experienced. So, but I can help. I know my experience. And I know what I've done so far. And I'm happy to help people do that.
Unknown Speaker 57:10
Unknown Speaker 57:12
Unknown Speaker 57:13
kind of a funny individual that is a self help guru. And a lot of people definitely drink from the Kool Aid with him. But Tony Robbins,
Unknown Speaker 57:24
has written a bunch of books, and he does a bunch of seminars and stuff. But I picked up a couple things from from a couple of his books that he talks about finding your your North Star.
Unknown Speaker 57:38
And that's like, you know, like you're saying, it doesn't matter what's happening in your life, if if you know why you're doing it, then you have that passion. And you could do whatever, you can register your LLC, you could do your taxes, you could do whatever, and you have clarity of why you're doing those things. You know, you're not like a guy gotta do this, you're like, Oh, but I am doing this, because in your example, I want that mansion, you know, but even further, he talks about, like, understanding your why. And so why do you want that mansion? You know, if it's to, you know, prove yourself to your dad, or whatever, then it's like, Well, if that's the case, then do you really want that mansion?
Unknown Speaker 58:26
Or do you just want to prove yourself and then even then you just keep asking why you go down that rabbit hole, then you're like, Well, why do I want to prove myself to my dad, or whatever? And then it's like, well, because, you know, I need I need I want love or, or like affirmation or whatever it is. And okay, well, if that's the why then do I really want that mansion? Or do I really need to prove to him? Can I can I do that in another way? And then it totally rewrites of like, why you're doing the things that you're doing? And it can totally change your business, right? Because Because at first you're like, Oh, I gotta I gotta build a multi million dollar empire to get the mansion. But, you know, once you get that, are you really completing your why you're doing that? No. And maybe you know, and so to really drive in why you're doing the things that you're doing, for me has been incredibly important of like, and I always do this check in, because it's easy to get caught in the noise of like, okay, why am I doing the things that I'm doing, and not get clarity for me? And I've I've changed up what I'm doing a million a million times because I'm like, Well, I can accomplish this why in a totally different way. And realizing that society has this vision of what six success looks like, and that might not be true to you. And for some people, you
Unknown Speaker 1:00:00
You know, living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, and like, walking out and having a morning cup of tea, and watching the sunrise, it's like, they did it, they made it, you know, and for other people like, that's their health, they're like, Oh, I'm in the cabinet in the middle of nowhere. So figure out what works for you. And do that. And there's a million ways to do it. And
Unknown Speaker 1:00:23
but figuring out for you, not for other people, I think, is really important.
Unknown Speaker 1:00:31
Absolutely. And yeah, it speaks to something kind of more on a, on a, on a larger scale. It's kind of the first assessment you need to do before you do kind of the breakdown of what kind of business you want is, what do you want, like, as a person, like, like I said, kind of I was, it took me a while, but I was always clear, like I switched different businesses. But I was always clear, as I said, that I wanted to make an a positive, important difference in my community and the environment. And I knew I wanted that, and I wasn't going to really wasn't going to budge on that. And so that's where, you know, with that, you can always look at what you're doing and say, Am I still on this path? Am I still doing this? And then like, yes, then it can move forward. You know, and it helps informs your decisions on your why's, and then all the all the different needs, like everybody needs different what what you described as the cabin in the woods, like drinking tea, like I'm happy, small cabin in the woods drinking tea. That's where I'm at. It's like a beautiful thing. And, and, you know, Gary, Gary would go on to say that, you know,
Unknown Speaker 1:01:44
you know, you don't need anything. This is the old Thoreau stuff where, you know, all you need is the freedom, the free time to do what you want to do. And he kind of found a way to do that. And that was through teaching at the New York Botanical Gardens and his life in the city and being around the New York Mycological Society. And it's like, you know, you don't need a house at all. You don't need anything, you can just, you can just be doing what you want to do. And that's kind of a beautiful inspiration. But no, just look at a log for 20 minutes.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:19
Important. Yeah. Yeah, exactly.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:24
But yeah, I would love that. Yeah. I mean, there's so many different things to like, we're getting into like philosophy of life and people and stuff. And that's great.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:33
But yeah, that mushroom passion is something that's really important that Mike illogical. Fire that people feel is great. And, yeah, I just hope people follow that, because we need it, we need it in the field of mycology, we need people to be studying this stuff, we need more discoveries to happen. And it's happening faster than ever.
Unknown Speaker 1:02:55
So I'm going to open up a little bit of a can of worms, potentially. But it's something that we both share. We both have, you know, functional extracts, and we're both in the functional mushroom scene, which is blowing up like crazy. And I know we've we've talked about this throughout the years of kind of like where this industry is going. And we've helped each other out throughout the years tremendously on, you know,
Unknown Speaker 1:03:23
improving how we're giving mushroom extracts to people and where we're going to where we want to go how to do it. Right. And
Unknown Speaker 1:03:33
you know, I think we both share that. Not everybody's doing it the right way, potentially, depending on how you define that. But But
Unknown Speaker 1:03:43
regardless, we're What do you feel like is the state of the the functional mushroom scene right now?
Unknown Speaker 1:03:50
Yeah, it's good. I mean, yeah, you and I have talked about this for years. I mean, like we, we both saw the start of each other's companies. And like, we took different directions we took, you know, we'd always come back together and be like, Yeah, this is where I'm at, like, no judgment, but like, this is where I'm going, and this is what I'm doing. And we've Yeah, we've helped each other and checked each other and like help to create just open dialogue. And I love that about a relationship. And I hope that other businesses have that too. Because I don't think we've ever seen it as competition. It's more just, you know, filling different niches and then also helping get you know, it's not about us, it's about the health of the communities. And I think that value system is really important. And I feel that
Unknown Speaker 1:04:42
I really like seeing people out there like now that like you said, there's more everything. There's more businesses, there's more advertising, there's more. There's more everything right now, and there's more small companies starting up there's more giant
Unknown Speaker 1:05:00
companies starting up, but I look for the ones that have value. And I look for the ones that are adding value that have the why in place, like you said, the ones that are, you know, have integrity, that
Unknown Speaker 1:05:15
I look for the businesses that
Unknown Speaker 1:05:21
Unknown Speaker 1:05:23
that are that are kind of out there for people and out there for the fungi.
Unknown Speaker 1:05:29
And, you know, there's more info out there, some of it's credible, some of it's not credible,
Unknown Speaker 1:05:36
there's more, there's more and more things coming up with potency. You know, there's just everybody, you know, there's all different types of extracts that are happening, like abstract processes that are happening now. And, you know, I don't know, I personally, I don't know that more potent is actually better. Or if that equals quality, you know, because
Unknown Speaker 1:06:00
there are certain daily doses that were given to people different studies. And that's kind of what we're basing it on. And, you know, the difference between medicine and poison is dose. And so it's, it's really one of these things, that it's very much the Wild West. But,
Unknown Speaker 1:06:17
you know, I'm really into,
Unknown Speaker 1:06:22
you know, knowing where things are coming from personally, like, I really like,
Unknown Speaker 1:06:29
knowing my farmer, knowing where the land, you know, knowing who's growing my food, knowing who's processing it, I liked removing the steps between things and the steps between
Unknown Speaker 1:06:43
kind of processing, the less steps, the better if I can get it directly from the person grind that I'm like, happy. But where it's come from, how it's made, who's behind it. I mean, in a lot of places, you can't really see that it's not transparent with companies. And there's, you know, I hate to say it, but there's a lot of companies that are out there that are just seeing the trend. They're getting tons of funds, they're throwing it out, they're going crazy with marketing, and they don't know they're mushrooms. There's really nothing behind it there. They don't really know, there's no heart, they got flashy branding, it's beautiful, and they got all the buzzwords, but
Unknown Speaker 1:07:25
you know, what, what are they doing? Like how they're, they're really just in, in the end just trying to sell you something. And what what scares me about that is like, I have people that you and I have talked about this before. And this is nothing new. But like you said, there's always been brands that haven't put out maybe the top quality product that that we think and you know, and once again, it's happening on every scale, it happens on small scales, it happens on large scales. But sometimes people just don't put out a quality product. And
Unknown Speaker 1:08:00
in that, you talk to people that have taken that product and you're like, Oh, you took reishi that's great, you know, or Lion's Mane, like, how do you feel? And they say, Mom, not really, not really feeling much difference. That's kind of like, wow, okay, it kind of does a disservice to the fact that these things are really powerful bonuses, and when made, right. Like, yeah, people two weeks later, like, wow, like, things are, you know, it's not like completely different, obviously, it's not, but but people, you know, there's nothing that is a silver bullet, I mean, diet, exercise, things like that. And I think this is once again, where trends jump on as they try to portray a silver bullet, that like no matter what, everything's gonna be fine if you just buy my product. You know, and that's kind of where,
Unknown Speaker 1:08:54
I don't know, I think small, slow solutions, you know, you're not promising the world, you're saying this is part of your health, you know, and, and that's kind of it but for the public perception, you know, with all this functional mushroom industry. You know, there's I see it is there's a before, there's a now, and there's going to be after, and like before, it wasn't in anybody's consciousness. So I'm grateful that even though there's like a deal is a big surge of all different types of functional mushroom companies. It's more in the public perception now. And that's a beautiful thing. But my interest is like after the the waves subsides after the tide goes out after the trend is gone, like what is the lasting effect? And I think culturally, people will have some idea that mushrooms exist, and that they're out there and that they could potentially help them. And, you know, some of the big companies will fade out and the small companies will fade out and like we'll see
Unknown Speaker 1:10:00
We'll see what's left. But like, hopefully, you know, moreover,
Unknown Speaker 1:10:05
the people that find value in it, people that either through producing or through taking still, you know, hold that, and it becomes kind of a larger cultural phenomenon that is incorporated. So, yeah, that's my thought. And you've kind of kept me in check throughout the years, which sometimes helps. And sometimes they,
Unknown Speaker 1:10:32
I still do it. But, you know, I've always been a rabble rouser. And, you know, it's, it's been like, it's been an interesting internal debate for me, of, you know, there's, there's the companies that you're talking about, that they, they honestly just don't know any better. And they're super excited. And they like,
Unknown Speaker 1:10:54
they'll get supply of some quote unquote, mushrooms, where there's no actual mushrooms in it. And they'll market it as such, because they don't, they honestly have zero knowledge about mycology. And they'll put it out there with a bunch of funding, and they're really excited. And they honestly don't know any better. And for those companies, I give them a lot of slack. Because I'm like, you know, what, you're just starry eyed, really excited, you don't know any better. It you know, awesome, you're spreading knowledge. You know, there's better practices, but you just didn't know about it. You know, there's that group. There's another group that knows better. And they been in the industry for 40 years plus, and they know the scientific studies, they know what they're putting out there has no mushrooms in it, they're still marketing it, whatever, I won't go too deep into it. But for those people, you know, there's a, I've been one of the loudest people in the industry of kind of calling that out. And you've told me, you know, like, like, play nice, and because we want positive vibes. And, you know, you want everyone to get along, and there's room for everyone and true, like, and so I'm, I'm like, there's this internal debate of like, I want to be nice, and like I want but it's the same time of like, I, it crushes me to see people being lied to, and it crushes me to see people like in the space not being integral. And kind of
Unknown Speaker 1:12:35
like, it's like, I feel like I'm doing a disservice to people by not saying anything, but at the same time, like, I'm, I'm struggling of how do I say it in the best way where it's constructive. And it helps everybody and not not be this negative. Because I don't, I don't want to do that, you know, like, I don't want to be the person calling people out. Like, I just want to have fun in the woods. Like, I don't want to do that. Like, I'm just seeing that nobody else is doing it or very little people are and I, I feel uncomfortable that to just let that happen and go unnoticed. So like, where do you stand in in it?
Unknown Speaker 1:13:20
Yeah, that's, that's a good question. And you know, Alex, I appreciate you like, and, you know, and who you are and how you are. And if you want to, you know, say things that that's, that's up to you, you know, I'm just, you know, I'm a peacemaker. I like to, you know, it's where I come from, um, I say a lot of I statements I don't I try not to point fingers, I try to just be me, I try to lead by example. And as Hunter S Thompson said, it all comes out in the wash. So in the end, you know, if if what it is it, you know, it is and people will see it for what it is eventually and you know, it's not really personally up to me to
Unknown Speaker 1:14:03
keep other people up, but at the same time, man, oh, boy, I have a really hard time. Like if somebody puts out false information or something like that, like I've seen this happen all men, or they are they have terrible harvesting practices out in the forest. Oh my gosh, I have I have a really hard time with that. And you know, I won't person I will go out and tell the world but I might pull that person aside and be like, Yo, like, I'm seeing what you're doing and I want you to know I'm probably not the only one seeing it. And you know, you might you might want to look at yourself and say am I okay with like you're the one who is Yeah, self in the mirror at the end of the day. You gotta go to sleep at night. Yeah. Yeah, like, like maybe or, you know, just see, you know, like, I believe, you know, I'm not saying you are but
Unknown Speaker 1:15:00
Like I've seen, I believe you might be doing a disservice by putting out false information and like, here's,
Unknown Speaker 1:15:06
you know, it's it's like, yeah, it's once again, it's the companies that, like you said, should know better. Make and, and, and that's okay. You know, like, we're all we're all on a learning process.
Unknown Speaker 1:15:19
And yeah, it's it's, it's something we both we've talked about it many times it's like how do you what do you do? How do we do it more? I don't think we'll ever get an answer. I think we'll just keep trying new things. Alex, I think we'll just try and talk about it again. And
Unknown Speaker 1:15:39
you know, we try to try to be good to each other. It, yeah, mushrooms are great, that it's the human part. That's very interesting. And I've heard this in many, many different scenes, where it's like, there's always, you know, there's always one person. And
Unknown Speaker 1:15:58
yeah, we're an interesting species, Homo sapiens. And we're, we're learning how to how to be our best selves, you know, and how to be in relationship with all species, including ourselves and our own mind, and how to sit in our own bodies, but, but also be in symbiosis with with everything around us. And that's hard. And it's like, we're blessed with
Unknown Speaker 1:16:26
a quote unquote, advanced mind. And I feel like we're, at the same time, our biggest enemies, and we,
Unknown Speaker 1:16:35
yeah, we're like, we're so conscious. And at the same time, we're not
Unknown Speaker 1:16:42
that it's this cosmic paradox that we're, you know, we have gone so far, and yet have so much to so much more to go and looking around I, I love,
Unknown Speaker 1:16:57
you know, like, one of one of my most profound mushroom trips ever, was I ate some mushrooms. I was in Western Massachusetts, and there's a bunch of farms in Western Mass, like, and so I was on a walk, and it was, you know, in my head, going through all the things in my life, and I was like, Ah, how do I become a better person? And Chai said, Should I said that differently? And, you know, should I should I start this practice and all these things that I was in my head, but it was in a walk in nature in this beautiful path. And I wasn't even paying attention to the path I was just in my head, the gears were turning like, ah, bah, bah, bah, this is how I improve as a being and blah, blah, blah. And I stumbled upon this cow just laying down in this field of grass, it was just chewing on the grass. And it looked up at me it was true in the grass. And it just like, not a care in the world. And it just went back down and just continue to eat the grass. And I had this moment, it was like,
Unknown Speaker 1:17:59
Oh, my God, here I am thinking I'm like, such an advanced being and like, I'm doing all this. I'm doing the work. You know, I'm taking psychedelics to heal and get better and blah, blah, blah. And here's this cow, just literally living the life like literally being this divine awakened, being just eating grass and like, and we're all aspiring to be that cow. And this cow just doesn't have to do anything. It just eats grass and breeze and chills in the sun. And, you know, I'm oversimplifying. This cow probably has its own problems of its own. But, but yeah, it is. It is funny that a lot of times we overcomplicate things, and hopefully, hopefully we figure these things out.
Unknown Speaker 1:18:45
What about the the psychedelic industry? Because we just had a conversation about this, and it's rising way faster than the functional mushroom industry. But where where do you see that going?
Unknown Speaker 1:19:00
Yeah, speaking of the prefrontal cortex,
Unknown Speaker 1:19:04
which is, you know, what? That's once again, the stoned ape theory by Dennis McKenna. It's,
Unknown Speaker 1:19:13
yeah, it's really your dance and tennis. Sorry, Dennis, and Terence McKenna. Well, you know, talked about the stoned ape theory that, you know, because we ate mushrooms, you know,
Unknown Speaker 1:19:25
as we were kind of just kind of coming up across the Great Plains. We came across psilocybin mushrooms, we ate them and because of that over a short period of time,
Unknown Speaker 1:19:37
evolutionarily, our prefrontal cortex expanded to be much, much greater and from that came, you know, a standing up the hair falling out of our heads, because our brain is the most nutritionally expensive organ in our body just like that cow stomachs are its most expensive nutritional organ, and so we kind of lost all our hair to keep the heat
Unknown Speaker 1:20:00
You know, cool in our brains, and with that, we just started over reasoning things.
Unknown Speaker 1:20:07
So this is where once again, we can, we can really talk ourselves into and out of so many things. And
Unknown Speaker 1:20:15
yeah, really learning more about that has been kind of mind blowing. And, you know, I feel like the
Unknown Speaker 1:20:23
the psychedelic industry, it's, it's,
Unknown Speaker 1:20:27
it's kind of interesting, it's, you know, it's kind of similar to so many other trends, where everybody's just looking for a silver bullet, like the one thing that's good, do it all for them, and it's gonna cure all the things and it's gonna make it all great. And
Unknown Speaker 1:20:44
there's really, there's really no substitute to like diet, exercise, community love,
Unknown Speaker 1:20:52
good health, good food, good neighbors, like, it's fun, you know, it.
Unknown Speaker 1:20:58
Like you said, it can be a great aid, like, psychedelics can be a great aid, they can be a good window into, like, what you can do for yourself, but it's about you doing it for yourself, kind of thing. And
Unknown Speaker 1:21:14
I think it's,
Unknown Speaker 1:21:17
it's interesting, what is coming out around mushrooms, like love that they're coming back into the public eye, I like truly believe that. If people were to eat more psychedelic mushrooms, that breeds,
Unknown Speaker 1:21:33
you know, empathy, that it could lead to a moral evolution, which could potentially be one of the most important things that could happen to us. Because it helps you get connected with a lot of other things around you, when taken in the right circumstances, and everything's fine. And that just happens to be your experience. Because, I mean, one of the things that a lot of the movies aren't talking about, and a lot of the hype is not alluding to, is the fact that it's not all great. Like, you could go into something with the best intention of having like, some kind of trip to heal your whole life in one shot, and then you end up just like, with a stomachache, like sit on the couch waiting for it to be over. You know, and it's just like, I didn't really, you know, whatever, this time, it wasn't that great, it was just kind of, like, made my jaw hurt, you know, like, it's, you're still ingesting poison. It's not, you know, it's not like, you're gonna, like, have a trip and one time and like, everything's gonna be cured. Like, I've had, you know, like, it's, it's not like that, like, the thing about this mushroom, like many of these other mushrooms, and our public perception is that, like, we think we're going to take the mushroom,
Unknown Speaker 1:22:59
when really, the mushrooms going to take us like, it's going to take us somewhere, like, you're not going to take it somewhere, it's going to own you for a while and bring you somewhere. And you just have to be like, okay with it.
Unknown Speaker 1:23:17
Because you decided to do this thing, this ancient ancient thing that you thought is not as popular in pop culture is going to do something for you, it's going to, it's going to tell you what it's going to do for you, you're not going to tell it. And this is where it's like It's a sacred thing. It's and to be revered like that, to be really held like that. I'm not really seeing that reflected in the branding. And a lot of these companies that are looking for big cash grabs, you know, it's just not, I don't know, that it's it that is really coming through. I don't think that really comes through anyway. Because that's not the heart and soul of a lot of marketing and a lot of these fast cash grab companies. So I think
Unknown Speaker 1:24:09
also, there's like a lot to be cautioned too with like, you know, people skip over the tag line at the bottom of the bottle that says do not take if you have bipolar or are you know, schizophrenic and things like this, and honestly, I had a really hard experience a couple of years ago because my friend took some psychedelics and it started a like that. It was the start of a
Unknown Speaker 1:24:41
a psychotic episode that he had. It didn't happen while he was on psychedelics. It happened
Unknown Speaker 1:24:47
weeks leading afterwards and
Unknown Speaker 1:24:52
and I you know, it was it, he ended up in the hospital. So it's one of those things where we really need to know
Unknown Speaker 1:25:00
We need to be careful here and like I, I'm a proponent of safe use, I'm a proponent that, you know, medicinally, this can be very beneficial. And that
Unknown Speaker 1:25:13
and that we're learning how to do that with it, we are practiced on how to do that. And I think it could be done right. And I think it'd be can be done well, especially in the care of therapists. But the thing about the care of therapists is that
Unknown Speaker 1:25:29
you're seeing a therapist, that's good. That's like, you could not do psychedelics and see a therapist, and that's going to help you be a better person. Well, because you're actually taking the time to look at yourself with a professional that's going to help you do that. And so, once again, it comes down to like, what is it, it's you doing the work? It's not the mushroom, it's you putting the time and energy in working, if you are craving that,
Unknown Speaker 1:25:56
you know, time is the answer. But
Unknown Speaker 1:26:01
I think once again, like I said, with functional mushrooms, there was a lull before there's a peak now, how's it gonna survive in the culture after? That's kind of my interest?
Unknown Speaker 1:26:15
I did. It is funny how
Unknown Speaker 1:26:19
also, sub perceptual micro dosing is, is also so popular now. And even companies working on, you know, psilocybin without the trip.
Unknown Speaker 1:26:30
And like, you know, yeah, chemically altering it, so you're getting the benefits without the trip. And that's kind of all the rise right now is like, people want the benefits without the uncomfortability they want the truth without the uncomfortability. And it's, some of the best truths are insanely uncomfortable. And that
Unknown Speaker 1:26:54
is the Yeah, that's the greatest juice is like, Yeah, I mean, some, like San Pedro cactus. I mean, it's an amazing cactus, but it's covered in thorns. So you got to get around, the thorns are like a rose. It's amazing. It's covered in thorns. And that's, that's part of the beauty of it. And,
Unknown Speaker 1:27:16
you know, life as, as a whole isn't all love and good vibes,
Unknown Speaker 1:27:22
or nature, you know, is not all
Unknown Speaker 1:27:26
connected, loving beauty, like there's volcanoes, there's, there's, you know,
Unknown Speaker 1:27:32
there's parasitic organisms, there's crazy things out there that it's all part of the flow. And
Unknown Speaker 1:27:40
yeah, I tell people all the time, it's like, that's not bad. It's not bad to have unless you're manic or schizophrenic or bipolar, like, it's not bad to have, quote, unquote, bad trips. And I kind of don't like
Unknown Speaker 1:27:55
that, that terminology. I like uncomfortable experiences. Sometimes they're bad if you have schizophrenia, or drug interaction, or whatever. But like, an uncomfortable experience isn't bad. It just means that your mushrooms are taking you by the collar and dragging you to views things that you've been distracting yourself. From, in an age were distracting yourself from things is so frickin easy. With social media and Netflix, etc. It's so easy to distract yourself from hard truths. And, you know, they're good at dragging you by the collar and like, and I feel like, you know, microdosing is great, but I am a proponent of perceptual microdosing. Like, I feel like everyone should feel that uncomfortability, including the therapists who choose to sit with people, including people that are starting these big companies, like, I feel like everyone should have at least one very uncomfortable trip experience where mushrooms are just dragging them by the collar. They're kicking and screaming for like five hours and they need to see it and to be like, Oh, okay, it's not all, you know, like, yeah, it might cure depression. But,
Unknown Speaker 1:29:15
you know, it won't be a sunshine rainbow experience. For some people it might be but you know, you need to go through the muck to grow the lotus. And
Unknown Speaker 1:29:28
some people have it easier than others, but I feel like as, as a human, we all suffer and we we have roots of that suffering that which are uncomfortable to face. And so that is part of the journey to face those roots of suffering. You know, well, maybe that can be your niche, you know, your next new business niche like there's a lot of people that are probably planning these like cushy cafes where you go and you eat psychedelics, and you have this beautiful experience. You could do like the dungeon experience on psychedelics.
Unknown Speaker 1:29:56
It's all you know, like, I love the beautiful experiences too.
Unknown Speaker 1:30:00
Like, they're great. It's all it's all there for a purpose. Right. And I feel like, if you're only having the dungeon experiences, then you know,
Transcribed by https://otter.ai