Bay Area Applied Mycology’s (BAAM) mission is to achieve healthy ecosystems through
- Utilizing simple fungal, plant, and microbial processes
- Educating the community about these methods
- Mobilizing fellow citizens into action
Bay Area Applied Mycology is a collective of environmentally minded mushroom enthusiasts who are seeking to enrich the environment and community through the cultivation & application of fungi, plants and bacteria to problems facing the environment and humanity. BAAM also seeks to educate and empower people and communities; by putting simple cultivation strategies and access to lab space within reach of the average home gardener, urban farmer or mushroom fan.
Since November, 2011, BAAM has engaged in several environmental remediation projects with East Bay Municipal Utilities District where it has applied fungal and plant remediation strategies towards various issues facing the local environment. BAAM has also lead cultivation workshops, medicinal mushroom and fungal dye classes and has held an annual educational MycoBlitz at Far West Fungi. Currently BAAM is opening a mycology lab space (BAAM Lab) in partnership with Counter Culture Labs at the Omni Commons in Oakland. BAAM plans to use this space for sterile lab work, ongoing classes and workshops, remediative experiments and for a native fungi species bank which will house as many local mushroom species that we can find and culture for future remediation projects.
BAAM came together in 2011 as Bay Area Radical Mycology with the shared obsession with fungi and a dream of doing myco-remediation; cleaning up oil and other contaminants with mushrooms. We practice low tech and hi tech cultivation techniques; indoor and outdoor mushroom culture, and seek to educate people in these techniques. We also forage wild mushrooms, looking for inspiration, medicine, and food. We use fungi to dye fabric, harvest medicinal compounds, decompose waste, build soil, and eat gourmet meals.
Fungi have much to teach the human world, and we seek to act as a conduit for this mycelial message. Fungi live in the environment as decentralized networks of thread-like cells called hyphae, which form the net called mycelium. Fungi move resources like water and nutrients across the network to where they are needed. Mycorrhizal fungi form symbioses with plants and can create a forest network where food and information can flow from tree to tree, from old plants to young plants, even across species boundaries. This open and decentralized sharing makes the ecosystem resilient; when there is a disturbance, a healthy part of the system can send resources through the fungi heal the damaged area. Interconnectedness is the key to this system. If humans can apply these lessons of organization and intelligent resource distribution, like that of the fungi, we may begin to heal our massively disturbed systems, both social and environmental.