Mushrooms and fungi have played a foundational role in our ecosystems–both human and environmental—from our most primal beginnings. Mycelium networks not only provide and distribute nutrients to trees, but also provide a sort of communication network between them to signal looming threats from disease. Mushrooms and fungi can also play a role in soil and water remediation, resource management, and provide a nourishing source of food and medicine. With such a critical role, why don’t we know more about working with mushrooms? Mycologos, the world’s first online mycology institute and farm, is hoping to change that.

Founded by Peter McCoy, author of the encyclopedic reference Radical Mycology, Mycologos will produce a series of online courses ranging from fungal biology and ecology to mycoremediation. The team also had plans to build a demonstration farm in Portland, Oregon to provide hands-on training opportunities for students. According the McCoy,

“There is no institute in the world that offers anything close to the breadth of content offered by our courses. This is especially true in regards to the practical applications of cultivating fungi for food, medicine, and ecological stewardship. We want to change this state of affairs by creating new paradigms for working with fungi—where their mysteries are dispelled and their benefits are available to all.”

A few years ago I heard pioneering mycologist Paul Stamets give a talk about harnessing the power of mycelium and fungi to help heal the world. Charting the history of human/fungi relationships and ending with a mind-blowing analogy comparing the networks of mycelium—the foundation of all forest ecosystems—to our neural networks and (even more exciting) the Internet and the universe. I was hooked. In the first issue of MOLD Magazine where we explored the theme of designing for the human microbiome, we invited McCoy to contribute a feature on our “Fungal Futures” to highlight the potential for research and design in the space.

We’re so thrilled to support Mycologos in their mission to “herald a new era in ethnomycology: the evolving legacy of human-fungal relationships.” As of press time, their Kickstarter campaign is $6,000 short of reaching its goal with three weeks to go. You can pledge to support their video course production and receive anything from some myco swag to access to their 10-hour online courses. Their “Community Supported MycoCulture” subscription is a 6-month gift box with mushroom spawn, instructions for home cultivation and other goodies from the farm. The Mycologos campaign ends December 20th!