A fun-gi event for all to indulge in
This month is Urban Agriculture Month, and to highlight the annual national movement, Kensington Stockyard Food Garden is holding a Gourmet Mushroom Growing workshop on November 20 from 10am.
The workshop, which has been held in the past, is being hosted again as a direct response to the positive community feedback and interest in it, and fits in with this year’s theme of “Growing Edible Towns and Cities”.
The one-hour workshop will be a hands-on process, hosted and led by garden volunteer and mushroom growing enthusiast Emma Wasson, where attendees will be taken through how to grow their own mushrooms using provided mushroom growing kit materials.
“We want to show that it is easy and accessible, and it doesn’t take a lot of time – especially in this case because we are pre-organising a lot of it – and we will talk about the life cycle of cultivating gourmet oyster mushrooms, how to avoid and minimise contamination, and make sure people are growing a healthy crop,” Ms Wasson said.
“Essentially it is to help give people access to growing their own food in a fun and fascinating way, because fungi grows very quickly, it can be very cheap, and it is very rewarding because you can grow plenty of them and don’t need a lot of space to do it.”
Following the workshop, attendees are also welcome to stay on and socialise further, while indulging in oyster mushrooms on toast and sharing in some of the produce grown at the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden.
As a volunteer of the garden for the past two years, Ms Wasson cannot recommend being a part of the community garden enough, stating it was something she “will continue indefinitely” to be a part of.
Growing up in the country, Ms Wasson has always had a fascination with nature, and her interest in mushrooms stems back to when her family would go foraging for them on their property.
Then it was the pandemic, and disinterest in constantly watching Netflix, that ultimately brought Ms Wasson back to “discovering the world of fungi”.
“Through having that extra time at home, I really started to hone in on the process through watching lots of YouTube and doing lots of home growing experiments,” she said.
“The hobby just turned into a passion, and it is something I want to offer other people, and show them what I have learnt so they can enjoy it as much as I do.”
Educating new, and ongoing, gardeners about the benefits of growing your own produce and being a part of a like-minded community is something Ms Wasson takes a lot of pride in, and she is in full support of what Sustain: The Australian Food Network is doing through the Urban Agriculture Month movement.
“It really shows that food resilience is important, and that access to community gardens and fresh produce is a really beautiful way to learn, connect with other people, and address issues like social isolation, rising costs of food, and food insecurity,” she said.
“These issues can be remedied through connecting to your local community and getting involved in a local community garden.”
The Gourmet Mushroom Growing workshop is among more than 100 events being conducted nationwide as part of Urban Agriculture Month, and according to executive director of Sustain: The Australian Food Network Nick Rose, the month is all about responding to the arising problems we are facing at this time and creating awareness.
“We’re entering a decade the likes of which none of us have ever experienced,” he said.
“Crises are cascading and converging: climate, COVID, cost of living, war and health – mental, physical and dietary. More Australians than ever are facing food insecurity, with the food banks swamped by demand. We need positive, empowering responses, which is exactly what Urban Agriculture Month is all about.”
For more information on the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden event, and to learn more about growing mushrooms or share in your progress, visit Mycelium Futures on Facebook. •
To book for the event: trybooking.com/CDRAX
Caption 1: Mushroom Workshop held at Kensington Stockyard Food Garden. Photo Julian Meehan Photography.
Caption 2: Workshop presenter and garden volunteer Emma Wasson.