Kensington Stockyard Food Garden sprouting fun and fungi with Mush Fest
In celebration of its fifth birthday and National Mushroom Day, Kensington Stockyard Food Garden is bringing Mush Fest to the community over two days on October 14 and 15 in a fungi-tastic occasion not to be missed.
The ticketed event will include both free and paid activities throughout the weekend, aiming to grow the community’s mushroom knowledge and get more people involved in the garden.
Fungi-fanatic Emma Wasson is the creative force behind Mush Fest, having been involved with the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden in running mushroom cultivation workshops during the past two years after experimenting on the balcony of her apartment during lockdown.
“I got a lot of joy out of seeing them [mushrooms] grow very quickly before my eyes, and that just sort of led into wanting to share that with the community more broadly,” Ms Wasson said.
The first day of Mush Fest will take place at the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden, where residents can tour the garden, join in various free talks, and wander the community market with stalls to buy orchids, taste kombucha and enjoy some vegan Bahn Mi.
Mush Fest will also run paid workshops where participants can learn everything they need to know about mushrooms; from growing King Straphoria mushrooms and cooking a delicious mushroom risotto, to brewing your own kombucha.
For day two of Mush Fest, the Flem-Ken Bowling Club will host a panel discussion on the benefits of mushrooms for planetary wellbeing and human health, as well as a mushroom cooking demonstration.
“I hope that it’s a fun day, that people enjoy what we’ve created and engage in the market or some of the talks,” Ms Wasson said.
“There’s a lot of different contributors that are offering their time for free and are there to share their products and their knowledge with the community.”
During the past five years, the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden has run in a community effort to provide sustainable and organic food to residents in an urban environment.
Different from other community gardens, the Kensington Stockyard Food Garden is run by a committee of dedicated Kensington residents, championing sustainability and inclusion.
“It’s unique in the sense that my interests have really been nurtured,” Ms Wasson said.
“When I wanted to expand and explore the field of fungi, that’s something that was very much supported here.”
Alongside grant funding from the City of Melbourne and sponsorship from the Flem-Ken Bowling Club and real estate agency Nelson Alexander, Mush Fest has been entirely volunteer-organised.
Ms Wasson hopes that the event can not only “encourage people to learn more about mushrooms and enjoy them”, but that it will also be a way of recognising the volunteers that have made Kensington Stockyard Food Garden what it is today.
“We want to celebrate all the volunteers and all the handwork that people have put into curating the space over the past five years, and welcome more people along to just enjoy it and see what we have to offer.” •