Learn how to cultivate with the seasons in farms, fields, and gardens
Mushrooms are an emerging niche crop with many benefits, including improving farmer stewardship of forested lands and the ability to offer a unique and highly desired product. With a bit of practice, mushrooms can be easily grown outdoors on many materials and in alignment with the seasonal and cyclical nature of outdoor growing.
This course trains new and experienced farmers in the background, techniques, and economics of outdoor mushroom production. Students will learn the basic biology of mushrooms, cultivation techniques for shiitake, oyster, lions mane, and other easy to grow mushrooms, proper conditions for fruiting outdoors, managing pests and other issues, and harvesting and marketing strategies.
All levels - This course is for new farmers, or experienced farmers seeking to diversify their operations. It’s also relevant to woodlot owners and backyard gardeners, and forest stewards interested in this topic. Growing as a viable economic enterprise will be discussed, though techniques can also be applied at any scale. Mushroom growing is an easy topic for beginners with some experience farming and managing crop systems.
At the completion of this course, you will:
- Be able to describe the basics of outdoor mushroom production, harvesting, and marketing
- Connect mushroom cultivation to the management of healthy forests and soils
- Understand the logistics of management, sales, and legal issues related to mushroom farming
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in Teachable, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters and ask questions to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing.
Live instruction for 2023 has concluded. You are welcome to
enroll now to complete this course on a self-paced schedule and join our next
live session in Fall 2024. All webinars are recorded and posted in your online
classroom to watch anytime. Once enrolled in this course, you will retain
access to all materials indefinitely and may return to participate in future
live offerings of the course as well. Please join us!
Aysha Venjara, a keen observer of nature and longtime gardener, thrives in the small curiosities of the world around us. A
Hudson Valley native, she began volunteering on local farms and
training in regenerative agricultural practices in 2013. It so happened
that her biodynamic studies at the Pfeiffer Center in Chestnut Ridge,
NY, were just down the street from the Sufi mosque she attended since
childhood. The link between these two fundamental aspects of life, faith
and farming, became a topic of deep exploration and formed the start of
an incredible journey. In
2016, Aysha became the steward of a beautiful piece of land, 3.5 acres
of a former biodynamic dairy farm, and a 1950’s barn, lovingly converted
into a home by a designer and musician couple. The Falaha Center for
Spiritual Agriculture, whose mission is growing faith, family, and fun
through farming, was born out of a calling to both protect and share the
gifts of the land and the home—most especially at a time when our
connections to the earth, and one another, are under constant assault. Through
the Falaha Center, Aysha uses small but thriving farm enterprises,
namely log-grown shiitake mushrooms, pastured eggs, and educational
workshops, to fund a food pantry garden program, on-farm mentorship for
youth groups, and woodland conservation activities. Aysha
is also a columnist for dirt magazine, a local Hudson Valley food and
farming publication, and a facilitator for the Cornell Small Farms
Program Woodland Mushroom Course.
Cecilia De La Fuente,
an anthropologist and Community Mushroom Educator with Cornell Small
Farms Program, has specialized in sustainability and urban agriculture
having worked on diverse projects related to these topics. Currently,
she leads Cosmoplantitas, a project focused on experimenting with
accessible methods for cultivation and developing nutritional products
to promote mushroom consumption as a more sustainable alternative.
PreviewMeet the Community Mushroom Educators for BF 151
StartInstructor Contact Information
PreviewWebinar Schedule and Participant Guide
StartOrder Your Mushroom Kit!
PreviewKiva US - 0% Interest Loans up to $15,000
StartNavigating in Teachable; Getting a Course Completion Certificate; and More
StartACTIVITY: Make a Farm Map
StartVIDEO: Wild vs Cultivated, ID - Slides, Recording, Links (2021) (74:30)
StartVIDEO: Woodlot Management for Mushrooms (Peter Smallidge - 2020)
StartREADING: Shiitake: Acquiring Logs
StartVIDEO: Sourcing Logs for Mushroom Cultivation (Steve - 2021)
StartCASE STUDY: Oliva Watkins of Oliver's Agroforest (NC)
StartWEBINAR RECORDING & SLIDES