Ep. 23: Malama Mushrooms - Powering The Hawaiian Mycoflora Project (feat. Ben Lillibridge)

Today on Mushroom Hour we have the blessing to interview Benjamin Lillibridge. Benjamin is the founder of Big Island based Mālama Mushrooms, a business focused on bringing superfood mushroom extracts to the masses for immunity, brain health, and energy support.   

This week's journey takes us to the Big Island of Hawaii - one of the most unique biomes on the planet. With Ben as our guide, we'll take a tropical tour through the fungal landscape of the Big Island, including a look at some of Hawaii's endemic fungi. We'll learn how a mission to catalog Hawaii's fungi was sparked during a Radical Mycology community gathering that inspired him to found the Hawaii Mycoflora project with Jeff Stahlman and secure grant funding. What kinds of unique fungi are endemic to Hawaii? How does the relatively young geography of the islands play a role in fungal populations?    

Ben has a rich background in agriculture and food systems, with years spent working on permaculture farms and with value-added food products. He has been able to leverage his knowledge and talents to found a medicinal mushroom company that employs ethical sourcing to deliver high-quality mushroom supplements. Staying true to his own integrity and love of fungi, Ben has been able to use his company's success as a platform. He plans to use the growth of Mālama Mushrooms to fund the creation of vertically integrated medicinal mushroom supply chains in Hawaii and fund his mycoflora research.    

We wrap up our conversation talking about Ben's work with the Clarity Project - an Oahu-based organization that hopes to create a conversation around the classification of psilocybin-containing mushrooms as medicinal substances. How important is it for people to share their psychedelic experiences as a community and how can that lead to safer practices when it comes to engaging with entheogens?    

Thanks for listening and Mush Love!    

Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour

Music by: Ancient Baby   
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano   

Episode Resources   
Hawaii Mycoflora Project on iNaturalist: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/mycoflora-of-hawaii-2019-new-list   
Mālama Mushrooms IG: https://www.instagram.com/malamamushrooms/   
Mālama Mushrooms Website: https://www.malamamushrooms.com/   
The Clarity Project: https://clarityproject.org/

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