Ep. 28: Fungi Foundation - How to Save the World by Protecting & Promoting Fungi (feat. Giuliana Furci)


This week on Mushroom Hour we are grateful for the opportunity to speak with our guest Giuliana Furci. Giuliana is founder and president of the Fungi Foundation and has been the greatest advocate for the study and protection of the Fungi Kingdom in recent decades in the country of Chile. She managed to make Chile the first country in the world to include fungi in its environmental impact assessment legislation. 

Giuliana's upbringing took her across the Atlantic as her family fled political persecution, but she returned to Chile as a young adult. Already armed with a passion for fungi, Giuliana made a life-changing decision to forgo studying abroad and instead would try to invigorate the mycological tradition in a largely mycophobic nation that did not have any avenues for studying fungi. That brave decision, and her perseverance in her mission to study fungi, has forever changed her country. 

After years of self-taught and self-led field mycology work documenting Chile's fungi, Giuliana founded The Fungi Foundation - the first NGO on Earth to be dedicated to promoting the knowledge, appreciation and protection of fungi. The Foundation has now expanded and supports many projects in Chile, but the biggest effort they have undertaken is their work in changing legislation to protect fungi. Giuliana and her team seized an opportunity to change environmental laws and implement a regulatory and enforcement framework that mandates all building projects in Chile must include an analysis of how they will impact local fungi populations, in addition to plants and animals. Chile is now the only country in the world that specifically protects fungi in its environmental legislation. How did they achieve this historical milestone? How does the shift from identifying "flora and fauna" to "flora, fauna and funga" fundamentally change our ecological perspectives as a society? 

Leaving the halls of government, we'll try to keep up with Giuliana as she traverses the country for months at a time, hoping to coincide with the appearance of mushrooms. From the Atacama desert to the mountains of the Patagonia, Chile's unique geography makes for an incredible amount of unexplored biodiversity, especially when it comes to fungi! We'll learn to never underestimate the power of an encounter with a fungus and Giuliana will educate us on the proper steps to scientifically document mushrooms we find in the wild. 

Thanks for listening and Mush Love!   

Directed, Recorded, Produced by: Mushroom Hour
(@welcome_to_mushroom_hour)   

Music by: Ancient Baby (https://peckthetowncrier.bandcamp.com/)   
Art by: Wyn Di Stefano (http://www.wyndistefano.com/)   

Episode Resources
Fungi Foundation Website: https://ffungi.org/   
Calvatia Family (Mushroom): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calvatia   
Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada (Book): https://www.amazon.com/Mushrooms-Northeastern-United-States-Eastern/dp/1604696346   
Mushrooms of California (Book): https://www.amazon.com/California-Mushrooms-Comprehensive-Identification-Guide/dp/1604693533/   
Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast (Book): https://www.amazon.com/Mushrooms-Redwood-Coast-Comprehensive-California/dp/1607748177/   

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