Ep. 31: How to Quit Your Job and Devote Your Life to Mushrooms (feat. John Michelotti)

Today on Mushroom Hour we are graced by the presence of John Michelotti. John is the founder of Catskill Fungi and past President of the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association (MHMA). His goal is to inspire people to partner with fungi to improve their health, communities, and the environment.  

Our journey takes us to the Catskill Mountains in New York state where we find a young John spending the summer on his grandfather's farm - whose grounds were some of the favorite mushroom foraging spots of Gordon Wasson! After spending a childhood in nature, John pursued many paths until his fateful connection with the Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association. One the group's leaders, the mycology legend Gary Lincoff, become John's mentor and inspired him to dedicate his life to working with fungi. Sadly, Gary passed away in March of 2018. What was Gary really like and how did his unique background make him such a charismatic ambassador of the fungal world?  

John's pursuit of fungal abundance took him to the jungles of Ecuador as he had the transformative opportunity to participate in the Amazon MycoRenewal project led by Mia Maltz. Armed with more knowledge and an even deeper passion for fungi, John movedback  to the Catskills to his grandfather's farm and joined the Mid-Hudson Mycological Association. Inspired by his days with the Westchester Mycology Club, John set about building community and eventually became Association President. Catskill Fungi was born as another way for John to share knowledge and form community around a love of mushrooms via presentations, workshops and mushroom walks. Learning about how fungi improves our health, John mastered a triple extraction technique for making medicinal mushroom tinctures of the highest quality and even teaches others how to do the exact same process. Catskill Fungi now provides an assortment of medicinal mushroom tinctures made from local, foraged and organically-grown mushrooms like lions mane, reishi, chaga and turkey tail. Why does John feel its so critical to teach these skills to others even if it means selling less of his own products?  

Hearing John's story and his commitment to fungi moves us all to action and we'll feel the call of those immortal words of Gary Lincoff to, "Quit your job and dedicate your life to mushrooms!" Mushrooms and fungi are a key tool to improve humanity's outlook into the future. By pairing with fungi we all can pursue a life work that improves the community, the environment, and our personal health. It's easier than you think - you don't even need to quit your job! We'll become the extra-radical mycelia, reaching out beyond whats comfortable and transform the planet for the better!  

Episode Resources  
Catskill Fungi IG: https://www.instagram.com/catskillfungi/  
Catskill Fungi website: https://www.catskillfungi.com/  
Mid Hudson Mycological Association: http://www.midhudsonmyco.org/  
Connecticut-Westchester Mycological Association: http://www.comafungi.org/  
Gary Lincoff: http://garylincoff.com/  
Violet Tooth Polypore (Mushroom): https://www.mushroomexpert.com/trichaptum_biforme.html  
Phaeocalicium polyporaeum (Mushroom): https://mushroomobserver.org/name/show_name/6449  
Amazon MycoRenewal: https://www.amazonmycorenewal.org/  
Mushroom Shed: https://www.mushroomshed.us/

1 comment

  • I’ve been on a couple of novice mushroom walks with John. A new passion I’m trying to find more time for. John is amazing, and this interview was awesome. Will look up more episodes of the Mushroom Hour. Thank you.

    Wendy Haumaier, DVM

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