On Sunday, April 17, Providence Zen Center hosted a mushroom inoculation workshop presented by Steve Gabriel, director of the Fingerlakes Permaculture institute. We spent the day learning to inoculate shitake, oyster and winecap mushrooms, and Steve walked the grounds with George and Troy after the workshop and gave us some pointers on sustainably managing our forest. Providence Zen Center now has nearly 100 logs inoculated with shitake, which will begin fruiting next year. In addition, we inoculated the flower beds near the main entrance with winecap mushrooms, and we have 3 bags of coffee grounds inoculated with oyster mushrooms which should be ready for fruiting in a couple months. Thanks to Steve for teaching this workshop and sharing his knowledge of edible mushroom cultivation with us, and for helping us get started growing our own mushrooms for the Zen Center! Our hope is to continue to expand the number of inoculated logs we have in coming years (logs will fruit for up to 5 years, sometimes even longer) and begin to grow enough shitake to provide some supplementary income for the Zen Center. Another possibility is for the shitake logs to become a cottage industry which one or more residents could use to support themselves while living at the Zen Center.
- Troy Rapp, PZC Housemaster