How do I find a local mushroom community? I’m in MD. How did you find yours?
Glad you asked! I’m going to answer this for other people to hopefully find a local group as well.
If you live in North America, the North American Mycological Association has a directory of Mycological Societies for your state. You can find one nearest to you. I don’t think Maryland has one but Virginia does and New Jersey has two clubs. You can email their presidents or view their websites and FB pages to see if they have any upcoming mushroom fairs or events.
A mushroom fair is a great way to see the local species in that area because they’re usually held during the peak of that area’s mushroom season (and it’s different for every area). They usually hold workshops, lectures, cooking demos etc during those events. If you’re part of a mycology society, you can volunteer and meet other volunteers during the process. It’s really just about showing up and asking how you can get involved.
I started showing up to mushroom events alone in 2014 because I didn’t know anyone else who liked mushrooms. A couple years ago, I was always the youngest person in the room but now I’d say it’s a big mix of ages and experience levels. And everyone is there for different reasons; some are going because they’re science students and they can get extra credit, some are going because they want to grow mushrooms, some want information about psychedelic mushrooms, some are foragers, some like to cook, some are artists, some are just supporting friends or family, so you’re bound to meet a wide range of people. Everyone is usually very friendly and eager to share information.
Sometimes introducing people you already know to mushrooms can be a way to create your own mushroom community; you’ll learn together and if you introduce your mushroom friends to each other, the community can grow. If one of my friends mentions they like mushrooms, I’ll try to introduce them to my other mushroom friends; or if I plan a mushroom hunting or camping trip etc I’ll invite anyone who I think might be interested.
I try to introduce artist friends who like fiber arts/textiles to mushroom dyeing; some vegetarian and vegan friends might be interested in using mushrooms as an alternative to meat; eco-conscious friends might like the possibility of using mushrooms for myco-remediation; lol and friends interested in mental health, medicine, or drugs might be interested in learning about medicinal and psychedelic mushrooms. There’s are many ways to introduce people to the world of mushrooms because unfortunately, many people aren’t exposed to mycology through any mainstream source. Find what works for you and put yourself out there!