Reading The Landscape



I’ve just had a thoroughly wonderful weekend back at Ragmans Farm on a course with Patrick Whitefield called ‘Reading The Landscape’. I learnt so much about what plants and landscape features can tell the informed observer – from historical land-use to soil ecology and so much more. It was truly inspiring to absorb Patrick’s considerable knowledge on this subject and equally stimulating to meet and talk with the other course participants. Once again being at Ragmans felt like the place I was meant to be and seeing people who I met on my Permaculture Design Course with Patrick last year was like being reunited with family. Having now attended two courses at Ragmans and having lived there for nearly 6 months I feel I’ve gained a deep connection with the land and I look forward to developing that further in the future.

One of many fantastic experiences from this weekend was being asked to give a short talk about mushroom cultivation and having a number of people from the group telling me they are keen to give it a go. I look forward to helping them with that and learning from their experiences. Through my enthusiasm for talking to everyone about fungi (which I was encouraged to do I might add!) I earned myself the name “Chrishroom” which I was very pleased with.

Many thanks go to Patrick for sharing his knowledge, experience and passion, to Morwenna for keeping us all nourished with good food and to all the course participants who shared this experience with me. Lastly, thanks to all at Ragmans Farm for giving us the opportunity to learn in such a beautiful and interesting landscape. Blessings on you all.



Two short poems

Tracebridge wood

A few days ago I sat down to write a bit of poetry after getting a very positive response to my post ‘Observe and learn from the land’. I decided that I would use the Lune form which follows a pattern of 3 words/5 words/3 words or breaks down a total of thirteen syllables into a structure of 5/3/5 – which may make a lot more sense if you read what I produced.

I found having a short and set form to be a good way of focusing my energy and not getting lost in the world of a blank page. I wrote down quite a few but here are two I’d like to share and that represent the two different ways of writing a Lune I attempted to explain above:


Give your gifts,

Waste not your beautiful dreams.

You are rich.


The forest whispers;

“Come inside”

“We shall heal our wounds”


Love and Light-up

Hemp plant growing with a nitrogen fixing layer of clover beneath

The War on Drugs, or more accurately The War on People Who Use Certain Drugs, has and continues to destroy so many people’s lives – but it seems the situation is finally shifting. Cannabis legalisation is now a fledgling reality in two US states and in Uruguay and today many thousands of people will gather to light up together in public parks across the world in an act of super chilled-out civil disobedience.

The effort to control and conquer the use of drugs in society has resulted in criminalising millions of people and is perpetuating an ever increasing cycle of violence and suffering and I think its time to seriously talk about this and collectively find a new approach.

Here is an enlightened article called ‘Gateway drug, to what?’ written by Charles Eisenstein on this subject that I feel is an important contribution to a constructive conversation on drugs in society.

There is a Spanish translation of the article.


Observe and learn from the land

I’ve been thinking a lot about how doing more creative and artistic things could be a benefit to me. Writing some poetry is currently on the forefront of my mind especially after receiving a daily dose from Tigers Dancing. Then I remembered a poem I wrote whilst doing an exercise named ‘Listening to the Landscape’ during my Permaculture Design course last year. At the end of the session we were invited to do something creative inspired by an hour spent observing a particular piece of land.

Its not a masterpiece but it flowed out of me quite spontaneously after that session and invokes in me many of the feelings of connection I experienced on the course and I’d like to share it:


At first this land might not seem much

but look a little closer.

Clear your mind

like a long exhale

and breathe in slowly, deeply.


Absorb all this land has to show you.


From birds and bees

to plants and trees.

Many functions,

many features.


Take the time to really listen.

For this land has much to teach us.


View down to Ragmans Lane Farm

Thinking Like a Mushroom

I really enjoyed this article from Megan Szrom which explores how learning about the roles of fungi within ecosystems and what they offer us as a species can teach us a lot about how we can interact with the planet and each other in more constructive ways.

Female & Fungi

Thinking Like a Mushroom

Megan Szrom

Contemporary Waste Wasting Away

We find ourselves at a critical point in humanity. The infrastructure created over the last few hundred years is failing to meet our deep needs of true value and fulfillment, and this lifestyle brings us to face environmental challenges of global proportions: the mass extinction of non-human species, exploited and wasted resources, and a lack of intimate and meaningful human interactions. Now we desperately look for guidance to solve large-scale disconnects. Technological advances many times carry the weight of being our salvation, though the answer may be simpler. Studying mushrooms, their life cycle and role in the ecosystem, is part of the key to understand the language of nature and find a balance between our actions and the health of the planet.

We can relate to fungi in many ways, starting with biologically.  We are more closely related to fungi than to…

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Amazon Mycorenewal Project


The Amazon Mycorenewal Project

This is a really interesting project, worth supporting if you can, that is using permaculture and mycelium to clean up crude oil that has been dumped in the Ecuadorian Rainforest. Its the first major bioremediation project of its kind and could become a seed for other such projects around the world. 

I feel bioremediation work can teach us the value of working alongside other members of our ecosystems to heal damage and create better living conditions for all. It is a beautifying process that works through cooperation and not competition.

This is some info copied from the Amazon Mycorenewal project:


Since 2006, AMP has worked in the Sucumbíos region of Northern Ecuador to develop low-cost, effective, and natural systems for addressing severe pollution and health issues related to industrial petroleum extraction. AMP’s work revolves around the emerging science of applied bioremediation. Bioremediation is a pollution mitigation strategy that mimics the decomposition and nutrient cycling processes found in the natural world by utilizing fungi, bacteria, and plants to break down toxic chemicals in polluted aquatic and terrestrial environments.



Off To Devon!

Off To Devon


Tomorrow morning I will be getting on a train to visit a farm in Devon where I may do the next leg of my WWOOFing adventures. Feels like the right place to be for a couple of days and we’ll see what happens from there. I lived in Devon for 2 years when I first left my childhood home and went to university in Exeter. I grew a lot as a person there having many life changing and formative experiences. Long before consciously exploring my own spiritual ideas I would refer to Devon as my ‘Spiritual Home’. I look forward to reconnecting.

I’ve already had the pleasure of meeting one of the hosts at a weekend training event for a group of people, myself included, who will be helping to promote WWOOFing at various events over the year. As it turns out I had actually saved their host page last year so perhaps this has been a while in the making?



Radical Mycology featured on The Survival Podcast

This interview has a lot of great stuff on simple home mushroom cultivation and some of the application of mycelium and mushrooms in permacultural systems.

Interview starts at 8:00 if you want to get straight into it.

The following is copied from The Survival Podcast website:

Peter McCoy is a mushroom cultivation instructor and co-founder of the Radical Mycology project and co-organizer of the Radical Mycology Convergence. The Radical Mycology Convergence is a weekend long event consisting of workshops, presentations, and various mycoremediation installations.

Peter has studied mycology for over 13 years with a focus on the uses of fungi for healing the minds, bodies, and ecosystems of the earth’s inhabitants. He is pursuing a degree in media and mycology from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and is the author of the upcoming book Radical Mycology.

Peter joins us today to discuss mushroom cultivation and answer questions like. What is Radical Mycology? How we can learn about mycology without it being complicated? What is an overview of the mushroom cultivation process?

We continue with more in-depth questions such as, how much does it cost to grow mushrooms? What is one way to grow a ton of mushrooms for about one dollar? What are the nutritional and medicinal benefits of mushrooms? Are there other ways mushrooms can be used in survival strategies? How does mushroom cultivation fit into other aspects of food security such as growing fruits and vegetables?

Peter McCoy of the Radical Mycology project was recently interviewed on The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko. Topics ranged from Radical Mycology, medicinal mushrooms, and a cultivation overview for survival strategies. Click the image below to hear the interview.


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Announcing the 2014 Radical Mycology Convergence!

When I saw this I actually started to think for a moment about making an exception to my decision not to fly. Maybe I could hitch a ride on a wooden sail boat? We’ll see…
A more interesting thought I had would be to try and network with people who’d like to create a UK equivalent.

Date: October 9-13, 2014 (Th-M)
Location: Orangeville, IL (Address given upon registration)
Suggested Donation: $50-300 (No one turned away for lack of funds)


The Radical Mycology Convergence (RMC) is a volunteer-run gathering of mycologists, fungal enthusiasts, activists, and Earth stewards that focuses on teaching the numerous ways that fungi can strengthen the personal, social, and ecological systems of the world. The RMC covers the skills related to working with fungi to create perpetual food systems, grow potent medicines, restore damaged and polluted environments, and organize regenerative and resilient communities. The RMC is a 5-day donation-based event that provides a unique opportunity to build community with like-minded social and environmental justice workers from around the world.

We (the organizers of the RMC) want to make information on fungi and their transformative potential as accessible and tangible as possible without making it overly technical, as has historically been the…

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