Think with Mushrooms
Fair-y Circles is a cultural and agro-ecological action program that supports the self-organization of civil mycologists to stimulate the movements of food sovereignty, environmental restoration and resilience development of rural communities. It provides practical knowledge of working with mushrooms (local food production, habitat restoration, eco-architecture) and mentoring for community and network development. It aims at mobilizing diverse groups on a regional (Central and East Europe) level by strengthening the leadership and solidarity capacities primarily of women and other vulnerable groups.
We spoke virtually with Csilla Hódi from Fair-y Circles on how the idea behind the project came to fruition and the different aspects of the project. When it came to how the idea for the project started Csilla explains “I was planning this community mycology lab for three years, and during this moment of crisis I said to myself ‘Ok, now I have to start it somehow.’ The idea from this project came from the needs that I observed that we have to be more empathetic with our natural environment but also with those who are from vulnerable groups.
This project Fair-y Circles is, on the one hand, a way of thinking with mushrooms, by practising the valuations of ‘waste’, the decomposition of unbearable structures, the acknowledgement of loss and the adaptation to change. It also delivers the knowledge of mycology (the scientific study of fungi) to a bigger audience.
On the other hand, it is about addressing urgent issues of gender inequality, poverty, lack of food sovereignty, increasing disparity between populations with and without access to information and education, the overexploitation of natural resources and the disappearance of complex habitats and local knowledge. Fair-y Circles aims to mobilize diverse groups on a regional level by strengthening the leadership and solidarity capacities of vulnerable groups. The project will offer practical experience of working with mushrooms (for local food production, habitat restoration and eco-architecture) and mentoring for community and network development.”
What will Fair-y Circles do?
Fair-y Circles will support DIY, citizen mycology and fungal ecology contrary to industrial mushroom farming or foraging and it promotes eco-friendly, low cost, permacultural designs. In the first half of the program, the mobile lab facility will be organized, educational materials and tools will be developed, partnerships will be strengthened, and local action research groups will be started. At the end of the first year, two test community mushroom farms in two communes will be set up. The second half of the program will be scheduled according to the findings of the local action research group.
“The structure of the project will be open research as well as developing a social community through a mobile mushroom laboratory that will go around to meet people and share knowledge physically,” explains Csilla.
Fair-y Circles and European public space
When it comes to the future of European public space, Csilla states “In this project, there is a romantic aspect of returning to the land and working with food and agriculture and in the long term it goes hand in hand with working towards changing the legal conditions of agricultural work. At the moment, this project is aiming at mobilizing vulnerable communities, and the project wants to develop and share some practical knowledge on how to work with mushrooms for practical reasons how to survive. However, this is not enough to change on a bigger scale which is why this project has to connect with partners on various levels.”
Scroll through the image gallery below for more info on Fair-y Circles:
Grant awarded: €15,000