Monday, September 21, 2015

Sustaining Spirit (feat. Social Yoga and the Sunshine Coast Community Forest)

This weekend was amazing. Social Yoga invited me to lead a workshop on the Sunshine Coast the day before my 30th birthday and the forest had many gifts for us. 

Beautiful cluster of Lepiota Rachodes;
Very typically situated at the edge of the forest in sunflecks
After doing some research, I led the group into the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) to discuss stewardship and holistic observation, and to explain why going into the Community Forest is a important thing to do consciously.

Adolescent Deer Skull;
consumed either by bear, coyotes, or mountain lion?
 Not only is this space supposed to be stewarded and sustainably harvested by timber companies, it is also utilized and looked after by the shishalh people for food, medicine, ceremony, and traditions that date back to since forever. Nature bros buzz around on ATVs, coyotes stalk prey in packs, mountain cats leap onto cedar posts from high ground and drag their nails down the length of them, and wildcrafters stumble in awe and amazement into bear dens. 

Smelling Sparassis Crispa before we gratefully harvested it

Without fail, whenever I decide to end a foray, whether with a group or just a friend, and take 'stock' of what we have harvested, something magical appears like the cherry on a sundae. I say this with utmost confidence and wonder. We could actually smell this cauliflower fungus when we first walked into this patch of forest from 25 metres away. It weighed close to 3 pounds.

Camille, probably describing the flavour palette of this fungus
like a mushroom sommelier
Forests are host to many things beyond what the mainstream culture classifies as "nature" and by recognizing this, we may start to understand their value beyond timber. 

Our group of social yogis and our bounty
We stopped along the way home to observe the Culturally Modified Trees in the cedar groves and discussed forest conservation, touching lightly on the Dakota Bowl Bear Sanctuary, which is being occupied by folks concerned about how the SCCF is being managed. 

Amazed at our humongous gift! 
Back at the incredible lodge, we revelled in our finds and practiced doing mushroom spore prints and making tinctures out of oregon grape, turkey tail, and usnea. 

The rest of the weekend was filled with other awesome workshops such as calligraphy, yoga, sourdough bread-making, and DIY self-care. If this kind of retreat is something that interests you, say and Anita will let you know what other fun things she's got planned. 

If you're interested in MuseumEats wildcrafting (what I call "sustainable foraging") workshops, email us at

Waving from beneath boughs of cedar,

Instagram: @agaricusaugustus

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