- Commitment to Diversity in Mycology
Commitment to Diversity in Mycology
Without much effort, it is easy to see that the community of mushroom cultivators in the US is predominantly white. North Spore is a white-owned business with a predominantly white crew selling to a predominantly white clientele. There is a clear yet abhorrent reason for this reality. Systemic racism is deeply and perniciously intertwined into food, agriculture, and land / capital access in the United States. The food and farming systems in the US were and continue to be built on the exploitation, labor, and slavery of Black and Brown people.
Mushroom cultivation can be revolutionary and fits neatly in a decentralized equitable food economy. Waste materials and by-products can be turned into valuable food. Mushrooms have the potential to replace factory-farmed proteins in our diets, help prevent illness, and expand our minds. Mushrooms can be cultivated regardless of land ownership, access to community gardens, or sunny backyards. They can be restorative to our bodies and ecosystems.
With this statement in mind, it is well within North Spore's mission to facilitate and fund opportunities for Black people, People of Color, Indigenous People, and other marginalized communities to learn about and access resources to grow mushrooms to provide for their communities, grow food for their families, or generate income. Focusing now on the "all" in our mission will facilitate the "innovation" and "collaboration" in the latter part of our statement. It can be part of North Spore's role in creating a future that is more just and equitable.
North Spore will move forward with the following five actionable steps:
- We will donate resources and spawn to organizations like Soul Fire Farm, Cultivating Community, and Nuestras Raices and other Black, POC, or marginalized community-led farming organizations. Soul Fire Farm has a three-tiered mission to provide justice and land access for POC, practices and teaches regenerative farming, and provides space for healing from oppression and disconnection from the land and maintains a list of Black-led farming organizations.
- Facilitate an annual grant for emerging and established Black and Brown voices in mycology, regenerative agriculture, and mushroom cultivation. This grant will help individuals set up mushroom laboratories, build businesses, or purchase equipment helping to dismantle inequities in access to capital.
- North Spore will update its handbook and company policies to be anti-racist. We will review our hiring processes and have direct outreach to marginalized communities when we are in the hiring process.
- We will continue to elevate Black and Brown voices and provide a platform for mushroom innovators and growers to access larger audiences.
- We will donate funds to Presente! Maine to support our local food security.