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Mushroom growing class offered

KALAMAZOO, MI -- Area gardeners, farmers and mushroom lovers are invited to take a new mushroom cultivation class at Kalamazoo Valley’s Food Innovation Center. Mushroom Cultivation: Level 1 is a non-credit course offered by Kalamazoo Valley Community College on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 12 to May 31.

Participants will explore mushroom cultivation in different growing environments, indoor and out, maintained at the FIC urban farm. “The course will ready the myco-curious for home production of a variety of gourmet mushroom species,” said instructor Lee Arbogast. “The course is also designed to ready farmers to add mushrooms to their marketable offerings.”

Participants will experience a range of discussion and actions crafted to understand basic mushroom biology, good lab and grow room practices, identification of all the common domestic edibles and a working knowledge of how to fit mushroom production into our lives and farms.

“Weekly hands-on learning will help  overcomehelp overcome the intimidation many of us have with fungi (even the friendly ones),” Arbogast said. “At the end of the course, students will be able to begin home growing oyster, shiitake, maitake, lionsmane, reishi, button mushrooms and be on their way to trying anything mycelial.”

Arbogast is a Live Edge Grower and FIC instructor who has integrated mushroom cultivation into his organic farm ecology. He is backed by the resources and institutional wisdom of the staff, library and young farm that is the Food Innovation Center. This winter, mycoculture was added to the winter crops curriculum bringing some mystery and excitement to the culinary students taking the class. Ongoing student projects will provide demonstration mushroom cultivation practices in fruit from the start of the course. No waiting to see how it all turns out!

Students will take home successfully incubated projects to fruit in their home environments. Most of the mushrooms grown in class will be available to sample and try out on mycoskeptics at home. This course is also designed as a primer to becoming a certified Michigan Mushroom Identifier and will prepare the student on the basics of biology and identification.

The Food Innovation Center is located at 224 E. Crosstown Parkway, Kalamazoo, MI.

There is a $140 fee for the course, which includes materials. To register, go to