The Permaculture Podcast

    Episode 1464: Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation with Tradd Cotter


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    My guest for this episode is Tradd Cotter, a microbiologist and mycologist who, along with his wife Olga, owns and operates Mushroom Mountain near Greenville, South Carolina. He is also the author of the book Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation from Chelsea Green Publishing.

    In this interview we sit down and talk about his book, the science of microbiology and mycology, entrepreneurship, and also touch on the power of mushrooms for remediation. This is a rather candid conversation that includes thoughts about why ideas that can change the world should be open-source and owned by the people. Why treating employees well and paying a good wage for labor matters. Why making a difference can be more important than making money.

    Find out more about Tradd and his work at and at his author page at Chelsea Green. You can also order a copy of his book directly from the publisher.

    If you enjoy this conversation and want to meet Tradd he will be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania on September 12th – 14th, 2014. While there his talks include, “Shrooming Off the Grid,” “Mycoremediation of Home and Farm Waste,” and “Medicinal Mushroom Gardens: Cultivation, garden design, and preparing extracts and tinctures.” I’ll be at this event with Photographer John and look forward to connecting with Tradd while we are there.

    On The Road

    As part of the ongoing journey for me and the podcast, the show is going on the road. In addition to the Mother Earth News Fair, Photographer John and I are going on the Finger Lakes Permaculture Tour on September 6th, 2014. If you are in the area you can still register to go on this self-directed tour of multiple functional and operating permaculture sites. Hosted by the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute, we’ll be there taking plenty of pictures to share with you and report back on the first of the planned annual tours.

    I’ll be going to CHABA-Con, in Bridgeton, New Jersey, on October 11th, 2014 where Lester Brown, of the Earth Policy Institute will be the keynote speaker for a day of lectures, discussions, and tours on how to transform the world we live in.

    The last of the currently planned trips is to Roanoke, Virginia, from October 20th-22nd, interviewing farmers and local permaculture practitioners. I am also delivering a presentation, “Permaculture: Creating a Better World by Design” on 630PM on October 21st, 2014, at the Roanoke Natural Foods Co-Op at Grandin Village. If you’re in the area I’d love to see you there or at any of these other events.

    Review: Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation

    As you can hear in the interview, and like I’ve mentioned appreciating in other reviews, he does this work. He’s not a sage on the stage, but a guide on the side living this and encouraging others to do the same.

    Of all the books I’ve encountered on mushrooms, and I’ve looked at quite a few by names you know, Tradd’s it the most functional useful book on mushroom cultivation, education, and the science of it all that I’ve encountered. Just as I recommend The One-Straw Revolution as the first book to read when starting down a Permaculture Path, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation is the first book I point people who want to get started with learning about mushrooms.

    The book is divided into four sections.

    Part I: The Fundamentals of Mushroom Cultivation contains what you need to know about mushrooms and how to grow them.

    Part 2: Mushrooms for Life: Innovative Applications and Projects Using Fungi covers composting with mushrooms, urban growing, off the grid growing, mushroom products, mushroom infused adult beverages, mushroom marketing, and fungi in the classroom.

    Part 3: Advanced Techniques and Research gives you what you need to know to get started building your own lab, start cultures and spawn generation, store your cultures, advanced cultivation and research strategies, a research update on morel cultivation, and an introduction to mycoremediation.

    Part 4: Meet the Cultivated Mushrooms. A listing of Twenty-Four mushrooms Genus with notes on the difficulty of raising them, general description and ecology, fruitbody development, common strains and ideal fruiting conditions, wild spawn expansion techniques, lab isolation and spawn cultures, preferred fruiting substrates, outdoor cultivation notes, indoor cultivation notes, and also information on harvesting, storing, marketing, the nutritional value and medicinal uses, and uses in mycoremediation.

    Did I say that this book was packed with information? It is, yet all of that, as much as it sounds like, is easy to read, well indexed, and includes just about everything I could ask for in a guide for a home grower, a teacher in the classroom, or someone wanting to get involved in commercial production. It’s that good and worth adding to your library if you have an interest in mushrooms.

    I’m including the final print version of this book that I received from Chelsea Green in the Traveling Permaculture Library project. If you would like to be included in the mailing list for future books as part of that go to for more information.

    I Need Your Support

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    Class Announcements
    Upcoming Edge Alliance’s from Jen Mendez, at

    Sunday, September 7th 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
    David, from Rites of Passage Experience (ROPE) and The Center for the Advancement of Youth, Family, and Community Services for inspiring us to think about the following:

    • When you were growing up, how did you know you were an adult?
    • Did you have a “tornado” experience in your life and after you went through it – it altered the way you saw the world and people saw you?
    • What do you see as milestones in your children’s lives?
    • What do you think a rite of passage is? Can you describe or share an experience in your own life that might fit within this?

    Sunday, September 7th 6:00-7:00 p.m. (EST)
    Collaborate with other educators and parents from Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) on the following questions:

    • What does it mean to be a mathematical person?
    • What have we, the educators, experienced throughout our lives that have helped us develop a playful attitude and curious nature towards mathematics?
    • How can we explore and approach math with children in a way that meets them not only where they are, but also where they are going?

    Sunday, September 21st 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
    Kelly Hogan, an educator from Mother Earth School, and Marissa, a PERMIE KIDs parent, educator, and founder of PermaCognition who recently attended the Advanced Permaculture for Youth and Child Educators program, join us for a lively discussion on the following questions:

    • What sort of knowledge, concepts, or skills are needed to have a solid foundation as a permaculture youth and child educator?
    • What sort of things are integrated into the environment of a permaculture-minded educator?
    • How does our own and our shared story influence us as educators and our children? How can we use storytelling as an educational tool?

    Sunday, September 28th 1:00-2:00 p.m. (EST)
    Lisa Harris and Jerry Mintz from Alternative Education Resource Organization (AERO) for join us to talk about the following questions:

    • What role might discrimination and tolerance play in children’s relationships with themselves and others?
    • How can differences, disabilities, and grouping impact children?
    • How do we start talking about such issues with young children?
    • What are some techniques and tools to help children (and us, the parents and educators) re-design our relationships to address important issues like these head on?

    Get In Touch

    Phone: 717-827-6266

    The Permaculture Podcast with Scott Mann
    P.O. Box 16
    Dauphin, PA 17018

    Twitter: @permaculturecst

    (Episode: tradd)


    4 Pings/Trackbacks

    1. Zach ElfersZach Elfers
      September 4, 2014    

      Awesome talk! And exactly what I needed to hear right now as this is something I will be getting into soon.

    2. […] Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation with Tradd Cotter […]

    3. October 8, 2014    

      […] Mushrooms for Health and Mycoremediation- just wanted to draw attention to an amazing resource for learning about the power of mushrooms to heal our bodies and the soil that sustains us […]

    4. October 16, 2014    

      […] first heard about Tradd Cotter while I was perusing the podcasts on the permaculture podcasts website.  After listening, I was thoroughly intrigued. Then I […]

    5. […] CLICK TO LISTEN […]

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