Fungi Perfecti founder and president Paul Stamets has been a dedicated mycologist for over 40 years. Over this time, he has discovered and coauthored several new species of mushrooms, and pioneered countless techniques in the field of mushroom cultivation. He received the 1998 “Bioneers Award” from The Collective Heritage Institute, and the 1999 “Founder of a New Northwest Award” from the Pacific Rim Association of Resource Conservation and Development Councils. In 2008, Paul received the National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s Green-Novator and the Argosy Foundation’s E-chievement Awards. He was also named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” in their November–December 2008 issue. In February 2010, Paul received the President’s Award from the Society for Ecological Restoration: Northwest Chapter, in recognition of his contributions to Habitat Restoration. In January of 2014, Paul received the highly acclaimed NAMA (North American Mycological Association) award for expanding the field of mycology for both amateurs and professionals. In 2014, Paul was chosen to be an “Invention Ambassador” by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the largest and most prestigious scientific organization in the world. In 2015 he was the first-ever recipient of the Mycological Society of America’s Gordon and Tina Wasson Award.
He has written six books on mushroom cultivation, use and identification; his books Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms and The Mushroom Cultivator (coauthor) have long been hailed as the definitive texts of mushroom cultivation. Other works by Paul Stamets include Psilocybe Mushrooms and Their Allies (out of print), Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World, MycoMedicinals®: an Informational Treatise on Mushrooms, and many articles and scholarly papers. His newest book isMycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save The World.
Paul sees the ancient Old Growth forests of the Pacific Northwest as a resource of incalculable value, especially in terms of its fungal genome. A dedicated hiker and explorer, his passion is to preserve, protect, and clone as many ancestral strains of mushrooms as possible from this pristine woodlands. Much of the financial resources generated from sales of goods from Fungi Perfecti are returned to sponsor such research.
The time to act is now. Waiting for science and society to wake up to the importance of these ancient Old Growth fungi is perilously slow and narrow in vision. The meager attempts thus far may be too little, too late. Unless we collectively pool our resources, the mushroom genome will become increasingly threatened, and therefore, our very existence may be at stake. The loss of these keystone organisms should be an ecological call-to-arms for all concerned about our children’s future and the future of this planet.
“The rainforests of the Pacific Northwest may harbor mushroom species with profound medicinal properties. At the current rates of extinctions, this last refuge of the mushroom genome should be at the top of the list of priorities for mycologists, environmentalists and government. If I can help advance this knowledge, I will have done my part to protect life on this planet. And yet, if it were not for our customer’s contributions, with our limited finances, this goal could not be achieved.”