Once we think of mushrooms and the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, the very first thing which traditionally comes to mind is María Sabina, Huautla de Jiménez and hallucinogenic “magic” mushrooms. But slowly that’s all changing consequently of the groundbreaking work of Josefina Jiménez and Johann Mathieu in mycology, through their company, Mico-lógica.
Situated in the village of Benito Juárez, positioned in Oaxaca’s Ixtlán district (more commonly referred to as the Sierra Norte, the state’s main ecotourism region), Mico-lógica’s mission is threefold: to teach both Mexicans and visitors to the country in the low-cost cultivation of a variety of mushroom species; to educate concerning the medicinal, nutritional and environmental (sustainable) value of mushrooms; and to conduct ongoing research regarding optimum climatic regions and the diversity of substrata for mushroom culture.
The French-born Mathieu moved to Mexico, and in fact to Huautla de Jiménez, in 2005. “Yes, coming all how you can Mexico from France to pursue my curiosity about mushrooms may seem like quite a distance traveling,” Mathieu explained in a current interview in Oaxaca. “But there really wasn’t a lot of a chance to conduct studies and grow a company in Western Europe,” he continues, “since reverence for mushrooms have been all but completely eradicated by The Church on the course of centuries; and I found that Mexico still maintains a respect and appreciation for the medicinal and nutritional value of hongos. Mexico is definately not mycophobic.”
Huautla de Jiménez is higher than a five hour drive from the closest metropolitan center. Accordingly, Mathieu eventually seen that residing in Huautla, while holding an historic allure and being in a geographic region conducive to working together with mushrooms, would hinder his efforts to grow a company and cultivate widespread curiosity about researching fungi. Mathieu became cognizant of the burgeoning standing of Oaxaca’s ecotourism communities of the Sierra Norte, and indeed the Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres (regional wild mushroom festival), held annually in Cuahimoloyas.
Mathieu met Josefina Jiménez at the summertime weekend mushroom event. Jiménez had moved to Oaxaca from hometown Mexico City in 2002. Both shared similar interests; tshirt Jiménez had studied agronomy, and for near to a decade have been working together with sustainable agriculture projects in rural farming communities in the Huasteca Potosina region of San Luis Potosí, the mountains of Guerrero and the coast of Chiapas. Mathieu and Jiménez became business, and then life partners in Benito Juárez.
Mathieu and Jiménez are concentrating on three mushroom species inside their hands-on seminars; oyster (seta), shitake and reishi. Their one-day workshops are for oyster mushrooms, and two-day clinics for the latter two species of fungus. “With reishi, and to an inferior extent shitake, we’re also teaching a reasonable bit concerning the medicinal uses of mushrooms, so more hours is necessary,” says Mathieu, “and with oyster mushrooms it’s predominantly [but not exclusively] a program on cultivation.”
While training seminars are actually only given in Benito Juárez, Mathieu and Jiménez intend to expand operations to include the central valleys and coastal regions of Oaxaca. The thing is to truly have a network of producers growing different mushrooms which are optimally suited to cultivation on the basis of the particular microclimate. You will find about 70 sub-species of oyster mushrooms, and thus as a species, the adaptability of the oyster mushroom to different climatic regions is remarkable. “The oyster may be grown in numerous different substrata, and that’s what we’re tinkering with at this time,” he elucidates. The oyster mushroom can thrive when grown on products which may otherwise be waste, such as for example discard from cultivating beans, sugar cane, agave (including the fibrous waste produced in mezcal distillation), peas, the normal river reed referred to as carriso, sawdust, and the list goes on. Agricultural waste which might otherwise be left to rot or be burned, each with adverse environmental implications, can form substrata for mushroom cultivation. It ought to be noted, though trite, that mushroom cultivation is a very sustainable, green industry. Within the last a long period Mexico has in fact been at the fore in many regions of sustainable industry.
Mathieu exemplifies how mushrooms can serve an arguably even greater environmental good:
“They could hold as much as thirty thousand times their mass, having implications for inhibiting erosion. They’ve been used to wash up oil spills through absorption and thus are an essential vehicle for habitat restoration. Research has been done with mushrooms in the battle against carpenter ant destruction; it’s been suggested that the usage of fungi gets the potential to fully revamp the pesticide industry in a eco-friendly way. You will find literally countless other eco-friendly applications for mushroom use, and in each case the mushroom remains an edible by-product. Have a look at the Paul Stamets YouTube lecture, 6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save The World.”
Mathieu and Jiménez can often be found selling their products on weekends in the organic markets in Oaxaca. They’re both significantly more than happy to go over the nutritional value of these products which range from naturally their fresh mushrooms, but additionally as preserves, marinated with either chipotle and nopal or jalapeño and cauliflower. The mushroom’s vitamin B12 cannot be present in fruits or vegetables, and accordingly a diet including fungi is extremely important for vegetarians who cannot get B12, frequently within meats. Mushrooms can simply be a replacement for meats, with the bonus they are not laden up with antibiotics and hormones often present in industrially processed meat products.
Mico-lógica also sell teas and extracts made from different mushroom species, each formulated as whether nutritional supplement, or for their medicinal properties. While neither Mathieu nor Jiménez gets the pharmacological background to prescribe mycological treatment for serious ailments, Mathieu’s own research points to the medicinal usage of mushrooms dating from pre-history, to the present. He notes properties of mushrooms which will help restore the immunity system, and thus the usage of fungi as a complement in the treating cancer and AIDS, and their utility in controlling diabetes and treating high cholesterol.