Can mushrooms solve our environmental problems?

You know
Jerry Seinfeld standing bit
90s where he wonders in disbelief how it was discovered that horses could be used to make glue? “Who saw this potential? Are you working in a paper mill and a horse goes by… “Hey, wait a minute – I think he might be glue!

This same wonder can be applied to discovering the varied uses of mycelium, the vegetative body of mushrooms, used to cure all sorts of societal ills and create new kinds of products. In the May issue, editor Jennifer Fergesen reports on the mycelium’s many uses, including textiles, footwear, paper, and meat substitutes, to name a few.

As hilarious as it would be for someone to be grabbed with an “aha!” moment while hiking through a forest strewn with mushrooms, the obvious and more impressive truth is that this growing industry requires the ingenuity of researchers, the passion of startups, and the vision and audacity of enterprising companies. They’re all in on it, and they’re all here in this incredibly innovative region, where people have the nerve to turn a mushroom into a fucking hot dog.

Here is the latest overview of the Capital Region:

A manager asks Evil HR Lady what she should say to an employee who socializes with another manager with a questionable dating history; an Elk Grove-based startup raises funds and wins awards for its digital platform that offers incentives to customer service employees; the mycelium solves environmental problems and turns into food products; the president of a government affairs firm shares her tips for making diversity your company’s greatest strength; we cycle off the beaten path to discover the history behind Davis’ oldest family bike shops; and the California Capital International Documentary Film Festival comes to Rancho Cordova with 60 films over three days.

Recommendations from our editors:

In this section, we editors share what we read, listen to, watch or even eat. Here’s what we’re consuming this week:

vanessa: We had a friend from Portland with us last week, so naturally we took her to all of our favorite bars and restaurants in town. After a week of indulgence (cheeses at Franquette, martinis at The Roost, etc.), we needed some vegetables, so on the last day we went to Bambi Vegan Tacos. I interviewed the owners for the Taste story in this month’s issue and was impressed to learn that they make absolutely everything at home rather than buying pre-made meat alternatives like some vegan restaurants. Highly recommend the fajita salad!

Judy: Are you someone like me, who runs around the office or home closing the rings on your iWatch or getting the satisfying buzz on your wrist getting your hourly steps from your Fitbit? If yes, then Analytical chronicle of FiveThirtyEight is for you.

Jennifer: I’m a huge fan of BBC cinematic radio drama, and last week BBC 4 rebroadcast Agatha Christie’s excellent 1998 production”Evil under the suna Hercule Poirot mystery set in a remote hotel in Devon. The setting is based on the actual Burgh Island Hotel, an Art Deco gem that also served as the backdrop for Christie’s ‘And Then They Were None’, and I would love to visit it someday!

Tips

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And if you didn’t understand it above, the California Capital International Documentary Film Festival is coming to Rancho Cordova the weekend of June 10! The event will feature an exciting lineup of film selections with special guests, panels and Q&As, and will be the premier documentary film festival in the Sacramento area. Comstock is a sponsor.