Mushrooms, such as these maitake, have long been utilized as medicine (and food) by forest savvy folk. However, in the last decade, the exploration of fungi has made the leap from mushroom forays to the medical labs and impressive immunoregulation properties have been identified. Couple meaningful research with the fact many strains are quite delicious and you've got yourself a fulfilling and eco-friendly way to support health.
Kevin Hovey (www.kevinhoveygardens.com) is a fellow trying to bring more understanding about our various fungal friends to Chicago.
Kevin has launched a Kickstarter project which aims to fund the first accessible mycology lab in Chicago. In the lab he can propagate varieties of edible, medicinal and functional mushrooms (the kind that can help break down compost, plastic or absorb soil toxins). The lab will serve as an educational resource for research, experiments and demonstrations. Not to mention, a place to grow sustainable protein rich foods - mushrooms - in the dense city.
He has set up a number of donation levels with great rewards for participating. The coolest of which, in my opinion, is a log or block which you can keep in your kitchen that will fruit with delicious exotic edible mushrooms for many months.
Go on over to his website (above) or his Kickstarter (Mushroom Lab for Chicago) and consider tossing a few bucks towards the project. Or, look at his class schedule to learn more about permaculture, sustainable design or gardening.