Two budding agricultural entrepreneurs are hoping to expand their gourmet mushrooms into a larger environmental remediation venture.
Formed by Gabe Deall, 27, and Travis Custer, 26; San Juan Mycology has been cultivating assorted varieties of mushrooms for the past year.
"It's a niche market that nobody else is doing," Custer said. "We're really the only people in the area cultivating gourmet mushrooms on a commercial level."
Now the duo has hopes of expansion into utilizing fungi to combat against persistent herbicide contamination and land remediation. Their efforts have caught the attention of Ute Mountain Ute tribal officials.
"Thank you for your vision, research and grass-roots effort to increase our capacity in the ecological stewardship," Tomoé Natori told Deall and Custer.
An environmental specialist with the Ute Mountain Ute Department of Environmental Programs, Natori said she is fascinated by the idea of mycoremediation as a means to help clean the environment.
"Cellular level seems to be where the desired remedial exchanged occur, and these are the only promising remediations," she said.
Deal and Custer explained that mycoremediation is the practice of using fungi to degrade and capture pollutants from the environment. They hope their efforts could lead to a pilot project.
"We want to use fungi to forge a stronger, healthier community and environment," Deal said.
A 6 p.m. meeting Thursday, Oct. 3, will be held at the Mancos Public Library.
The event includes a discussion on the risks associated with herbicide persistence and how mushrooms could potentially be used to remove contaminates from soils.
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