“I am very outspoken about my environmental activism and concern for the planet. My expertise is in cultivating fungi and looking for exciting new applications that everyone can use on a small scale to contribute to the whole,” Tradd Cotter

Brooding headlines don’t change the fact that hope for the planet springs eternal – from the ground. In the form of mycelium and their fruit, mushrooms. Just ask winning entrepreneur Tradd Cotter, a speaker at the 31st annual Telluride Mushroom Festival, Thursday, August 16 – Sunday, August 19, 2012, billed as “nation’s oldest mycological conference exploring all things fungal & entheogenic.”

Tradd is rad. In 2011, at 38 years old, he went back to school and won Clemson University’s “Student Entrepreneur of the Year.” This March, he and his wife Olga placed second at the Atlantic Coast Conference’s “Startup Madness” competition, beating out students from undergraduate and graduate schools across the country. Theirs was the only agricultural product.

Building off their existing cultivation business in which one Petri dish sample is used to produce up to 1 million pounds of fungi, the couple created Mushroom Mountain to explore how different mushrooms can be used in various industries. Tradd and Olga are currently researching a fungus that may put a dent in the chemical pesticide industry because it acts as a bio-pesticide to fire ants.

Others of their fungal strains have been proven to have anti-viral or anti-bacterial properties. Some have been integrated into micro-brewed beer, offered for the first time ever at Shroomfest 2012.

The immune-boosting Red Ale, produced in a joint venture by Telluride’s Smuggler Joe’s Brewery and Mushroom Mountain (in South Carolina), the “Mycobrew” is made with Turkey Tail, Reishi and Birch Polypore, fungi with well-documented health benefits.

Tradd Cotter has been tissue-culturing, collecting native fungi in the Southeast, and cultivating both commercially and experimentally for 20 years. He started Mushroom Mountain in 1996. About eight years ago, Tradd began expanding into other areas such as myco-remediation, fungal-based pesticides, and other products that could help protect against environmental pollution and overcrowding pressure. His big interest is in low-tech/no-tech cultivation strategies so anyone can grow mushrooms on just about anything, anywhere in the world.

Tradd is now working on two patents for “Mycorubber” and environmentally friendly “Mushroom Ink”. He is also collaborating on oil remediating projects abroad.

Tradd is signed with Chelsea Green Publishing for an early 2013 release of “Organic Mushroom Cultivation and Mycoremediation for Everyone,” a hands-on how-to guide for beginner to advanced, with supplemental chapters on everything from Mycobrew formulas to lesson plans for students.

Could Tradd Cotter be the new Paul Stamets, the visionary emissary of the Kingdom of Fungi and a Shroomfest regular? Attend his lectures and find out.

Tradd’s schedule is as follows:

Mycoremediation for Everyone, Thursday, 1:30-2:45 p.m., Palm Theater
Mycobrewery , With TJ Daly, Thursday, 6 p.m., Smuggler Joes Brewpub
Shroomin’ Off the Grid, Friday, 9 – 10:15 a.m., Swede Finn Hall

For further information, click the “play” button and listen to our chat.

1 Comment
  • Fred
    Posted at 19:14h, 15 August

    Is “Schroom” Telluride jargon for Mushroom (like our Mushroom Festval))? Or does it refer to a lake and community in the Adirondacks, whose name is Schroomlake (or something like it)?