Co-Curricular: Growing Edible Mushrooms (GEM)

A look inside the Spring 2022-23 Growing Edible Mushrooms (GEM) co-curricular:

"The Growing Edible Mushrooms (GEM) Co-curricular was started in fall 2021 during the pandemic to grow joy, social connection, capacity for flourishing (sustainability), and mushrooms on campus." - Ben Linder, faculty sponsor.

Description: Grow your own mushrooms like oysters, lion's mane, and shiitake! Participants learned the basics of growing edible mushrooms this spring, from working with liquid cultures to myceliating substrates to pinning and fruiting.

Participants in the co-curricular were able to explore sharing their harvest, building community, and becoming self-sustaining. Students with an interest in completing research on fungi that are also new to cultivation are encouraged to enroll to learn the skills involved. Open to students, alums, staff, and faculty.

A metal shelf unit full of bagged Lion’s Mane mushrooms.

A metal shelf unit full of bagged Lion’s Mane mushrooms gathered during the Spring 2022-23 Growing Edible mushrooms (GEM) co-curricular. Photo by Mira Chew '26.

"We've loved every minute together, from nerding-out on mushroom tek, to being in awe of a giant pink oyster flush, to sharing the harvest," adds Linder. 

Faculty/Staff Sponsor(s): Ben Linder, Joanne Pratt, Susan Mihailidis, Whitney Lohmeyer

Co-Curriculars at Olin are opportunities to explore non-credit activities combining fun and intellectual awareness, they are typically scheduled for a limited time (e.g., on semester), are led by staff or faculty members or by a student working in concert with faculty/staff member, and are funded by Student Affairs and Resources.

They differ from curricular offerings in that they are not graded and attendance is not strictly enforced. They differ from extra-curricular activities in that they have an intellectual component, faculty/staff leadership and limited lifespan.

Students can register for co-curricular offerings during the class registration process.

View the Spring 2022-23 Co-Curricular offerings

Students show a guest speaker to the classroom a large Lion's Mane mushroom.

Phillip Post '25, a participant in the Spring 2022-23 Co-Curricular Growing Edible Mushrooms (GEM), shows guest speaker Kelsey Sakimoto some of the group's Lion’s Mane. Photo by Mira Chew '26.