First the bad news:
I attended a mushroom cultivation course a year or so ago (with the pole shift in mind) and I can tell you that in post pole shift conditions, raising mushrooms will be pretty difficult. You need an absolutely sterile "clean room" and a scientific transfer table (with a hepa filter and fan for starters to create tissue cultures as well as agar medium, scalpels, petri dishes, pressure cooker etc. You need grain and a means of sterilizing it to then grow your tissue culture in, to create spawn, and then you need a substrate (straw or saw dust etc.) to grow the spawn you have created (and a means of initially sterilizing the substrate), to produce the mushrooms. I'm not saying this is impossible, but even if you have the equipment and it made it though the shift, you need a lot of stuff like grain and chemicals (not to mention power) that once you use up your supply, your out of business. Growing them also requires temperature and humidity control that varies at different stages, which could be difficult. By the way it is a misconception that mushrooms are grown in the dark. There are times to stimulate the mushroom to create fruiting bodies by exposure to light, although we can still consider it a low light plant (actually it is not a plant and is scientifically recognized as its own category, being made of chitin not cellulose like plants).
Now the good news:
Mushrooms are said to thrive on "catastrophia", and I would say we have some pretty good catastrophia headed our way. They will love the dead trees and plants and they love the rain (there is a good pocket guide called All that the Rain Promises and More). So there are two things I suggest you can do to prepare.
- Get some good books to identify wild mushrooms as there should be lots and follow the rules for eating them... i.e. if in doubt, throw it out, it could mean your life.
- You can grow your own outdoor mushroom patches from kits (by mail from Fungi Perfecti in Olympia Washington). These kits contain the spawn and detailed instructions on how to "plant" them (substrate etc.), and once established can produce mushrooms for a couple of years or more and may also spread to other areas. The kits were only $24 +- the last time I checked and you can get "Garden Giant", Morel, Maitake and Shaggy Mane. I plan to get one of each at least.
An important thing to remember about mushrooms is that while they can contain various vitamins, minerals, medicinal
properties, protein, fat, ash, fiber etc., they must be cooked because the cell walls of chitin (the same stuff that insects
exoskeletons are made of) are much stronger than cellulose cell walls in plants. If you don't cook/steam them, you might as
well be eating cardboard, for all the nutrients you'll get out of them.
Offered by Kraige.