United States (Olympia)
Paul Stamets is an inspirational mycologist with an entrepreneurial slant. Fungi, he believes, are not merely the humble enliveners of pasta, pizzas and English breakfasts, but have the potential to solve a range of environmental problems – his TED talk was titled ‘6 Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World’.
Stamets has filed 22 patents for mushroom-related technologies, including pesticidal fungi that trick insects into eating them and mushrooms that can break down the neurotoxins used in nerve gas. He sees the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest – where he carries out much of his research – as a resource of incalculable value and he spends much of his time preserving, protecting, and cloning as many ancestral strains of mushrooms as possible from these pristine woodlands. Revenues generated from sales of growing kits, body and skin care products and other products on Fungi Perfecti is returned to sponsor further research.
Chris Moss has been writing on travel, tech, sex, food, art and books for nearly two decades. He co-founded street paper Hecho en Buenos Aires, writes regularly for the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers, and is now writing a thriller set in Andalusia.
Paul Stamets, Founder