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Food Studies Program

Victory Garden @ Spelman College

Exciting Happenings in the Garden

Blue Oyster Mushroom Workshop | Nov. 15, 2022


Due to inclement weather, the mushroom cultivation workshop and cooking demonstration (with tasting!) will be held indoors in the Camille Olivia Hanks Cosby, Ed.D., Academic Center, room 217, from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 
Please come and learn about how mushrooms can contribute to health, medicine and food sovereignty. We will learn the basics of oyster mushroom cultivation and cooking!  All are welcome. 
Blue Oyster Workshop at Spelman College

Victory in the Garden

Spelman’s Victory Garden prioritizes uplifting diasporic and Indigenous narratives, Black agrarianism, and Black women. The garden centers plants that help reconnect us to diasporic foodways of the past, present and future. We will be inoculating logs so that we can grow the world's most cultivated oyster, the oyster mushroom in our historic and organic garden tucked behind Giles.

Our Victory Garden has organically grown into the physical anchor of Spelman’s Food Studies Program. To date, over 80 different edible and medicinal crops have been grown within the space. In addition to our engaged Food Scholar community, interested alum, faculty, and staff volunteers, social justice scholars, and Spelman’s Student Environmental Taskforce have also taken interest in the program and our growing garden. During the 2021-2022 school year, over 60 students participated in planting edible and pollinator-friendly plantings and harvesting events.

Teaching Students How to Co-Design Greenspaces

Students are continuously consulted in the co-design of this greenspace and selected plant material. The on-campus garden offers students a microsite to explore, test, and implement transdisciplinary responses to local and global food challenges such as, but not limited to,  food sovereignty, anti-racist agricultural practices, and cultural preservation.

Blue Oysters in the Victory Garden at Spelman

Why Mushrooms? Why Now? 

The Victory Garden team already grows shiitake mushrooms on logs, but they are excited to start growing Blue Dolphin™ mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). The workshop on Nov. 15 is co-hosted by Whitney D. Barr, MLA, PMP, C'2013, program and garden manager; and James Daria, Ph.D., co-director of Spelman's Food Studies Program -- in partnership with his course, "Food and Culture." Food and Culture is the nexus course that all Food Studies minors take.

During the workshop, participants will inoculate the logs and have a tasting of oyster mushrooms. Food Studies Scholars have helped design the flier, offered recipe ideas, and will be actively involved throughout the workshop. When Dr. Daria and Barr met earlier in the semester, Barr told him how much I value integrating food studies courses into the garden and this led us to mushrooms.

Mushrooms are low maintenance and Spelman has plenty of space for them below the magnolia tree canopy in the rear of Giles. We have enjoyed growing shiitakes for students to take home and enjoy. We want to expand and increase our harvest alongside our Spelman community. 

Large Blue Quote LeftBeyond the gates of Spelman, we are seeing a massive embrace of mushrooms, particularly amongst Black vegans and plant-based enthusiasts. Some students are interested in becoming food entrepreneurs. Some are looking to gain new cooking skills as young adults living away from home for the first time. Some are just seeking community outdoors since COVID. No matter their reason, we are excited and grateful to grow the garden together and to offer these place-based experiences for future food system leaders, " -- Whitney Barr

DOWNLOADS: Expand Your Understanding

Key Blue Mushroom Workshop Readings

"I hope these readings bring in more diverse voices in the mushroom worldLarge Blue Quote Right as well as point to our wrapping up the semester by speaking on how to change the world through food, agriculture, and conviviality. - Dr. Daria

More About Spelman's Food Studies Program

Spelman’s Food Studies program engages students in an innovative exploration of food interdisciplinarity and centers its connectivity to the African Diaspora, intersectionality, and food science. Spelman College's Food Studies Program, the first interdisciplinary food studies program at an Historically Black College and University, engages students in an innovative exploration of food interdisciplinarity and centers its connectivity to the African Diaspora, intersectionality, and food science. It is our hope that our food scholars will find the needed community, scholarship, and professional opportunities through the program to approach some of these pressing global and local food challenges. 


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