Pick up free mushroom fruiting blocks + learn what to do with them!

Block pickup: Saturday July 9th, 11-3pm
Cultivation lecture: Sunday July 10th, 5-7pm on Zoom

Louis, Craig and Ciara

The New York Mycological Society has partnered with Smallhold for a very special giveaway for our members. Smallhold is not only New York’s preeminent urban mushroom farm, they also create innovative systems that help businesses and restaurants all over the country grow mushrooms.

Smallhold currently does not have the capacity or space to second-flush their blocks, so they compost the substrate blocks after only one flush. It is however quite easy to get a second and even third flush of mushrooms from them. Spent mushroom blocks can also be used as spawn, and broken up and mixed with more substrate to cultivate more mushrooms. They can also be used towards compost, gardening, and myco-remediation projects.

On Saturday July 9, from 11-3pm Smallhold will be giving away these blocks to NYMS members free of charge! Blue oyster and lion’s mane mushroom blocks will be available. All that we require is for members to pre-register using this form.

Please submit the registration form by Saturday, July 2nd.

The giveaway will happen at Smallhold’s headquarters at 630 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206, right by the Flushing Avenue subway stop.

Each block weighs around five pounds and is quite bulky. If you are planning to take them home by public transit, plan to bring a large reusable or IKEA-type bag.

How can I find out more about fruiting these blocks or using them for other applications?

We’ve scheduled a Zoom lecture with three panel presentations by urban mushroom cultivation experts the following day, Sunday, July 10th, from 5-7pm. The program will provide an introduction on how to handle and to use the blocks towards various applications, including block, bed, and log cultivation, as well as, compost and soil building. The program will also be a great primer for those who want to inoculate their outdoor spaces and community gardens with mushrooms.

The link to this lecture is

Growing your own fungi is a wonderful way to better understand fungi – the conditions they need to fruit and their magical abilities to transform substrates. We highly encourage our members to take advantage of this special offer and to watch these great lecturers!

More information on the panelists:

Louis Vassar Semanchik/Smallhold has been cultivating mushrooms for a decade, growing a variety of wood- and compost-loving mushrooms, both outside in the garden and indoors using DIY methods, as well as, in professionally-designed indoor automated fruiting chambers. He is also well versed in non-sterile and sterile techniques for starting and maintaining mycelium cultures. He is a homegrown New Yorker, who currently lives in Austin, TX, and heads Research and Development at Smallhold, a distributed network of indoor specialty mushroom farms in NY, TX, and LA.

Craig M. Trester/Harlem Grown is an educator and citizen scientist who utilizes principles of biomimicry and traditional ecological knowledge through applied mycology to develop regenerative solutions for many of the environmental challenges that impact our world. Through educational outreach he has sought to provide people with the knowledge and resources to recognize and practically apply the benefits that fungi have to offer our health, environment, and society. Craig believes novel approaches for bioremediation, carbon sequestration, and regenerative agriculture can be made a reality, through research of fungi and soil biology, diligent observation of our surroundings and intentional application of beneficial microorganisms.

Ciara Sidell/Randall’s Island Park Alliance Urban Farm is a lifelong New Yorker, committed to growing food in educational spaces in NYC. Ciara has farmed at the Queens County Farm Museum, taught with City Growers on Brooklyn Grange’s rooftop farms, managed Harlem Grown’s network of growing spaces, and currently manages the Randall’s Island Park Alliance Urban Farm — an educational farm, designed completely with teaching and learning in mind. Ciara is endlessly interested in engaging folks in learning and discussion around the intersections of farming, justice, community, and the urban landscape. Recently, she completed Cornell Small Farm Program’s Community Mushroom Educator Training and has been incorporating mushroom cultivation into the farm on Randall’s Island. Outside of farming, she enjoys non-competitive team sports, and gets her adrenaline fix from biking on city streets.


Sneha Ganguly, NYMS Community Outreach Coordinator + Sigrid Jakob, NYMS President