Just a Girl in Love With Mushrooms

I am just a girl in love with mushrooms. Well, love may be a strong word, but anything “earthy” brings joy to my soul; mushrooms are my recent fascination. Strangely enough, my interest was sparked by the depiction of animated mushrooms in an anime called “Little Witch Academia.” If you are not familiar with the series, it is a whimsical story of a young girl who goes to a witch academy to live out her dream of being just like her role model, the infamous Chariot. One of her friends, Sucy is a fellow witch who is the resident emo/goth character, which immediately makes her my favorite. From the first episode, Sucy has a unique obsession with mushrooms and, my enjoyment of her character led me to see mushrooms as something a little more special then I had previously considered.

My knowledge of Mushrooms is suprisingly little: I am familiar with the few types of mushrooms that I regularly eat, I know that mushrooms are fungi, there are poisonous mushrooms, and they are the poster child of 1970s hallucogenics.

Needless to say, some research is in order.

Mushrooms 101: What Makes Mushrooms So Special?

It is a natural inclination to want to use the term “plant” when talking about mushrooms. But mushrooms, if you recall, are their own kingdom, separate from plants and animals. Mushrooms possess their own personalities and traits, and are quite remarkable creations.

Mushrooms are nutrient-dense, impressive self-cultivators, and are the anti-heroes of living things.

The benefits and behaviors of mushrooms are overwhelming. Let’s start with how they behave. Mushrooms grow at an incredible rate – some types of mushrooms grow 0.2 inches per minute, while others take several days. Mushrooms grow by metabolizing non-living organic matter. This “consumption” causes mushrooms to be incredibly sustainable for the environment; they help to lower the carbon footprint generated by other forms of production, and may also be the tool to help purify the earth. Mushrooms have been used in a process called mycoremediation to remove toxic waste after events such as wildfires. While their full potential has yet to be understood, mushrooms are an important part of ensuring the longevity of the earth.

There are a long list of the many different types of mushrooms. It is difficult to obtain an exact count between “wild” and “edible” mushrooms, because both terms, when referring to mushrooms, are misnomers. There are many mushrooms that we eat regularly that are found “wild,” that is, not farmed. There are also many variants of mushrooms that are not part of our agricultural process, but that you would easily find by foraging and that are completely edible. That being said, it is not recommended to eat the next mushroom that you see sticking out of a tree stump, unless you know that it won’t kill you.

So how are mushrooms the anti-hero? Fascinatingly enough, despite their nourishing and positive impact on our ecosystem, mushrooms also have the potential to be ecologically toxic.

BBC News highlights that mushrooms are fungi that can breed a wealth of benefit to our ecosytem – they are essential to the survival of the earth and are an inspiring hope for the future of sustainability. But aside from the obvious downside of certain toxic and lethal breeds, “they have a darker side: devastating trees, crops and other plants across the world, and wiping out animals such as amphibians.”

Some types of mushrooms are responsible for diseases in plants and in humans. However, it is important to understand that the Fungi Kingdom is immense, and not all types are damaging. In a future post I will be exploring the different types of mushrooms/fungi that are found and the impact they have.

What surprised you the most about mushrooms?

If this is your first time visiting “The Ordinary Hippie” be sure to read our welcome post and our about page. Thank you so much for sharing in this community!

We’re Saving the World Wrong

Our relationship to the environment is a reflection of our relationship to society

Loren Cardeli

On my commute to work I have started listening to podcasts to pass the time and to add some spice into my daily routine. My most recent listen was an episode from the Green Dreamer Podcast (my new favorite) titled “Loren Cardeli: Dismantling injustices in the food system and building farmer autonomy.”

While I thought that I would be listening to a podcast about eco-activism, I quickly realized that I would have my entire belief system challenged.

When we think about eco-activism and food production, what most immediately comes to mind?

The conversation surrounding environmental activism and combatting food waste usually tosses around issues such as food production, the use of pesticides, and farmer education to help grow successful crops in an ever changing climate. ,

Although all of those points are legitimate, they fail to acknowledge the biggest issue in our global system of food production – the injustice and oppression of those who produce our global food supply. Environmental justice needs to be less about the plants, and more about the people who grow them.

An Unpopular Opinion

Loren Cardeli, sites his own experiences in challenging how we are actually approaching the topic of environmental justice.

During his time in Belize, Loren was first exposed to an indigenous and native approach to farming, but also witnessed the destructive and dehumanizing effects of industrial agriculture. Through a deeply rooted and worldwide history of colonialism, there exists a system of agriculture that is designed to benefit those who are wealthy or are privileged.

Data shows that hunger is often not the result of a lack of food, but instead a capitalist hoarding of food that forces communities to starve to death, while growing ample food to feed others around the world; ample food that we often throw away because we are unable to consume it all.

What Is Environmental Justice?

The United States Environmental Protection Agency states that “Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” and that “This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys: 1) The same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and 2) Equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work.

In Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’ he articulates that “Today, however, we have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”

Grassroots non-profits such as the Interreligious Task Force “envisions a world where local communities (particularly indigenous and Afro-descendant) are able to assert their right to communal lands and self-determination, especially when outsiders try to impose infrastructure or development projects. Communities are able to define the kind of development they want: economically and environmentally sustainable while maintaining cultural integrity. Their autonomy is respected by governments and corporations. The modern economic view of natural resources as something to be exploited for the sake of development or profit has been replaced with an ethic of people over profit.”

Environmental Justice is more than protecting the integrity and sustainability of plants and animals – it is demanding the inherent dignity and rights of people who are being discarded.

Where Do We Go From Here?

I first want to acknowledge that, depending on your experience, you may be feeling a variety of things right now. You might feel angered. You may be feeling uncomfortable.

Whatever your response at this moment, sit with it, and acknowledge why you feel this way.

As you move forward, here are 3 action steps that you can take today:

  • Listen to the full podcast episode and learn more about Loren’s nonprofit. Education is an important and valid first step.

A Growing Culture IG

A Growing Culture FB

A Growing Culture Website

  • Donate to A Growing Culture to help support this mission
  • Share this post: on Facebook, Instagram, in a text to friends. Keep the conversation going and help raise awareness

If you are new to “The Ordinary Hippie” be sure to visit our welcome post! Have ideas for future content? Let us know in the comments or send us a note.

Trader Joe’s Haul

I’ll admit, I find haul videos fun. There may be an argument about the sustainability of these type of videos and posts, but I’ll leave that conversation for another day.

I recently visited Trader Joe’s for the first time in probably over a year. I enjoy the store, but with COVID and budgeting, I haven’t had a reason to visit. But, I finally ran out of a Trader Joe’s exclusive, aka an item that I literally cannot find anywhere else. It was finally time to make the trek out there.

A Brief Intro To Trader Joe’s:

A snippet from their website about their model:

We know that maintaining our everyday focus on value is vital, which is why we don’t have sales, we don’t offer coupons, and there are no loyalty programs or membership cards to swipe at our stores. Trader Joe’s believes every customer should have access to the best prices on the best products every day. To consistently deliver value:

  • We buy direct from suppliers whenever possible, we bargain hard to get the best price, and then pass the savings on to you.
  • We buy in volume and contract early to get the best prices.
  • If an item doesn’t pull its weight in our stores, it goes away, making room for another innovative new product.
  • Most grocers charge their suppliers fees for putting an item on the shelf. This results in higher prices… so we don’t do it.
  • We keep our costs low because every penny we save is a penny you save.

Trader Joe’s is a quirky, inclusive, hippie spot that radiates their mission. They strive to provide products that are ethical and sustainable, at a price point that is more accessible than some other suppliers.

Without further ado, here is what I recently picked up!

Lemon Elderflower Soda

This was a spontaneous purchase. The moment that I saw elderflower, I was intrigued. As someone who enjoys botanical additions to beverages and foods, such as lavender, I knew that I had to try it. (Plus, if you are concerned about a low calorie soda, this is a great option at 70 calories a can!) Plus, it is sweet. I am not a fan of seltzer waters, because of the lack of sweetness, and this soda drinks like a seltzer but with a little more warmth.

I did try one, and it is a very mildly sweet and soft soda. I found it refreshing, although I was anticipating a stronger presence of lemon. Would I buy it again? I am not sure yet, I need to try another can. But, if you enjoy unique pairings, this may be worth it for you to try.

Peppermint & Tea Tree Oil Shampoo Bar

This was a new find, but one that I am excited about. I made the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars a few years ago and, aside from the obvious environmental impact, I have found them to work much better on my hair. I primarily use Lush Cosmetics products, but I am nearly out of my current shampoo bar and this was a fraction of the price. Being the Trader Joe’s brand, I trust that is an ethical and high quality product, so it seemed to be the perfect timing to try it out.

Honey Mango Moisturizing Cream Shave

THIS is the whole reason that I went to trader Joe’s and waited in a socially distant line in the middle of winter. This is the shaving cream that I “can’t live without.” I have very sensitive skin, and this is the first shaving cream where my legs don’t itch right after shaving. It is not super thick, but thick enough to provide a protective barrier, and it smells wonderful. Bonus points for being vegetarian and gender neutral. Although it is not package free, the bottle is made from recycled materials. It will be a sad day if Trader Joe’s ever discontinues this product.

Washable Paper Bag Lunch Tote

Trader Joe’s, if you are reading this, this is the coolest find of 2021! I had an inexpensive lunch bag that I had purchased online that I love, but I apparently treated it too roughly because the handle broke and the inside is ripping away from the zipper. So. . . I had a valid excuse to purchase a new bag.

While exploring the aisles, I noticed this next to the bread and tortillas.. For $6, it is large, I can pack a lot of food (think breakfast, lunch, and possibly dinner) and it is one of the most unique products that I have seen. It is made from cellulose and latex and is 100% washable – not just spot clean, you can actually put in your washing machine. This is a moment of sustainability and creativity at it’s finest.

What’s Next?

I don’t always do product reviews, but every now and then I enjoy sharing the products that bring some joy into my life. These recommendations are not sponsored*, I simply believe that when you find a good thing it is worth sharing.

*Any sponsored content will always be disclosed at the beginning of a post

Are you a Trader Joe’s fan? What is your favorite product?

Welcome to The Ordinary Hippie

Welcome to The Ordinary Hippie! A Lifestyle Blog rooted in Social Activism: Daily living while sparking life cultivating conversations.

Some of you may know me from my earlier blogs, Come and Sit With Me and The Ordinary Bohemian. The Ordinary Hippie is an improved and matured version of those first blogs.

So what can you expect from The Ordinary Hippie?

Summed up, this community is about nature, social activism, and lifestyle:

Nature: I love hiking (although I am a baby hiker) and find a lot of importance in the concept of “grounding.” You will also find overall nature appreciation posts, but also important discussion of topics such as sustainability, simple living, environmental justice, and more.

Social Activisim: There really isn’t any topic that is off limits in this category. I am committed to fight against injustices in our world, committed to the dignity of all humans, and committed to continual education.

Our systems of injustice run deep through the veins of our earth and our history.

Lifestyle: While I may “brand” myself as a hippie (at heart and in my spiritual ideology), I have always been an eclectic person and I enjoy different aspects of my life. So the Lifestyle section may include product reviews, health, family & married life, and any other topics that don’t quite fall into another category.

Let’s Talk About Community

Community is important – together we are “uniting the world, one conversation at a time.” The Ordinary Hippie is:

  • A Safe Place: You may not agree with every perspective that I give, or you may find contested thoughts in the comment threads. We will challenge each other to think deeply and grow in our lives. But, we do so respectfully, remembering that behind each comment is a beautiful person who bleeds the same as us. I will remove or block any hate or harassment. That is not what we are striving for.
  • Diverse: Making connections across the world, with people of different backgrounds, is the coolest part of humanity. As we meet one another we will grow friendships, learn new traditions, and the world will feel a little bit smaller and a lot more like one family.
  • Contributive: I welcome collaborations of all kinds. If you have an idea, want to work together, think that something needs to be tweaked, etc. Let me know! Visit my Connect page to learn more.

What Next?

Curious about who I am? Visit my About page to learn more.

Explore the content of The Ordinary Hippie and interact. Like your favorite posts so I can learn what you want to see more of, leave a comment and start a new conversation, share what moves you with others.

Don’t forget to follow here and on Instagram!