Aside from being a delicious and nutritious addition to many meals, mushrooms may be the planet’s best and most functional decomposer. In addition to breaking down traditional objects found in nature, mushrooms have also been found to break down chemicals in soil and heavy metals in water.
At Los Alamos National Laboratory, hexavalent chromium from the nearby nuclear lab plagued the surrounding area’s soil in the 1940s. This highly toxic chemical should have prevented people from living in the area, but people still lived there and inhabited the area.
Tewa Women United has begun to explore novel ways to clean up the soil in their community and thus landed upon the great powers of mushrooms. They are able to remove toxins from soil and water and restore the land, creating safe places for communities to live.