John Innes Centre aiming to put the fun back into fungi

The inaugural “UK fungus day” is on October 13. This picture shows children enjoying mushroom-relate

The inaugural “UK fungus day” is on October 13. This picture shows children enjoying mushroom-related art activities: Submitted - Credit: Archant

It's the biggest organism on the planet, essential for plant health and is used to brew beer and make medicines. It's also delicious on toast. It's fungi.

While we enjoy the peak season for mushroom foraging in woodlands and field margins, scientists, artists and culinary experts are coming together to give families a flavour of what makes fungi so special.

The first UK Fungus Day is to be celebrated on Sunday, October 13 with 30 events including one at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, from 10am to 4pm.

The free event for families will offer hands-on art activities, a story-teller, mushroom-themed cookery demonstrations with the WI, a fungal foray walk, insights into local mushroom farms and beer tasting for parents and guardians.

Dr Jenni Rant, from the John Innes Centre, who runs the SAW (science, art and writing) Trust, said: 'Fungi help deliver water and nutrients to plants and are essential to life as well as being the cause of diseases such as ash dieback and bee infections.

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'In the wood where ash dieback was first discovered, our scientists also identified over 400 beneficial species of fungi.'

The SAW Trust is working with volunteers from the John Innes Centre, the Sainsbury Laboratory, the Institute of Food Research, University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital to explore the science and biodiversity of fungi.

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The aim of the event is to raise the profile of fungi and fungal research throughout the UK and Ireland.

UK Fungus Day is sponsored by The British Mycological Society in partnership with the Society of Biology 'Biology Week'. It is supported by The National Botanic Garden of Wales, the Association of British Fungus Groups and G's Fresh Mushrooms.

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