Permaculture and decentralized citizen science with William Padilla-Brown
In my conversation with William Padilla-Brown, we talk about permaculture and how its practice can reach beyond land management to changing the way we think, feel, and live our lives while creating new systems that allow communities to thrive independently.
William Padilla-Brown is a mycologist and citizen scientist who is entirely self-taught. William’s lifestyle and career unfold with one question, “How do I accomplish the same thing without spending a dime and the result is sustainable and fruitful for all?” Harvesting mushrooms. As much as William began his renaissance by ingesting mushrooms, he will use the same substance to boost his permaculture career. If you have mushrooms, you have soil for further harvesting.
William used to suffer from gastrointestinal issues originating from an unbalanced diet and emotional stress. He altered his diet but realized fruits, vegetables, and herbs are very expensive. It is much more affordable to grow them in your own backyard. Thus, his permaculture career began to blossom, and over time it transformed into a multi-million dollar business that continues to put back into the community in workshops, a garden network, and a community of constant education and practice.
There is an affordable and sustainable way of life that is, literally, fruitful. It is good for your body, your brain, and the longevity of your life and future generations to come. It starts with learning how and there’s no better guest than William himself to get your feet wet.
Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform.
- Magic mushrooms and what we can learn from the experience
- Growing mushrooms and other food in your backyard (even in an urban setting)
- Affordable to grow food rather than buying from the grocery store
- Mycosymbiotics and permaculture
- Finding your community through trade and barter and few passionate supporters
William Padilla-Brown is a mycologist and citizen scientist who is entirely self-taught. He published the first English-language handbook on how to cultivate Cordyceps militaris, the fungus famous for its medicinal properties; he founded his own mushroom cultivation and research lab, Mycosymbiotics in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania; he leads community mushroom foraging and cultivation classes nationwide; and he teaches his friends microbiology.
- Follow William Padilla-Brown on Instagram
- EARTH DAY FEST 2023
- Follow me on Instagram: @tonyapapanikolove
- Follow Rainbo on Instagram: @rainbomushrooms
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Tonya Papanikolov 00:04
Hi, welcome to the rainbo podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective consciousness. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion, tune in root and expand and journey with us. Super excited to have this chat with you. I've been following along your journey maybe for a couple of years now. And it's been really cool to see the way that you approach your work, and fungi and community and all those things. So looking forward to having a conversation with you today. I'm kind of curious, like, how did you find fungi? How did they find you?
William Padilla-Brown 01:07
One guy found me really, I guess we found each other when I was younger, when I was like, on my way out of high school, which was like around the age of 16, I just became interested with you know, mind altering substances and things like this. And I kind of just wanted to discover more about myself discover more about reality. And in those pursuits, mushrooms just came up a lot, you know, I really got interested in like meditation practices and all this kind of stuff first, and I wanted to, you know, try and figure out how to be more mindful or more within my own alignment on my own really without mind altering substances and things like that. I tried different foods and things like that. But the more I started to realize, like everything is mind altering, and it's just, you know, varying levels of it all. But I got into like super foods and all this kind of stuff. And then mushrooms kept popping up as like protein alternative healthy super foods and this kind of thing. But yeah, when I was 16, I first came in contact with magic mushrooms just through you know, kids that that's what they were into around where I live here, my ate a bunch of them. And they straight taught me lessons. Like they told me things that were taught me things that was really important. They made me look at things that I didn't look at before like things in the natural world. I think everything's pretty much nature. I mean, this is all like a fractal of human thought that it's just a product of nature to begin with. Just getting out to the wild, I should say, like, it got me out looking at the wild. And yeah, that really changed my life. And it wasn't really into like, after I started eating the mushrooms I really like immediately wanted to like know where they're coming from. So I started growing them for myself, because I was like real sketched out about everything like I was like, tripped out like, I was like concerned with everything else. But everything I was watching on TV, everything I was listening to, I wanted to know what I was made of. So I started like growing my own food. And then it started to become very apparent how much fungi plays a role in natural systems. So I started to see fungi when I was doing my organic gardening, I started to use Michael rice a when I was doing my hydroponics and like cannabis farming and stuff like this. Yeah. So I just kind of translated my knowledge that I originally obtained when I was a teenager and growing my own mushrooms into working with mycelium and figuring out how it works into a whole bunch of different systems. So that was really kind of like my introduction to it was just, I didn't feel like I was getting the most out of my life. I didn't feel like I was like, healthy as I could be. I didn't feel like I was mentally where I wanted to be. So mushrooms just came to aid me and you know, I mean, I'm a unique individual. And I just like to end it with that, like, everybody's path is different and something radically different maybe with somebody needs in comparison to what I have on my story.
Tonya Papanikolov 03:47
Yeah, I really relate to that in a lot of ways. And it's also cool, I think because specifically magic mushrooms can come in and kind of give somebody what they need, which for you is going to be different. But there's like sometimes this common thread, right of like the connectivity and this intense feeling of oneness that for me, I got to experience like really for the first time through one of my first experiences with sacred mushrooms. But that's really fascinating. I mean, I love what you said about like everything kind of being mind altering to some extent, anything that we put into our bodies. So previous to this Were you already like into farming? Were you already growing a garden? Did you just start to relearning that you self teaching that were you going to school for that? Anybody looking to start that's in more of an urban setting like what what do you suggest they do?
William Padilla-Brown 04:39
I wasn't into farming or anything like that initially, like when I dropped out of school I just wanted to make music I wanted to be a famous rapper. So I put all my energy into branding myself as a rapper like through my most of my high school years before I dropped out of school. I was teaching myself how to do Photoshop, how to make websites how to manage a YouTube Channel, how to record videos, edit videos, record music, edit music, all this kind of stuff. And I produced three of my own album type projects come in, and I produce three mixtapes for other friends here in central Pennsylvania while I was in high school. And I told myself if I didn't get famous or make a lot of money off my music by the time I was 18, that I would do something else. Because I didn't want to be like, I would see people like working at McDonald's or working at a warehouse trying to make rap music and not that there's anything wrong with it. I just didn't want to be that person. Because like, the things that I talked about in my rap music is about my life and like, what am I going to talk about, if I'm working at a warehouse or something like that, it's not going to be real. I didn't want to do that. So there was no real farming or anything like that into it. But like, whenever I realized, like the reality of the world, I started paying rent and my own bills and stuff like that, when I was 17. I moved out on my own and realizing what it took to keep up with all those kinds of things. And working jobs, I saw most of the people were had college, tuition debt, and all this kind of stuff that was working the same restaurant jobs and things like that, that I was doing. And I didn't really know what kind of future I will be able to manifest for myself out of the current situation that I was in. But I really knew that my if I wanted to do anything that I needed my body to work, right, because like, I will wake up, and I won't be tired still in the morning. And I was like this wrong. I'm like, not even 20 years old yet. And like my stomach never worked my whole life. And that was a combination of just a terrible diet, like American diet and stress. I traveled around. I started traveling on my own since I was five on trains, and then started flying on airplanes by myself when I was seven. So I personally didn't know how to manage that stress. Yeah, so I was like a grown person. So there was like a lot of things that as a child, I didn't know why my body or my mind wasn't working, right. But it was just like things and situations I was exposed to that were just complex and a lot for a little person. Yeah, so like, my stomach didn't work, right. And my and I was waking up tired and and there was like, sometimes I would have a goal that I wanted to achieve, but I couldn't get myself to do it. I would just be like, not getting at my goals. So I was like, Alright, what do I need to do to rearrange this and it was mostly like, food for me was the first thing. So I just started thinking about what I was eating, I started eating differently and drinking differently. I started drinking spring water, I go find a spring, clean springs near me. So drinking spring water. I started growing my food started eating the super foods and stuff like that. And like then the gardening came because I couldn't afford the food that I was trying to eat because I was serving tables. I couldn't get a really good job minimum wage here. 725. So it was really hard to make a lot of money. Yeah. So I just started growing all the food because it was affordable to grow food. And I started watching YouTube videos at first. And then my mom became kind of supportive. She gave me some books on farming because like, growing food was like the first legal thing that I showed interest in as like a young man. Everything else was illegal. And they were like, really were concerned about me. And then my girls mom introduced me to some friends of friends of hers that were like doing permaculture, and she didn't know what it was, but she was like, Are these people seem like, kinda like, well, so she introduced me to them. And then I learned about permaculture whenever I was like, wanting, I was like 19 or 20 When I learned about like, I was like 19. And that changed my whole life, it gave me something like a system to really start actualizing ideas. And coupled with like the psychedelic healing that I was doing for myself, I started treating myself with a Swedish or a Swiss, their P protocol that I found on the internet, I started taking LSD on a regular basis for like a year like not like everyday, but like a bi weekly basis. And like, I would sometimes take off if I couldn't integrate the experience. And this is like this is deep shade like I've like I like went through like years of therapy and psychologists and things like that when I was a kid. So like I had tools to be able to navigate these experiences that I don't think everybody is equipped with. So I did this. And then as I was doing that, and doing permaculture I really started to be able to like, see the reality that it was that I was born into, and figure out how I can utilize it to make this reality more conducive of this spirit that I embody while I'm here, because in that feeling that you said of oneness that you experienced while you're while you trip or anything that people get to. I identify with that. I call myself William and walk around like this for the sake of everybody else, but I fully identify with that oneness that you feel when you're tripping. And I know that whether or not it's this life or the next life, if I don't make space for this spirit, then is the spirit that loves nature and clean water and freedom and liberation and art. If I don't make space for this spirit, then even if I die, it may not be for years and years that that we make space for this spirit to be embodied here and live the way that we want to live. And so I was just like, Alright, how do I make the function of my life to rearrange this in whatever way that I can So that's really what I've been doing the past 10 years if anybody's been watching my work.
Tonya Papanikolov 10:04
Wow, thank you for sharing that.
William Padilla-Brown 10:07
I don't think I really answered about how to get into the ground. No, I
Tonya Papanikolov 10:11
mean, I love that story and the realness. And that's beautiful. I mean, you did in a way, right? Because it's like self taught, and there's so much information out there. And like, it sounds like you had some great people introduce you to the right, kind of like seeds that started to spread. And you went deep into that. And so So now today, Miko, synbiotics, like did that start, give us a little bit of a background on that. So decentralized citizen effort, citizen research effort that is put on by you and the team. And I would love to hear a bit more about that.
William Padilla-Brown 10:44
Right. So Michael symbiotics, came, realize that it will take money to rearrange this system. Because I thought that money was the root of all evil, I thought the fiat currency was like, demonic and I didn't want to interact with it. So I was broke, because I didn't want to have any money. So I have an eight year old son, he was born, I was 20 years old, I can't be out here broke, really, that's not conducive of a good upbringing for my son for my family. And then I really wanted to make big social change. And I didn't really know how I could be so impactful without any money. And I'm not trying to discourage anybody to say that they can't do anything without money. But I just knew that I needed to make some machine to be able to move what people value right now. Like people value this money right now. Until it's inflated, and then they doesn't work anymore. Yeah, but I value nature. And if I want people to value nature and see nature, the way I value it, then it will take money and what people value right now to translate it into what I think is valuable. So I realized I needed a business to do that. To some extent, I had a nonprofit already, I had a nonprofit called Community compassion. I started when I was 19. When it was like, focused on like putting gardens in people's yard, you can't do all that if you don't have any money. Like I didn't know how to do grants or like get funding or anything like that. So like, if I'm just going around and doing gardens, like where am I getting the equipment? Where am I getting the seeds? How am I feeding myself like all these things, like I didn't know how to like manage all that as when I was younger. So the years up until 2015. Like I was doing permaculture and I was growing gardens, and I was doing all this like, like self sustainability stuff, like collecting rainwater and teaching myself coding and 3d printing. And so I can do additive manufacturing and do rapid prototyping to like make my own machine so I wouldn't have to depend on like going to stores to buy things that I can make myself. So I had the garden in the backyard, the only thing I didn't have was fiber, like I needed like an animal like a sheep or like angora rabbit or, or a hemp. But I did but back then you couldn't get licenses to grow hemp in Pennsylvania. So if I would have had five or I even had biofuel setup and a water heater in my backyard to make biodiesel, so I would have I was a little bit I was close to being able to be sufficient and for my own, but then I started to realize that it was like to make impact, you have to be activated as a community. So then you can start to make generational impacts like we used to do. We used to be able to see generationally, but now people can only see day to day because they're so focused on their own little, puny little life, and like not to be rude, but the life of our legacy, or the life of humanity into the future is way greater than just thinking about our life. Because it liberates you beyond your lifespan bias to be free as a consciousness that flows throughout the experience of humanity, not just locked into this life. So Miko synbiotic started in 2015 when I realized that I needed to make money and that I wanted to make an ethical business. So I was really influenced by the work of Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew. They started the Radek center in Albany, New York. But before that they worked with the rhizome collective in Austin, Texas that doesn't exist anymore. But they did some of the most incredible sustainable regenerative anarchist work that has been done in this country, I believe, just like, as far as like, making manuals and like testing things and like, and like making it available to other people. They did such a great job. And they wrote this book called toolkit for sustainable city living that I read when I was really young. And then I went to take a class that they offered in Albany, New York called the regenerative urban sustainability training. It's called rust was the acronym of this class. I couldn't afford none of this when I was younger. So like, if to answer people's question about how to get into it, I created a system I call it a non traditional independent education system or something along that line, like non traditional independent higher education system or something like that. But I made a system for obtaining a higher education without going to school by like going to different workshops. And then like how you integrate that information after you do the workshop the same way you do in school, like right your homework is not what you learned or like write a book report about what you read or like you You know, do a project on what you learned, I did all of those things every time to make sure I can actualize and really take hold of the knowledge that I got from a workshop, because like, I juiced it, I joke that I was like, I'm black, I'm Puerto Rican, I have indigenous blood. So I use all those things, to get scholarships to all these different classes and stuff like that. And if you're white than tapping with your family members, because some of y'all got some generational wealth somewhere, like usually, when I shared with white people, they'd be like, oblivious to the fact that they're connected to wealth somehow, because they're so and in it, like there's there's so in the culture of it, that they don't realize that they have access to wealth in the way that I would have taken advantage of something that they didn't think about it like, Oh, you're like MacGyver, you're so smart. You think about using something like that. And like, we all have the same things accessible to us. But when you think that you're poor, and you're living in America, you're already lost, because I see what really poor is like, and they would, they would eat up having a trailer or something like that. In the United States of America, there's just different perspectives a way of looking at so like, I got all these scholarships, because I couldn't afford to do none of these classes. But I went to go learn with Scott Kellogg, and Stacy Pettigrew at rust, they let me sleep on the floor in their apartment, like if you couldn't afford it, they will give you a scholarship, they'll let you give you a place to sleep. And like, I learned so much. And that was really heavily influenced by them on like, how to take what you find in these urban areas and create something regenerative and they were really they inoculated with me with the idea of ecologically regenerative, sustainable micro industries. And I was already practicing permaculture. So I'm trying to build whole systems, I redesigned my whole town and I ran for mayor when I was 21. Like, I redesigned my town, from the wastewater, to the energy, to the roads, to the schools to everything. And like, whenever they told me about ecologically regenerative, sustainable micro industries, I was like, I don't even want your tax money, I will give you jobs in the jobs that we work will make our communities better. I don't even want to use the old systems anymore. Because the more that we perpetuate that the more that we put that onto our kids, the more that we use this money, the more that we use these politics, the more that we use this school, the more that we put that on our kids, because I didn't like any of that shit. So if I, if I participate in it, I'm perpetuating that shit. So how about I just make something that's entirely different and start using it right now. So like, that's the way I felt about it. So I just went and redesigned everything. I was like, here's this, we can live luxurious like this. And I'm not even asking you for money. And I'll give you guys jobs. And this is how we'll make money. But nobody believed me. Everybody thinks it's like, fantasy, all the stuff I was talking about. Because I was like, I didn't have no facial hair. Like, I didn't look like a man when I had these ideas. And I didn't have anything to show for I was a poor kid living in New Covenant Pennsylvania. But now I got a million dollar business. Like on paper that I started out as this little town out here. And like, now people respect what I say because I made that shit real that they told me was not real before, off of like making compost and mushrooms and put his soil out. So like those ecologically regenerative micro industries. That's what micro symbiotics is. Micro symbiotics is an incubator for ecologically regenerative sustainable micro industries, starts with mushrooms, because mushrooms makes soil soil is the base of all value systems. Soil is where all wealth comes from. So that's why I did mushrooms first, then we start working with bugs, plants, algae, all these different things. But mushrooms and micro symbiotic is the incubator for all of it. So we nature did it. So if I'm being a real permaculture designer, then I got to look at nature and use nature as my tool. But most permaculture designers are still stuck in their lifespan bias. And they haven't thought about the beginning of time and the end of time, all these kinds of things. That's why I work with fungi and with algae first, because they're the first two organisms that fix this shit to be able to for there to be life.
Tonya Papanikolov 18:30
We need to have a little bit of a mic drop right now. Wow, thank you for buck. Yeah, that's buy of like shivers and gratitude. That is radical. Yeah, that's radical. Man. That is such an incredibly inspiring story. You know, what it made me kind of think about is the, I don't know the exact data point or percentage. But even now, like with the population of the world, we're so densely populated in cities. And I think sometimes when people hear things like farming, or permaculture or things like this, to make some think about, like needing to have all this land or space, and I was just with my friend yesterday, who is another Canadian, she's living in Calgary like a city in Alberta and Canada, and she's doing kind of like, micro City Homes like not like homesteading to it to an extent she has a house in the suburbs. And she has like every square plot of like the front of the house, the back of the house, the roof, she's turned into a garden, and I'm just like, so inspired by her story, by your story by hearing what you're doing and also by the necessity of like, where our populations are, and are going to continue to be in these big big cities, and how like, we can start here. We can start in our cities, in our communities, with our families, doing kind of like there's so much that we can do. And I think it's going to be a necessity for a lot of people.
William Padilla-Brown 20:03
So like, it seems like fun and fantasy and like all these kinds of things, but like, as our economy shifts, and as time progresses, a lot more people are going to need to rely on these kinds of things. As I've traveled as an professional and gone into different countries, I've realized how much this kind of information is valued in places that don't have. So like, when I first started growing my gardens and stuff like this, a lot of my friends said, why would you grow this food when you can go to the grocery store, you know, so like, that's the kind of mindset that we're coming out of, but I don't know about you where you're at, you say you're in Canada, I would feel like you would have been impacted by more. But over the past couple years, the grocery stores have not been filled with stuff like they used to be, it's the selections are starting to be slimmer. And there's been oftentimes we're just like, runs down pretty low and sometimes has run out, especially during the COVID times and everything like that. But I definitely have been just watching these patterns my whole life on top of the fact that my mom has worked for a foreign trade department of agriculture since I was like, six, that I don't think that these systems will sustain us, as they're much further, all of the greatest scientists of the greatest minds of the past couple generations has told us these systems are unsustainable, like fossil fuel, global trade, like a lot of these systems. And, and I'm not saying like global trade in entirety is unsustainable, but like the way that we're doing it right now, by powering it with fossil fuels, and wars, and proxy wars and things like this, then that's not sustainable. And what that means is that at some point, it will not work anymore. And I think that we're going to be here to witness when some of these things just don't work anymore. And then it'll be like you either get with it or get lost. Because like, if you don't know how to like, take care of yourself in your community, then that's really it. You know, I mean,
Tonya Papanikolov 21:53
yeah. So when are you running for mayor Next, we all I'm sure we all want to know.
William Padilla-Brown 21:59
I don't know, we'll be doing that anytime soon. There's a lot of things I have on my plate right now, the is more imperative for me, in the sense of life is a language. And the whole world is an educated and how to interact. The whole world isn't educated in language, the whole world is more inclined to understand symbols, symbolic language, like I've traveled my whole life, I've traveled around the world, I've traveled all around the US like I go to, there's certain places around here in Pennsylvania, we're grown as people don't know how to read, still, like our school systems here are terrible, they dropped credits in the school district that I'm in, because they couldn't get kids to go through it. And I dropped out of school, like I am part of a of a large populace of people that if you didn't teach yourself, then that that education part is not there. And like, where I'm going with this is that trying to tell the world in a scientific way that what the problems of the world are, like, you know, we're facing climate change, and we're facing this are facing that. Most people have no idea what you're even saying, or how to relate to it at all. Like, when you say, even say climate, some people have no idea what that is, it sounds like some blahblah, some gibberish science shit, like, I am in the hood here in Harrisburg, where we are at right now, like somebody, some people will go out. And like, they will like just to think the things that I think is regular is like, sounds like a foreign language to some people. And so what I'm getting at is that my work right now is in living my life in a way that people don't have to hear what I say, but see the way that I live, it impacts them. And that's what I'm trying to do. Because when you're a young kid in the hood, and you see somebody with the nice car, and the fucking clothes, and they're all shiny, and they got all this spirit, that is a weight, that's something you understand symbolically. It's not something that you just understand, like, from learning, like, you can be a little kid and you see that person is living good. Like that's what it translates to. So like, I went to elementary school here, almost 10 years ago now. And I went in there to go teach them about mushrooms. And I could give a fuck less about how I look, I went in there like holes in my pants. I only wore shoes. If I had to wear shoes, like I could give a fuck of my hair. Well, it looks like and there's this kid in the back of the class sitting there with his arms crossed. And at the end, he's like, why should I listen to you? You look like a bum. And that's the kid that I want to impact more than anybody else that can understand what I'm saying. Because they're already in the progress of going in the direction if they can understand what I'm saying. So like, I'm trying to live my life in a way that impacts the most people that doesn't understand that what's going on right now. So I'm just bringing it all together in that fashion. And the swag is so sustainable. I tried to drop that shit everywhere. Like just do it all differently, and understanding like how we've been manipulated. That was like a really big part of my trips is I felt like I was brainwashed by boardrooms of highly paid, highly trained manipulators like people that their whole job in their whole college career was training, how to figure out how to sell you something, which means to get into your mind, and play you like a fucking puppet, like play your neuroses, play your core habits and capitalize on your desires. So I went into my mental space and realize it was already occupied by a bunch of corporations that had sold me on using their way of life for my life. And I had to get rid of that I had to clean that shit out. I'm like, Y'all not paying your fucking rent, like, yeah, to hear. So I had to clean up my shit. And like now it's like, how do I use that same psychological bullshit that they infiltrated my brain with, and just put out the positive vibrations of the Most High. And like, that's something that's like, for me, I have to commune with my community, I have to commune with nature with the wild and I have to come up with whatever it is that's greater than me. Because when you say something like that, it's like, I'm not trying to go out here and put my ideas, because who knows if what I think is good, but I know that wild is good. I know that clean water is good. I know that good. Soil was good. So I'm just gonna freak it with all those vibrations. That's where I'm at.
Tonya Papanikolov 26:12
I love listening to you speak. And, yeah, like, I mean, honestly, it just resonates so deeply with what you're saying. And your vision is so big. And if I follow you, I see some of the cool stuff that you've been doing all the time. I think just a couple days ago, you were like in a football field. I just like the community and Pennsylvania. Like, are they? Yeah, they're coming to you guys for workshops. I know. There's been like, lots of quadriceps stuff is kind of like the quadriceps growing is maybe where what you were doing where you were, it started with some of the funky stuff a few years ago, but what kind of workshops are you guys putting on? How are you getting into the community around you in teaching and spreading this?
William Padilla-Brown 26:51
So like, first off, I found all the weirdest people that was like, willing to just like be social pariah. Like that's the best people at first. And like, it's getting to the point now where it's like a little bit hard to like, figure it out. Because like, it's like, cool to be weird, and like mushrooms and stuff like that. And all this stuff. Now, when I was younger, it was like, still weird to be into this kind of stuff. So the people that were really willing to like, be outcasted those are the realest people you will ever meet because they didn't give a fuck if somebody thought they were cool or if they fit in or anything. So I found people like that first. And I was really blessed because this philosopher named Charles Eisenstein was living here in Harrisburg and wrote these books called this sense of humanity and sacred economics. He wrote, because sacred economics and he wrote the ascent of humanity here. And like crazy, I ended up in his backyard pulling out poison ivy one day when I was like, just taking odd jobs. And he influenced all these like 40 year old people that I was hanging out with, I was doing permaculture and shit whenever I was younger. So they were on trade and barter and stuff like that. So like that was where I started off with like, like interacting with the community was like, doing trade and barter and trying to like figure out how we can start to trade our own value between ourselves and like work in each other's backyards. So that was what I was doing my first nonprofit called Community compassion. And we perpetuated that now we run a garden network that activates people's yards around this around Central Pennsylvania, the Cumberland Valley. And we'll grow different crops in different people's yards, depending on their microclimate, or where they're at so many hours are gonna get activated with chickens, ducks, things like this. And then we bring the food together and share it. So like last year was the first year that we really hit that heart, and we weren't able to, to bring it all together just because I got way too busy. But it's all it was all worth it because I was able to get us into a better situation with the business. But we're gonna keep activating the garden network. We're teaching permaculture classes, we're teaching mushroom cultivation classes, quarters, have classes, rainwater collection classes, composting classes, with worms with other types of insects, insects, cultivation classes, I used to, and I'm going to continue my relationship with the horn Farm Center for agriculture, education, and help them as well as do a lot of my operations here. I'm headquartered, but I was teaching micro herding invertebrates over there for many, many years, which was a class on working with insects. We're going to be teaching about working with algae, we're gonna have algae cultivation here. And then we're gonna be teaching about environmental remediation, and gardening and all these kinds of things. And so a lot of people say, my work my work or this and that, but as I travel, a lot of people say that I'm able to explain the way that they feel in a way that they don't know how to, it's because I'm not speaking for myself, and I'm not working for myself, it's for everybody. So this is not just me teaching all of these classes. I use myself as like a wherever my skill set lies, or I'm like and like know a little bit more than I will just I usually am like the designer. And then I'm winking with different people that are able to implement the design that I've trained a couple of people how to do a lot of my different systems, our production manager, Justin, he knows how to do all my mushroom stuff. He's able to teach one of my mushroom classes. His wife has been learning about all of our algae production stuff, so she's gonna be able to grow our algae and teach our algae stuff. So yeah, that's where we're at. building all of that up, and the community is very, very receptive. I've been teaching at the YMCA with one of my mentors, Sister Rebekah, which is now we're mentoring each other. She taught me a lot about permaculture and urban sustainability. Now I'm teaching her about all the things I know about mushrooms and compost and all these different things. And we're I've taken it in my lane, but she'll bring me over the YMCA to teach inner city youth and all this different kinds of stuff here in Harrisburg, and they're always with it. We're doing music, I'm still recording music, we're working on doing different festivals and stuff like that. So we're connected with people that are doing like hip hop and stuff like this around here, which usually brings like a different crowd of people and to interact with these kinds of things. Yeah, I mean, it's really getting active, it's really getting to this point where it's like, effective, and to like, make money this way. And like, that's really what people were trying to figure out. Like, I think that in creating more job offerings is really where it's going to be more impactful to the community because like, most people out here are working for like Amazon UPS, FedEx, or like Target or chewy or there's just there is like Mega distribution here. Pennsylvania touches more states than any other state in all the warehouse, all the highways connect in Harrisburg. So there's a lot of distribution of trucks here, that everybody just works for these distribution warehouses, and it's like, people get hurt. The jobs don't pay that great, the working conditions are not the best. They have people working all night, like a lot of my friends work night shifts. So it's just bogus. There's like a way better life to be lived. And honestly, like the past couple weeks, we've been seeing all these water pipes burst and stuff like this from freezing, because we gave it over to private ownership of some companies that don't live here. Like our parking is from some company that's not even in Pennsylvania. Like, it's time for us to just get ownership of our things, produce our energy, produce our water, treat our water, all these kinds of things can be employing people and taking care of ourselves and achieving a higher quality of life. And also being exemplary model of what of what the American dream really can be. I feel like people kind of like, lost it. And I think a lot of people are like suckling the fucking ghostly nuts of the founding fathers. Like, oh, they made the best freedom for us ever in the world. No, they didn't. They were a bunch of goofballs, but what they did is they gave us the ability to say that they're a bunch of goofballs. They gave us the ability to say fuck our government, I want to make a new one. That's what they did. And people need to step up and do that shit, because that's what it means to be an American. And I'm proud to be an American, because I can do this things that people can't do in other places. I'm not proud of what our country has done. But I'm proud of what our country can become in this moment.
Tonya Papanikolov 32:27
Yeah, I just I mean, I just spent like the last six months in, in the US, actually, and I've never really noticed much of a difference between Yeah, Canadians and Americans. But being there post, I guess, like this virus that we've faced has been, yeah, there's like some subtleties that are no longer so subtle, that I do really notice. And like, there is a climate of temperature that is just like present. And I think that's probably everywhere, everywhere we go. But yeah, I mean, we're neighbors, I feel like, to an extent, we experience Canadians experience like what's going on in America, but I don't, I don't share that, like, I am proud to be American sense. But like, it's a similar story with with Canada. And you know, what happened here with people coming and what happened to our indigenous here and the founding fathers and people of this land, too. And so I typically like to end our episodes with asking our guests to share one, like a prayer and intention with our audience. And we'd love to hear that from you.
William Padilla-Brown 33:33
We're also just like to say shout out to all my Americans from Chile to Canada, because like, we're all American over here. And I think it's important that we remember that my prayer is the end of suffering, I pray for everybody to be able to have good food and good water. I know that that is a reality that is very possible. And that is my prayer that we can take the energy that we're given today, and put it back into the earth so that the Earth can heal. And we may be able to bring ourselves back into alignment. It is my prayer that we may realize that our lives may be the ones to set everything straight, that we may not be the ones to enjoy all the splendor of the work, but it'll all be worth it to bring everything back into alignment. I pray that people can recognize the glory of the connection, the glory of community, and the joy of connecting to generational consciousness. I pray that we may all be able to see the world from somebody else's shoes, somebody very different than us and recognize where we are all similar so that we may connect and meet somewhere in the middle. I pray for the end of violence, the end of wars, and I pray that we all I can recognize how dope it is to be vibing out on this planet together right now.
Tonya Papanikolov 35:05
Oh, yeah, I'm so grateful you've shared your your spirit and soul with me and our listeners. And I like really feel that so strongly and your words really touched my heart, actually, like I felt emotional a couple times in our chat, which is just a beautiful thing to feel. Yeah, so thank you
William Padilla-Brown 35:24
awesome blessings, take that energy and run with it less bro.
Tonya Papanikolov 35:28
I also I don't know where I got this from, I wrote this down. It's a quote of yours. And I really loved it. So I just want to maybe end with that. And maybe if you want to touch on it to, to give it a bit more explanation. But the quote is discernment is critical to the upholding of truth with the bombardment of information available in the 21st century. And I think it's like, I just have so many conversations, and so many people conflicted by information and trying to find the truth, and searching for it outside of themselves. And in these polarities, and like we just live in, in this age of like, so much information, like an unprecedented amount that's available at our fingertips. And I'd love for you to maybe expand on that, if you will,
William Padilla-Brown 36:17
I implore everyone to ground themselves. In reality that may be that may sound so different to so many people. But if you want to find discernment in all of the information. Right now, the best place to start is to touch what is in front of you. Drink the water and know that your mouth is wet from it. Eat the food and know that you are satiated from it. Touch your loved ones and feel their warm body. Because who the fuck knows what's about to be real anymore. It is so crazy out here. So many people are growing up with a screen in their face. They never left the neighborhood or community that they live in. They don't know what's real in the world outside. I just implore people to just touch what's in front of you know that water will make you hydrated and food will fill you. Because it seems like like people now are even telling me like plants are going to hurt you if you eat them or meat is going to hurt you if you eat it or this water or that. I'm just like yo, touch your loved ones and make sure they're there. Drink the water. Do you have a headset on your head right now? That's where I'm going at right now. Because really, there's so many people that has no idea what is reality right now. So just touch and feel and things around you start there. Yeah, that's what I think it's the best. Because all of the truth is in front of you. Like you can look into the screen or you want to ask to read the books all you want. But when you drop the apple, it falls down on the ground. When you look at the sky, the sun comes up in the same place. And we move around in the same cycles. And if you start to look at that, instead of the screen, you may start to realize things that somebody was telling you is not real. When you look up at the sky and you see the stars every night. Do you look up at the sky and see the stars? I'm asking everybody? Can you see the stars at night? Can you go to where the waves come in? Can you see the leaves fall off the tree? And come there's certain things that we can see. That's truth. And there's things that people will tell you that is bizarre, because what's in front of you is reality. And I implore people to go out there and interface with it.
Tonya Papanikolov 38:22
Yeah, that's so poignant and true and the message that like such an important message because like what this like info dementia causes is exactly that just like complete disassociation from the mind and body and then like not believing what's real, not not knowing what's what's what's in front of you. Or maybe just like forgetting how simple it is to like know what is real in this moment is just like this reality what I can touch the hot blood like a hug, feeling that safety in, in something instead of like the thought trips through anxiety and through like this idea of what the media is putting out there and the insecurity and the fear and that whole cycle that that really perpetuates. So I think that that's a beautiful message. Thank you.
William Padilla-Brown 39:09
Let's grow. I'll see all y'all in the free world.
Tonya Papanikolov 39:16
With deep gratitude, thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body and if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out rainbo.com for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace in and peace out friends.