Mushroom Gardener


Dave grew up in the sprawling suburbs outside of Kansas City, Kansas. A place of widespread mechanized farm land, strip malls, manicured lawns, and uninspired landscaping.

Longing to leave Kansas and see other parts of the world, Dave journeyed to Hawaiʻi to try his hand in organic agriculture and fell head over boots in love. He hasn’t looked back since. Organic farming & regenerative agriculture spoke to Dave’s heart louder and more clearly than anything else ever had.

His journey into mycology started in Chapel Hill, North Carolina when he was living and working at the Eco-Institute at Pickards Mountain. Foraging for the abundance of wild mushrooms growing in the Piedmont forests became an obsession along with cultivating gourmet mushrooms in the Eco-Institute’s mushroom garden. For more than three years, Dave experimented with a variety of low-tech, outdoor cultivation methods. He then began to teach classes on mushroom cultivation and eventually launched the Tropical Fungi Academy with co-founder, Chase.

“i LOVE mushrooms”



Chase is a myco-permaculturist who is passionate about facilitating the diversification of backyard, community and school gardens by adding mushrooms and other fungi to the landscape. Since 2004, Chase has been growing mushrooms and researching fungi and has successfully implemented many different mushroom growing techniques.

He has completed two Cornell University courses on mushroom cultivation including the Specialty Mushroom Production Course as well as the Woodland Mushroom Cultivation: Growing Mushrooms on Logs, Stumps, and Woodchips course. He is also certified in wild mushroom foraging food safety by Mushroom Mountain.

He has completed five Permaculture Design Courses, has been permaculture gardening and organic farming since 2012 and is interested in how mycelium can inform the design of our gardens, farms, and communities.

Chase is passionate about growing local varietals of fungi and enjoys culturing mushrooms foraged in the wild. He uses this local master spawn to get more mycelium out into his community so that mushrooms can be grown in gardens using traditional and low-tech methods. Chase facilitates the closing of waste streams in his community by growing local mushrooms on the wood of invasive trees cut by tree trimmers, as well as on spent coffee grounds and old banana leaves.

As a field mycologist, Chase is currently building the foundations for a local fungarium for his community that is dedicated to surveying, documenting, and studying our local fungal diversity in collaboration with the Hawaiʻi Fungi Project.

Passionate about how fungi can assist in the clean up of toxins in the environment, he completed the course Bioremediation & Earth Repair and is involved in mycoremediation efforts in his community.

Chase has been a regular featured presenter at the Hawaiʻi Mushroom Festival since its inception where he gives talks on mushroom cultivation and identification and leads wild mushroom identification walks.

He has published articles in Permaculture Design Magazine as well as in Fungi Magazine.

Combined, Dave and Chase have over thirty years of experience studying and working with fungi.