About Fungi Academy

Why Fungi?

Fungi and Mushrooms play a fundamental role in healing ourselves, the global community, and our planet Earth as a whole. Fungi are an elder species, helping humanity to become more mature, responsible, and conscious.

Fungi Academy is an alliance between humans and fungi that inspires us to live in balance with each other and our environment.

Sacred Mycology

Sacred Mycology is the purposeful use and cultivation of edible, medicinal, and psychedelic fungi. Fungi Academy connects a global community to empower the growing and sharing of fungal wisdom.


Meet the Team

We are an international collective of passionate earthlings, working together to bring the magic of fungi to the world.

Since the beginning of 2016, we have been teaching practical skills of mycology.

Oliver Merivee (1984 - 2020)



For Oliver Fungi Academy was truly a labor of love. His professional background was in marketing, but he was a self-taught mushroom grower for the past 7 years around the world, from his home in Estonia to Australia, Guatemala, and the United States. His interest in mushrooms began, like many young cultivators, with psilocybin mushrooms. From there, his passion expanded to include all kind of fungi as he developed into a full-blown mycophile.

Oliver tragically passed away on Christmas Day, 2020.

Jasper Degenaars


CEO (Chief Education Officer)

Jasper left his corporate sales job in 2014 after a truly powerful psychedelic experience.  He got called to travel the world in search for his true passions. While traveling through Southeast Asia and Australia, he found his passions in cooking and serving medicinal foods to others. This Myconaut is interested in all things Fungal. Home-style cultivation, Ethnomycology, fungal gastronomy and bringing people together like mycelium is where his hearth resides.

Jasper joined Fungi Academy in the beginning of 2019, just after many of the initial founders had left. He saw the potential of the project and decided to listen to his gut. From that moment he has been spending all of his time sharing the magic of mushrooms with the world.

Karena Beana


COO (Chief Operations Officer)

Karena has been a health blogger and influencer since she was 16. Her passion for wellness started at a young age when her parents grew ill due to poor lifestyle choices. When Instragram first released she jumped on board and decided to take the influencer route. She focused her time and energy into using this platform to spread positive and informative health and wellness tips that she learned through helping heal her parents from chronic diseases and illnesses.

She turned this passion into a career becoming 200hr+ Yoga Teacher, a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach in 2016. As medicinal mushrooms became more popular online, she has started to incorporate fungi into her practices and teachings, helping demystify and spread the magic of mushrooms.

Holden Davies


CCO (Chief Creative Officer)

Holden has worked in the film industry from a young age, always fascinated by stories and the power they hold to convey knowledge and shape our understanding of reality. Specializing in documentaries, Holden’s most recent projects have been focused on bringing to light ancient indigenous knowledge systems, collaborating directly with healers and spiritual guides to tell their stories of connection to our eco-system, ceremony, and natural healing methods.

For the last two years he has been working alongside Guatemalan Anthropologist Monica Berger on projects funded by Swiss research group R4D based around bringing Mayan Healers and western doctors together to work on diagnosis and treatment of patients, to better understand health and disease.

Sam Blackstone


Teacher, Editor, Writer

Sam is a mushroom cultivator, teacher, and award-winning journalist from the United States.

Experienced in building laboratories and fruiting rooms, he has grown and foraged close to 20 species of gourmet, medicinal, and sacred mushrooms. He also runs a profitable medicinal mushroom tincture business and has taught many people the ins and outs of mushroom cultivation in the U.S. and at the Fungi Academy campus.

With a passion for low tek, bare bones cultivation, Sam hopes to spread the message and provide the knowledge that anyone can cheaply and sustainably grow nutritious, therapeutic, and medicinal mushrooms in their home.

In the past year 18 months, he’s built a laboratory and fruiting room in his home, cultivated and foraged over 20 species of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms, started a medicinal mushroom tincture business, and returned to the Fungi Academy to teach his techniques to students.

Corie Bidgood


photographer and videographer

Corie left Ottawa, Canada, after completing a Bachelor Degree in Anthropology. Having always had a call for adventure and for new experiences in her heart, she followed her dreams and flew on a one-way ticket to Mexico in 2015. After traveling through many countries, experiencing new cultures, connecting with herself and finding community all over the world, she couldn’t stop coming back to Lake Atitlan, Guatemala.

Finally in 2019 Corie decided to stay still, landing in Lake Atitlan. Since then she has been cultivating her life at the Lake as a photographer and videographer, bringing all her passions together to share and inspire those around the world to follow their dreams.

Diego RamĂ­rez


Web developer, Musician and Yogi

Diego has led and helped many web projects become a reality for more than a decade. After studying computer science for a year in college he decided to follow his passion for music, which he discovered in his childhood, and started a career in music and audio in art college.

Always in search of the true nature of life and having experienced altered states of consciousness induced by entheogens, he committed himself to support the evolution of human consciousness through the use and sharing of meditation techniques and spiritual practices, becoming a great devotee of the ancient teachings of yoga and ayurveda.

Milly Raven


Executive Administrator

Milly left Australia in 2016 after completing a Bachelor of Science (Biology) and has been traveling the world nonstop ever since.

Having always had a passion for nature and animals, she previously worked as a vet nurse for many years as well as in labs and the field as a research assistant for various wildlife and conservation projects. She is certified in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation as well as in marine mammal rescue. Since traveling she has continued to work with animals all over the world including in New Zealand, Mexico, Chile, Palestine, Armenia, Poland and more.

After many years on the road, Milly and her husband have settled in Guatemala to combine their loves of conserving nature, encouraging biodiversity, creating music, living in community and spreading the fungi love.

Maureen Morales


Graphic designer

Maureen has always had a strong inclination towards the aesthetic aspect of the visual sense, loving balanced compositions and the harmonious use of colors.

After graduating as a chartered accountant in 2011 and after working as an office clerk for two years, she decided to seek new horizons and dive into a more creative area, thus finding an opportunity in the digital guild of websites. Since then she has deeply connected with the creative spirit of life through multiple disciplines such as professional makeup, photography, video editing, and graphic design.

Henri Carignan


Cosmic Cultivator

Henri is a self taught mycologist who has been growing mushrooms for the past 4 years. Fungi Academy has influenced him through inspiration and teaching. Henri’s interest in mushrooms comes from a love of the natural world, especially the amazing benefits fungi have for humans and all of the world.

Gabriel DeRita


Goal Whisperer

Gabe is a personal development coach & facilitator helping mission-driven humans live in alignment with their purpose.

He left his tech job to travel the world by bike, and in the process found his calling in coaching. He's been working with the Fungi Academy leadership team since 2019.

His approach to personal growth is rooted in neuroscience-based CoActive coaching techniques and Authentic Relating, with a heaping spoonful of Japanese philosophy on top.

Gabe was born in Philadelphia and currently lives in Ft. Collins, Colorado. He's passionate about cycling, foraging wild mushrooms, social/climate justice, and the transformative power of psychedelics. You can learn more about Gabe's work, his story, and connect with him at his site www.effectiveconnection.com

Our collaborators


Meet our Collaborators

Darren Springer


Educator & Researcher

Darren is an educator, researcher and event organizer based in the UK. Known around the world for his Shroomshop Master classes he is keen mushroom cultivator and teacher and has been growing gourmet and medicinal mushrooms for the last ten years.

Darren is a knowledgeable and dynamic speaker who is passionate about sharing his research and findings on ancient African plant medicines, the history, mythology and various applications.

Collectively his work aims to inform and empower individuals from diverse backgrounds to cope with social challenges and contribute to community development as well as self-improvement in an innovative, creative, culturally-aware style.

William Padilla-Brown


MultiDisciplinary Citizen Scientist

William Padilla-Brown is the founder of Mycosymbiotics, a social entrepreneur, citizen scientist, urban-shaman, contributing editor for Fungi Magazine and author of the Cordyceps Cultivation Handbook.

Due to his and Ryan Paul-Gates’s innovations Cordyceps Cultivation has become accessible to the masses! With their low tech, easy techniques people all over the world are able to grow cordyceps mushrooms.

William is a self-starter in every sense of the word, and is a shining example to other amateurs of what is possible with vision and determination.

With the development of novel methodologies, he is using his platform to propagate expertise in mycology and permaculture and inspire other citizen scientists to use fungi to better the planet.

Julian Vayne


Author, psychonaut, and occultist

Julian has explored many of the techniques humans have used to access the hidden dimensions of reality. He started group ceremonial practices at age 16 and has worked in ceremonies with practitioners from many traditions. Julian is the author of numerous books, essays, journals, and articles in both the academic and esoteric press.

Julian is a co-organizer of the psychedelic conference Breaking Convention and is a trustee of The Psychedelic Museum Project. As a founding member of the post-prohibition think tank, Julian holds a position on the Journal of Psychedelic Studies’ academic board. A regular speaker at conferences and workshop leader, Julian facilitates psychedelic ceremony and provides one-to-one psychedelic integration sessions and support.

Organizations we support