Shannon Francis
  • Shannon Francis

    Executive Director, Spirit of the Sun, Inc
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2021
United States

Mycelium Healing Project

Restorative Healing and Justice
In the Northeast Denver Metropolitan area, the constituents are primarily made up of BIPOC marginalized communities that live in the most polluted zip code in Colorado and face daily health and financial impacts from living with devastating air pollution as well as water and soil contamination. These "disproportionately impacted community" (DIC) have been neglected and abused by major corporations like fossil fuel giant and #1 polluter in the state Suncor Oil Refinery. In addition to Spirit of the Sun’s youth services, elder care and small climate and social justice policy education work, we believe as Indigenous leaders and organizers that our people need restorative healing and justice to step out more boldly and engage more broadly on climate and environmental public policy issues in government venues.

The Project
During the 9 month grant period, Spirit of the Sun will launch the Mycelium Healing Project. Mycelium (also known as mushrooms) will act in filtering harmful pollutants in the soil, air, and water specifically in Commerce City. Commerce City's population is primarily Latinx communities that are affected by the pollution. Suncor Refinery's plant is one of the main culprits for the high pollution rates in this area. This project is an effort to reconnect our Indigenous/BIPOC communities back to the land and to provide clean environments for the residents there.

Project Objectives
This project aims to provide mycelium to underserved communities, this is in the form of starting motherpatches. Motherpatches are patches of compost, fungi, leaf matter that is piled up in a residential property. This patch is the main patch of substance that is then used to create more material. During this process we will be launching nine more motherpatches in the Denver and Commerce city area. The purpose of these motherpatches is to provide a wider range to source our mycelium to get out to our families. Specific action steps we will take during this time are workshops and webinars for our families and youth to learn about the mycelium kits we will provide them. We will also reach out to schools to provide a more in-depth and educational training for our youth to learn how to use the grow kits we hand out. A part of our project is to see how much of the soil we can heal in the process. Through Ph testing and soil observations we will be able to document and provide evidence of the work that we are doing.