Name of Partner: POC Fungi Community
Location: San Diego County, with national reach.
What do they do?
POC Fungi Community is a community-led, self-organized group that identifies itself as a community resource and knowledge sharing hub that aims to increase access to fungi and representation for marginalized communities. Specifically, they believe, “community-based learning and going outdoors together in a respectful manner and honoring the land we’re on is of utmost importance.” POC Fungi Community facilitates mycology-related events and education programs, working at the intersections of climate justice, food access, and social justice. The group was co-founded by local San Diego parent and naturalist, Mario Ceballos (he/they), who is an Indigenous person of Yaqui ancestry. Mario has a deep interest, passion, and expertise in exploring community-centered educational opportunities in the natural world through an inclusive, ecological, medicinal, and Indigenous ancestral lens.
How do they partner with CCH?
POC Fungi Community is a partner of our Urban Food Equity team, initially collaborating in 2022 to support the growth of POC Fungi Community’s mycology educational efforts focused on the reclamation of huitlacoche, an Indigenous fungus that grows naturally on corn. We helped the group purchase and build a cooking cart for community food demonstrations featuring huitlacoche and fund the production of their brilliant short film, Flor de Maiz. In 2023, we worked together to host community food justice events at Foodshed and Sherman Heights Community Center. We most recently worked together at the San Diego Food System Alliance Gathering in October to offer a session entitled, Working With Our Ancestral Foods as Resistance.
What did we say?
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to work with Mario and POC Fungi Community to support their mission. Mario has offered me new perspective to how I approach my work at CCH, supported me as a fellow parent and neighbor, and re-enlivened my passion to be in connection with the land, my cultural identity, and to work in continued service alongside community members to reclaim and preserve their ancestral foodways.” -Elle Mari, UCSD CCH Urban Food Equity Director
Check out POC Fungi Community on social media: