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Mushroom and Plant-Based Foray with Diane Borsato and SVIMS

Join us as we host a mushroom and plant-based foray, with artist Diane Borsato, and the Southern Vancouver Island Mycological Society’s (SVIMS) Kem Luther and Andy MacKinnon!

In relation to the exhibition Symbiosis, we’ll gather on the land, under the forest’s canopy and gather wild mushrooms and plants. During the foray, we will learn from the mycologists and Diane about the linguistic, cultural, edible, medicinal and ecological meanings of the collected mushroom and flora specimens. Rain or shine we’ll be out learning on the land with our mycological and artistic experts and we hope to see you there dressed for whatever weather we find that day. There will be an opportunity to hear from the curators of Symbiosis and Indigenous perspectives on interconnectivity of culture, land, flora and fauna.

This is an offsite workshop – (exact location TBD, ticket holders will be sent locations via email 5 days before the event)

Participants are recommended to bring a packed lunch and bottle of water.



Diane Borsato is an award-winning artist, writer, educator, amateur mycologist and beekeeper – who works closely with other artists and amateur naturalists.  She has performed and exhibited in Canada and internationally at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario, The Power Plant, the AGYU, the Art Museum at the University of Toronto, the Walter Philips Gallery at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Art Centre Fogo Island Arts, the Creative Time Summit, and at the Toronto Biennial of Art. She recently published two books, Outdoor School: Contemporary Environmental Art (2021) co-edited with Amish Morrell, and MUSHROOMING: The Joy of the Quiet Hunt (2022) – a field guide to mushrooms and fungi in contemporary art. She is also Associate Professor of Experimental Studio at the University of Guelph, where she teaches courses exploring live, site-responsive and environmental art practices. See her work here.

Kem Luther is a naturalist and writer. He grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills, studied at Cornell, the University of Chicago, and the University of Toronto, and taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Sheridan College, York University, and the University of Toronto. When he moved from a home on Ontario’s Grand River to the southern tip of Vancouver Island in 2004, he developed an abiding passion to know the mushrooms of western North America. Besides Mushrooms of British Columbia, Kem is the author of six books, including Boundary Layer (Oregon State University Press, 2016). He has been secretary and speaker coordinator for the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS).

Andy MacKinnon‘s recent research interests include ecology of BC’s ectomycorrhizal fungal species. He was lead BC scientist for Environment Canada’s 2017 ranking of the province’s threatened and endangered fungal species. Andy has taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC). He has also taught mushroom identification courses in Tofino (for the Rainforest Education Society) and in Victoria. He is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America and co-author of the Royal BC Museum Handbook Mushrooms of British Columbia. He is past-president of the South Vancouver Island Mycological Society (SVIMS).

Kem and Andy, who both live in Metchosin, BC, are cofounders of the Metchosin Biodiversity Project ( They are enthusiastic participants, speakers, and field trip leaders for various mushroom festivals in southwestern BC each autumn.