MS: What was your pivotal moment in life that made you take this direction?
AD: Since a young kid I've dealt with various major health issues which resulted in me being invested in taking control of personal health and wellness. It's part of my world view that we are not separate from the rest of the world and the health of our bodies is also the health of the planet and vice versa. Mushrooms and fungi play a crucial part in supporting the health of our ecosystems and our bodies and are at the center point of everything we do.
MS: What made you want to be what you are now?
AD: Fungi are one of the most important yet under-appreciated organisms on the planet. I've always been a little misunderstood, a rebel and liked things on the fringe. In a lot of ways I admired fungi for that and wanted to give them the spotlight I think they deserve.
MS: How did you get started/where did you begin?
AD: First semester of college I took a heroic dose of psilocybin mushrooms and because of it was able to get off the medication I was on for depression and anxiety and was able to ween off my addiction to cigarettes. This launched me head first into the mycology world tasting the true power they had to transform lives. From there, there was no turning back.
MS: What are your favorite parts about what you do?
AD: I feel like I'm an explorer at every moment. The mycology world is so new and undiscovered that every step on any path in this field is new and extraordinary. Everyday you can be the first in the world to do something new in the field, so it feels really special.
MS: What are your short-term and/or long-term goals at the moment?
AD: Short term goals are to grow Mushroom Revival in order to reach the most people in the world. Long term goals are to be able to live a happy life with loved ones traveling the world doing fun research with mushrooms.
MS: Do you have advice for people interested in the same field?
AD: My advice for people in the same field is to find what you're good at, what you love/are passionate about, what pays the bills, and what the world needs.
MS: What is something(s) you wish you knew in the beginning?
AD: I always wish I started at a younger age, but at the same time, everything happens for a reason in divine timing.
MS: Who/what are your biggest inspirations?
AD: Fungi are my biggest inspiration!
MS: What is your favorite food/drink-related memory?
AD: The best meal I've ever had was in Iceland with my family for my partner Lera's birthday. We had just got off the plane and went to this upscale sushi restaurant. We were so full but could not stop eating because it was so delicious.
MS: What is your favorite quote(s) and why?
AD: "Be Here Now" - The best instruction manual for life.
MS: What is your favorite meal and/or drink to share?
AD: I make a pretty mean vegan breakfast sandwich, so I love making that for people. But honestly cooking or buying people food is one of the top things that brings me joy in life. I love knowing I can nourish other people and give them pleasure, but also it's the Zen practice of being unattached to the thing that nourishes and gives pleasure. You spent so much time chopping and cooking and presenting this beautiful meal and it disappears in a matter of moments. I think of it like a sand mandala with all the colors and beauty and then in a matter of moments, it disappears.
MS: What is your ideal day in the work life?
AD: I really enjoy educating. Days when I'm teaching classes or talking on podcasts, etc., are the most rewarding for me. It breaks up the monotonous computer work and meetings and reminds me again why I feel so deeply in love with fungi in the first place.
MS: What is your ideal non-work day?
AD: Eating good food, being with loved ones, being in nature, using my body, and also relaxing.
MS: What are some things that keep you going?
AD: The sense of discovery is big for me. Knowing that most all the projects we are working on are groundbreaking and first in the world/the U.S. is super special to me. Also getting reviews from people that it's really changing their life in a positive way reassures me I'm doing the right thing.
MS: What does supporting local mean to you?
AD: I would critically think in a systems thinking lens. There are many factors to take into consideration, not just "local". Local most of the time is what you want to pick, but not 100% of the time. Just like any label. But as much as people can put their money into local communities that are doing it "right", by all means this is super important.
MS: What is your favorite book?
AD: Be Here Now by Ram Das. Such a deep book/instruction manual for living a spiritually fulfilling life.
MS: What is your favorite song?
AD: Loneliness by Chronnix. Lyrically I don't really resonate with the song but the whole feel, rhythm, tone of the song is incredible.
MS: What is your favorite location?
AD: Here and now.
MS: If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be?
AD: Our awareness/consciousness problem. Us humans seem to be the only organisms on the planet that forgot we are not separate from nature. The faster we remember this the faster we can start getting along and working to be symbiotic organisms with each other and the planet.
MS: Unusual food preference?
AD: I really love Nattō which is a super unique food. To quote wikipedia "Nattō is a traditional Japanese food made from soybeans that have been fermented with Bacillus subtilis var. natto. It is often served as a breakfast food. It is served with karashi mustard, soy or tare sauce, and sometimes Japanese bunching onion."
MS: How do you align your business decisions with your values each day?
AD: It's a constant practice of ebbing, flowing and balancing. It's really a meditative practice of constantly checking in throughout the day and questioning if this is aligned with my integrity, morals, values, and mission. Having other people to bounce off of definitely better holds up the mirror as well.
MS: What is the most valuable advice you’ve received?
AD: The most valuable advice that has been resonating recently actually came from my mother which she used to tell me as a kid. She said something along the lines of... think of life and business as operating an ice cream shop. We're all tempted to create all these fanciful flavors and toppings but if we don't get our chocolate and vanilla staples down, the rest is for nothing. One can have an incredibly successful ice cream shop just offering incredibly delicious and mastered vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Basically have a strong foundation and master the foundations before trying to spin too many plates and overcomplicate things.
MS: What was a challenge you did not expect to overcome that you did?
AD: I used to be incredibly depressed as a kid, and I didn't think that would ever change. Luckily to my surprise I rebounded dramatically and would say I'm a pretty genuinely happy person today.
MS: Looking back on life, how have you or values shifted or refined?
AD: I didn't grow up caring much about health or the environment really. I grew up eating cereal, pizza, pasta/mac and cheese almost every meal with soda for much of my childhood. To think I would be investing in health now would be a shock to my early self. In my teenage and college years I hung out with a lot of people who were very against capitalism and shaped my worldview accordingly. I had this view that making money was evil and it wasn't until I actually had my own business that I was able to empathize and see the world in my complex colors. Everything is not black and white but a complex symphony of yin and yang.
MS: What are you most proud of and why?
AD: I would say I'm most proud of the podcast. It feels special to be able to connect with hundreds of innovative trailblazing mycologists all around the world and share their stories with everyone else. A lot of these humble scientists like to stay in the shadows and don't know how to market their amazing research so it feels humbling and like a huge honor to be able to put the spotlight on their work.
MS: What does being a part of a community mean to you? / What does community mean to you?
AD: My definition is definitely changing throughout time, and to be honest I haven't fully figured it out. But I think above all being part of a group of organisms who all have the same 10,000 feet goal. I think all organisms on the planet are all one big community trying to survive, then all humans, then people in the US, your state, town, neighborhood, interest group, etc. You might not see eye to eye on all things but probably have the same 10,000 feet goals.