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June 5, 2023

There is mushroom for all in Adelaide’s foraging community

Mushrooms have bloomed in forests throughout South Australia, igniting Adelaide's online and irl foraging community.

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  • Words: Elisabeth Marie
  • Pictures: Edward McCarroll

The drizzle of rain doesn’t reach CityMag through the canopy of soaring pine trees as we follow our guide through the forest.

“That’s one of the benefits of knowing your trees, you can find your mushrooms right away,” Kate Grigg says, leaning over to brush debris off a small, maroon cap.


For more information on Kate’s business, The Wild Food Huntress, visit the website.

Join the Australian Wild Mushroom Hunters Facebook group here.

She holds up the mushroom and we look at it, then glance back at our nearby car. Less than a minute into our adventure and we’ve already found our first mushroom. We’re impressed.

Kate, also known as The Wild Food Huntress, is moderator of the Facebook group Australian Wild Mushroom Hunters.

The group was created a decade ago by Mel Haynes, who wanted to document her porcini finds and connect with other local foragers.

Kate joined the group when there were only a few hundred members and was asked by Mel to help moderate the group as it grew.

“For me, it is all about education and keeping people safe, but also spreading the word about how cool fungi are,” she says. “It has definitely moved from a purely edible page to something a bit more broad and educational.”

As the group has boomed to more than 35,000 members, Kate’s job as moderator has grown, and she’s brought more people on board to help manage the “mushroom dickheads”.

“It’s just like any other community – you get the goods and you get the bads,” she says. “You get the friendly people who are more than happy to share locations and be helpful, but it is the entitled people who are harder to deal with.”

Kate Grigg with a basket full of deliciousness.


Kate brings to her role as moderator 25 years’ experience working in biodiversity.

She started a degree in Biodiversity, Environmental and Park Management at the University of South Australia before switching to an apprenticeship in Conservation Land Management with the City of Burnside.


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Kate now works on the biodiversity team at the City of Unley.

“I do revegetation and regeneration of bushlands, and a lot of that has been hand weeding,” she says. “While I am down on the ground, I am always finding fungi, so it was a natural progression for me.”

Kate began researching mushroom foraging workshops around the state but wasn’t entirely happy with the information coming out of them and decided to start her own.

“This might sound a bit egotistical, but I felt like I had a duty to educate people,” Kate says.

“The best way to teach people about mushrooms is through their bellies, so if I can get people to come along under the guise of ‘I will tell you what you can eat’, I have the opportunity to teach them about how awesome fungi are along the way.

“Hopefully people leave my workshops with a little more respect for the mushroom kingdom.”

Through her workshops and the online group, Kate has formed a real-world community of friends and fellow foragers.

“There is a great community and there are people from all over Australia that I have met and are now friends with – and one mortal enemy,” Kate says with a laugh.

“Last week I was in the Blue Mountains with Diego Bonetto, who I met on Instagram, and yesterday I had lunch with Mel, who started the group and is now one of my bestest friends.”

As demonstrated by the ever-growing Australian Wild Mushroom Hunters group, foraging is becoming more popular, as local chefs advocate for seasonality and zero-waste cooking.

“Even Jimmy Barnes’s wife picks and cooks saffron milk caps each year, and he posts about them on social media,” Kate says.

“It’s those stories that increase the number of people interested in foraging.”

Amanita muscaria – do not eat!


CityMag quickly gets the sense of how easy it is to become passionate about foraging. Within twenty minutes, we’ve found nearly a dozen different types of mushrooms – some edible, some toxic, some “magical”.

Many people join the mushroom foraging Facebook group without reading the clearly stated rule: “this is not a site for getting identification on psychoactive, psychedelic mushrooms”. But they end up engaging with the group in other ways and discovering the benefits of foraging for food.

“Magic mushrooms are a gateway drug into foraging,” Kate says, grinning.

For foraging beginners, Kate recommends searching for saffron milk caps and purchasing the book Wild Mushrooming by Alison Pouliot and Tom May.

Kate doesn’t think you have to be a particular type of person to enjoy foraging; it’s not just a hobby for “hippies” or “survivalists”.

“It connects you with nature. Like, how nice was it just going for a walk, picking some mushrooms and having a chat?” she says.

“That is good no matter what kind of a person you are.”

One of these is a saffron milk cap.

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