Announcing the Tropical Fungi Summit – A Maintainers Movement Fellow Event, led by Rheanna Chen



What can we learn from fungi for a more caring and regenerative society and planet? The hope of this event is to inspire many about the regenerative role of mushrooms in the Tropics and beyond. There is much still to learn!

In these difficult times, there is a lot that can be learned from mushrooms– from lessons in ecology, agribusiness, gastronomy, medicine and design. Mushrooms are the future and this event will be a fung-tastic exploration into their world, especially in the Tropics, where there is little known. In this event, we’ll look at mushrooms as regenerative teachers for care, repair, and maintenance through the lens of a forest guide, scientist, mushroom cultivator, chef, psychedelic integration coach, and designer. Mushrooms serve as symbols of solidarity, and support our society and planet in endless ways than we can even imagine.

Register for the event here!

This event will take place online between 1-2:30 PM PDT | 3-4:30 PM CDT | 4-5:30 PM EDT


  1. Carl Fitzjames: Forest guide, Scientist – Trinidad
  2. Chris Martin: Mushroom Cultivator – Trinidad
  3. Justine Garcia: Chef – Trinidad
  4. Ana Montano: Psychedelic Integration Coach – Trinidad
  5. Sam Bennett: Designer – NY

Guest Speaker – William Goss: Mycologist of 14 years – CA

This is a no-cost event, however if you wish to purchase a pay-what-you-wish ticket, you can do so by choosing one of the Attendee Ticket tiers when you register for the event. Proceeds will be used for Movement Fellow speaker honoraria and event operating costs. Thank you!


About The Maintainers Movement Fellow and event lead:

Ecologist, Food Justice Advocate, Community Worker, and Mindfulness teacher

Rheanna Chen

Ecologist, Food Justice Advocate, Community Worker, and Mindfulness teacher

Rheanna is devoted to the world of ecology, art and connection. She has a lifelong commitment to sustainable development in the Caribbean; using strong systems thinking, capacity building and communication skills to design inclusive spaces for food sovereignty, climate resilience and community empowerment. The loss of her mother to leukaemia at age 4, sparked her interest in holistic health and her journey as yoga/ mindfulness teacher over the last 15 years. She has a Bsc in International Agriculture Development and a Masters in Gastronomy. She is currently based in Trinidad, at Ajoupa Pottery where you will find her in the garden, making pottery and focused on hospitality and food. She lives by the philosophy- grow, gather and nourish.


About the Speakers:

Image of Carl Fitzjames smiling with glasses in a forest near a creek.

Carl Fitzjames – Ecology

Forest guide, Scientist, Naturalist

Living in a rural community on the edge of Trinidad’s tropical rain forest, Carl spends most of his time in nature – planting, observing, exploring, learning and sharing with local and foreign visitors. An avid gardener and lover of all things nature, he’s excited to share some of his mushroom love and to keep learning too,



Image of Chris Martin holding two mycelium grow kits in his hands. 

Chris Martin- Agri Business

Mushroom Cultivator

Chris has been working with mushrooms over 4 years as a mycelium cultivator and distributor, supplying the market with locally grown, gourmet and medicinal mushrooms as well as extracts. Due to his hardworking and driven nature, he now offers a full variety of products ranging from tinctures, grow kits and fresh/ dried reishi, oyster, lions mane mushrooms and trametes. He describes it as an empowering experience.


Image of Chef Justine adding details to a plate of food.

Justine Garcia- Culinary

Chef, Artist

Chef Justine completed her degree at Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute. She has worked under Michelin trained chefs in top restaurants across the island. She received the Best Pastries and Desserts Award from the Table Talk Awards 2015 for her work as Head Pastry Chef for Zazou Bistro in the Country Club, the number one fine dining restaurant in the country at the time. She is private chef caterer that offers multi course fine dining, well known for her line of vegan, mushroom inspired menu items.



Image of Ana Montano near a fence with a blurry background of trees.

Ana Montano – Medicinal

Psycho-spiritual guide

Ana has a deep passion in exploring transpersonal states of consciousness, specifically through the use of entheogenic medicines. A graduate of California Institute of Integral Studies, she believes these substances are our allies from both the Earth & Cosmos. They are incredible tools that possess great power that we can truly benefit from when respected and used with reverence. Deep dive into the psyche through a myriad of methods to discover, recover and remember their organic self.



Portrait of Sam Bennett smiling, wearing a black turtleneck shirt.

Sam Bennett – Design

Ethnographer, Maker, and Designer

Sam believes in slow research that minimally impacts our planet and advocates for human well- being. You can find her investigating people’s relationships to objects in the domestic space, making with mycelium and discarded materials, and co-running Repair Shop. She is a senior researcher at Healthy Materials Lab and also teaches at Parsons School of Design, Pratt Institute, and New Jersey Institute of Technology in the Interior Design and Industrial Design departments.


Cropped image in a circle of William holding up a found mushroom.

William Goss 


William studied, researched, foraged and cultivated fungi for 14+ years. He studied under and was mentored by leading mycologists Dr. Mike Davis, and Dr. Thomas Gordon, Department Chair of Plant Pathology. He graduated from UC Davis with a degree in plant genetics, and a minor in mycology. He was grower supervisor and the water Systems operator for Monterey Mushrooms at the continent’s largest organic mushroom farm. He implemented best practices for maximizing fungal cultivation while scaling a biotech start-up, growing and processing mushroom mycelium, disrupting the conventional leather industry. He is currently the Mycology Director for the California Psilocybin Decriminalization Initiative.

The Maintainers is a global research network interested in the concepts of maintenance, infrastructure, repair, and the myriad forms of labor and expertise that sustain our human-built world. Our members come from a variety of backgrounds, including engineers, business leaders, academic historians, social scientists, government, non-profit agencies, artists, activists, coders, and more.

To stay up to date with The Maintainers, you can learn more about the Maintainers Movement Fellowship and follow along for other upcoming events on Twitter