Connecticut Foraging Club: Meet the Instructors

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Amy Demers, founder of Connecticut Foraging Club

Amy Demers is a Doctor of Physical Therapy who started the Connecticut Foraging Club in 2021. Amy started CT Foraging Club as there were no free foraging clubs in CT. 

Amy foraged for berries and field garlic as a child, but became interested in mushroom foraging after listening to a talk by Paul Stamets in 2019 on the medicinal benefits of mushrooms. Amy has since learned how to forage for a variety of wild mushrooms, including maitake, chicken of the woods, oyster mushrooms, lion’s mane, chanterelles, honey mushrooms, wine caps, morels, chaga, hemlock reishi, and turkey tails. Amy loves the diversity of flavors in wild mushrooms. She also makes her own medicinal mushroom teas and tinctures to boost her immune system and improve overall health.



Joe Ross, founder of

Joe Ross (aka “Joe Forager”) has been foraging in Connecticut for over 20 years. He is the creator of the website His website focuses on building plant and mushroom identification skills as a foundation for foraging. One of Joe’s primary goals in the foraging community is to help make foraging more accessible to people around the US and beyond.



Vinny Crotta, forager and chef

Vinny began foraging a number of years ago when he decided to learn to make his own medicine from the plants of the forests, fields, and seaside. He had always dreamed of working with plants and after college he decided to make this dream a reality. Vinny joined Connecticut Foraging Club to help him get started and began doing extensive research to see what he could learn.

“What I found was that I lived in one of the most incredible biomes in the world and that there are a plethora of fungi and plants that not only offered opportunities for medicine making but also, for new culinary delights.”



Steve Makowicki, founder of Two Spores Farm

Steve Makowicki is a citizen scientist and founder of Two Spores Farm. He found mushrooms as a medicinal tool in 2019 and began researching mushroom foraging and cultivation. He specializes in sustainable mushroom farming and off the grid cultivation techniques.

Steve forages and cultivates plants and mushrooms to make tinctures and other herbal extracts. He currently grows Lion’s Mane, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Nameko and various Oyster mushrooms.



Amelia South, founder of Black Sun Farm

Amelia South has been foraging on and off since 2006. She really kicked into gear around 2019 when her Herbalism studies took off. Amelia teaches foraging walks (both public and private) mainly in the Quiet Corner area but travels all over the state to get people excited about wild foods and medicines.



Erik Harris, founder of Chi for Healing

Erik’s lifelong connection to nature began in childhood, where he found solace in the woods and immersing himself in the natural world. Facing spinal injuries, digestive issues, and Lyme disease, he turned to natural medicine to heal. His healing journey deepened through plant medicine, herbalism, and medicinal aromatherapy, sparked by a college encounter with a teacher of Native American primitive skills in 2001. Learning to forage for wild food marked a pivotal awakening, showing Erik the healing power of nature.

Erik offers products with plant medicine, crafting herbal tinctures, teas, and salves from wild plants and mushrooms that he forages for. His mushroom blends include Reishi, Maitake, Turkey Tail, Birch Polypore, and more. He also grows mushrooms in his yard with logs, stumps, and beds consisting of shiitakes, oysters, lion’s mane, and wine caps.



Katie Kasuga, Earth enthusiast

Katie started walking the plant path when, as a nurse, she became fed up with the medical-industrial complex and started seeking a more holistic and empowering approach to health. She studied herbalism with 7Song in hopes of bridging the gap between conventional and alternative medicine, encouraging people to take their health into their own hands. Her focus is to educate others and foster a sense of deep reverence, connection, and reciprocity with the land that nourishes us.

Stellaria media – Chickweed

Chickweed (Stellaria media) is a common edible green that was brought here from Europe. Chickweed can be identified by its teardrop-shaped leaves that grow opposite

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