Fungi and plant based medicine is becoming more popular

Stephanie-Mack, Fungi and plant based medicine is becoming more popular, World News & Views
“My spirit just won’t let me be quiet about the wonders of plant medicine,” Stephanie Mack says.

by Minister of Information JR Valrey

From ‘20-’22, there was a scamdemic lockdown in the US and around the world where the governments, Big Pharma and mainstream media colluded to get most of the citizenry “medicated” with an experimental gene therapy that was sold to the public as a Covid vaccine. 

Millions around the nation and world complied out of scientific ignorance and being made to feel as if they were helpless against a human-created virus that was killing people at astronomical rates. Now that the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a government entity, has admitted publicly that the jab did not/does not prevent people from catching or spreading Covid, a colder reality should be wrestling for a spot in our brain: We need to accept sole responsibility for our own health instead of just following every beckoning order coming out of the mouths of politicians on television, who accept bribes and sponsorship from Big Pharma regularly. 

I met Stephanie Mack after being shot in the streets of Oakland in 2012, and she helped me to overcome the pain – the physical, mental and emotional pain associated with the traumatic ordeal that I went through – using cannabis products solely to heal instead of the pharmaceutical painkillers that were being prescribed to me. After diligently following her advice, months later with a lot of hard work, I was walking again, without having suffered from any chemical side effects since my program was plant based instead of pharmaceutical-chemical based. 

Plant enthusiast Stephanie Mack soon after created Calidad, a company offering plant-based products, plants, seeds and more. The rest is history. I appreciate her work, and I believe more people should educate themselves on the ancient science of plant and fungi medicine. Check out Stephanie Mack from Calidad, in her own words. 

JR Valrey: What inspired you to create Calidad? How long has it been around?

Stephanie Mack: I created Calidad in 2014 after attending horticulture school at Merritt College in Oakland. I wanted to find a way to marry my love for nature and outdoors with my extensive plant knowledge. Before attending horticulture school, I was an educator in the Oakland public schools teaching science, so it was a natural transition for me to establish a company where I teach my community how to grow their own food and medicine. 

Over the years Calidad has evolved as I find more and more ways to connect my community to food sovereignty and self sufficiency. What was first a company that focused purely on installing edible and medicinal gardens in urban settings is now a full lifestyle brand that offers green social events, online webinars and plant based products to serve my clients whole selves, mind, body and spirit. 

Calidad-logo-1400x1400, Fungi and plant based medicine is becoming more popular, World News & Views

JR Valrey: Can you talk about your interest in plant medicine? How did you develop it? 

Stephanie Mack: I was born in Redding, California, a rural part of Northern California, and while my parents split early in my childhood and I moved to Oakland with my mom and brother, I spent every summer and most holidays in Redding with my father, who is an avid outdoorsman. He had me fishing, hiking, camping, hunting and so much more. We kept chickens and cultivated a huge homestead including fruit trees and a substantial grape vineyard at my Dad’s. 

I was encouraged to be outdoors and often slept out under the stars in our backyard, studying the constellations. Even as I grew into young adulthood and moved away from home to pursue an undergraduate degree at UC Irvine, I remained consistent in my love for nature. As a biochemistry major, I became fascinated with the elemental makeup of all matter in this universe. 

This drove me further into self study and when I discovered the healing aspects of cannabis through recreational use, I dove feet first into plant science, herbalism and even the esoteric uses of common foods, herbs, plants and fungi. I found time in my home garden to be therapeutic, the best free therapy around. I knew that the calm and peace I felt could be experienced by others and especially helpful to my middle school and high school students who often suffered from high levels of stress and anxiety as a result of city living. 

So I made it a point to start a garden in each classroom and campus I touched. And when I left teaching after 13 years to pursue a deeper education in plant studies, I continued in my mission to plant up my community by installing an acre sized outdoor classroom at Community Day School in the Oakland Hills complete with raised bed gardens, a greenhouse and an in-ground vegetable plot that helped enhance the overall campus environment. 

JR Valrey: How did you start to become a student of growing marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms? What did you learn about their effect on the mind and mental health?

Stephanie Mack: A chance re-connection with a high school classmate led me to begin cultivating cannabis on a large scale for profit and to fund my passion projects. In order to stay legal and out of trouble with law enforcement I educated myself on California cannabis laws and became active in the various movements around legalizing-decriminalizing marijuana. 

I developed a cannabis infused butter which I marketed as “Ms. Parker’s Butta” and got active in showing how ingesting cannabis rather than smoking it had a myriad of health benefits for a range of health conditions. Connecting with individuals like you, JR Valrey, who was with KPFA at the time, afforded me a wider audience, and I’ve been advocating for cannabis consumption as an alternative to Western medicines ever since. 

My interest in psilocybin came about in 2019 after experiencing a serious bout with depression. Micro dosing shrooms helped pull me out of a dark place in a way that had little to no negative side effects. In fact, the psilocybin medicine opened me up in such a way that I was even more convinced I had to tell everyone in my community that it was a natural alternative to psych meds and a true healing tool for PTSD, anxiety and other mental maladies.

JR Valrey: What turned you into an advocate of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms?

Stephanie Mack: I’m just an outspoken person. I’ve never been shy about sharing my honest experiences with people who inquire. I was mentored by people like Elder Freeman of the Black Panther Party and other elders from my community who stressed the importance of sharing our knowledge with each other, standing and speaking on what is beneficial for the community as a whole. 

I’ve always been of a tribal mentality. For me that means when my people win, I win. And all we do is win. Even when we take an “L,” the lesson in the loss, the growth and evolution we experience as we process the loss is the real win. My spirit just won’t let me be quiet about the wonders of plant medicine. I’ve seen it change so many people’s lives for the better and improve the quality of life for so many chronically ill people. So whenever I’m provided a platform to share what I know I take full advantage. 

JR Valrey: With marijuana recently being legalized in the last five years, what are your thoughts regarding psilocybin mushrooms becoming legalized in the Bay Area?

Stephanie Mack: Psilocybin is a very safe and effective natural healing tool and there is nothing illegal about its moderate consumption. Debating the legality of a naturally occurring substance really kind of baffles me. Like Smokey said in the movie “Friday,” “God made this for you and for me!” Our time is better spent educating folks about responsible use of natural medicines than wasting taxpayer dollars on incarceration of nonviolent citizens. 

Access to healthcare, education, housing and natural resources is a birthright of all people, especially in these current times where we’ve been conditioned to be so disconnected from each other and the natural world. 

JR Valrey: What is your definition of drugs? Do herbs and fungi fit into that definition? Why or why not?

Stephanie Mack: I prefer not to use the term drug and instead refer to weed and shrooms as plant medicine because they truly are healing entities. Drugs just mask or manage symptoms; they do not heal the ailment. Medicines actually heal. For me that’s the difference. 

JR Valrey: What other kinds of plants do you use for healing? What do they heal?

Stephanie Mack: I use a wide variety of herbs, roots, seeds and minerals for my personal health and in the products I produce for my online botanica. Some of my favorites are the calming herbs like lemon balm, chamomile, lavender, which assist with nervous system regulation. 

I’m also a big fan of digestive herbs like mint, ginger root and even chicory. A balanced gut and intestinal flora is the key to both mental and physical health. Just working with plants, having a relationship with them is healing to the spirit. We engage all five of our senses when we commune with plants and nature and doing so is super restorative. Earth can be a real ghetto at times. But a garden can offer a sanctuary. A place to heal and a place to ground ourselves and stay centered. 

JR Valrey: Does Calidad have any upcoming events?

Stephanie Mack: I’ve been curating green social events for the past five years. Plant & Sip as well as Plant & Puff are my version of a green social event where participants can come learn some basic plant care techniques in a fun environment. My next event, Plant & Puff: The Halloweed Edition is being held Oct. 28 in Oakland. We’ve secured a beautiful plant filled oasis loft space for this spooky themed sesh. We’ll have a little something for everyone and I’m looking forward to having a community gathering centered around plant medicine. 

Plant-Puff-flyer, Fungi and plant based medicine is becoming more popular, World News & Views

JR Valrey: Where can people connect with you online? 

Stephanie Mack: I pop up at Lake Merritt from time to time and sell my hand crafted products, plants, seeds and more. I’m most active on Instagram @calidadbotanica and @plantandpuffsesh, where I post reels on growing your own medicine and food. I’m launching my website and online store Oct. 4, 2023, so be sure to visit to stay current on all my events and offerings. 

JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, is also the editor in chief of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. He teaches the Community Journalism class twice a week at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper office.