Cooking Up Creativity, Community and Rest with Tara Thomas
Ep 24

Cooking Up Creativity, Community and Rest with Tara Thomas

Episode Summary: 

It’s a beautiful time to be in conversation with the lovely Tara Thomas. Tara is a chef, community organizer, and co-founder of the nonprofit, Breaking Bread, and also provides consulting and creative direction in the world of food. In this episode, we chat about her deep hunger (literally) and passion for food ethics and how that evolved into a career focused on bringing awareness to people’s authority over their wellbeing. 

Show Notes:

Tara shares how her work life and personal life needed to blend, and we discuss Tara’s vision dedicated to food politics and changing the world, as well as the importance of rest in contrast to buzzy creative energy. Plus, Tara shares her relationships to fungi and mushrooms and compares notes on what kind of mushroom we’re currently foraging. 

We can all bring more awareness and appreciation to our food. Tara believes that food sovereignty allows us to understand where our food comes from and serves as guidance for bringing ethical standards throughout every process of producing food — it affects everything and everyone involved. 

This is a beautiful conversation about creativity, community, and how food sovereignty can provide authority in our own life to nourish ourselves and our communities. 

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or on your favorite podcast platform. 

Topics Covered:

  • Tara’s entrance into food and imagination as a kid
  • How dropping out of school was Tara’s way of finding authority 
  • Tara’s interest in studying food politics and the ethics behind food  
  • The story of Breaking Bread’s launch during the Geroge Floyd protests
  • Rest as resistance in comparison to the energetic creative buzz
  • Tara’s love of foraging and what mushrooms have taught her

Guest Info: 

Follow Me:


Show Transcript 

Tonya Papanikolov  00:04

Hi, welcome to the Rainbo Podcast. I'm your host, Tonya Papanikolov. Rainbo and I are on a mission to upgrade humanity with fungi and expand the collective conscious. This podcast builds a virtual mycelial network of bold, open minded thinkers and seekers. I chat with experts, thought leaders, healers, scientists, entrepreneurs, spiritual teachers, activists, and dreamers. These are stories of healing, human potential and expansion. Tune in route in expand and journey with us.


Tonya Papanikolov  00:46

Hello, Tara. 


Tara Thomas  00:48



Tonya Papanikolov  00:49

Hi. Thank you so much for coming on. And being here and chatting with me today. 


Tara Thomas  00:57

Yes, thank you so much for inviting me into this conversation into the Rainbo world. It's always, 


Tonya Papanikolov  01:05

Always truly Always a pleasure. So I like to start our combos with something sharing something we're both grateful for. So whether you, buddy you're feeling grateful for today.


Tara Thomas  01:15

I am feeling grateful for the sunshine here in Oslo. And it the sun just started just it was cloudy all day. And it just broke out just now. So I'm very grateful for this moment. Getting some sunshine. 


Tonya Papanikolov  01:34

I love that I feel like also in Canada are pretty like level in terms of Yeah, similar climates and whatnot. 


Tara Thomas  01:41

Yeah, it's pretty, like I reside in New York. And it's like 20 Celsius there right now. And I'm here and I'm like, like eight degrees and like,


Tara Thomas  01:50

Okay. I'm like, oh, it's like cloudy and, you know, raining throughout the day. But yeah, always at the end of the day. It's like Sunny, which I feel like is very classic, neon water where you're like, This sun is going to sleep.


Tonya Papanikolov  02:07

That's fair. I've been we've been having so many rainy days too. And yesterday woke up with like blue skies. And all of the birds chirping. I feel like I'm really grateful for morning's hearing. Like the songs of the birds. There's a specific one and I don't I feel like I'm gonna I don't know if I'm gonna become a birder in my life at some point. 


Tonya Papanikolov  02:29

But like, it's very intriguing to me, but there's this one song that it's just like, like lulls me out of my sleep and into wakefulness, and it's so beautiful. I love that. I think it's like also so much so special in the springtime, when they're like meeting I feel like the songs are different. Like they're like, yeah, the true. Nice. Yeah. Yeah, that's very true. So for our audience, how are you describing yourself these days?


Tara Thomas  02:58

Oh, my goodness. I am a chef. And I am a community organizer. I co founded a nonprofit called Breaking bread, a food sovereignty based commission. And yeah, I work like within, like, the consulting world of food, and also just like, yeah, creative directing things trying to do everything that I love, and I'm an Aquarius. 


Tonya Papanikolov  03:30

So are you also wait, what's your human design as well? 


Tara Thomas  03:35

I'm a projector. 


Tonya Papanikolov  03:37

I knew it. I knew it. I knew. I think we have talked about that before. But I was like, No, she's definitely like, for sure. I get that energy from both of us. We both are. 


Tara Thomas  03:47

Yeah, I feel like I'm like around a lot of projectors or manifester generators. It's like, those, 


Tonya Papanikolov  03:53

I think most of my team actually Michelle's a projector, but most of my team is I think manifesting generators. We did like a full, it was really cool to, to bring us all together and like look at it that way. But that's, that's beautiful. And you create a lot of beauty. And you create a lot of change. And, you know, I've I've always really been so drawn to your food philosophy and your interaction. I think you're also like, I just love hearing your talk and also your writing. Anytime I've kind of like read a piece by you. It's always sort of so far. And where did this mission I know a little bit about your history and background moving to New York, like Yeah, where did this interest in food come from? And how does it continue to evolve for you?


Tara Thomas  04:44

Yeah, that's it's always I feel like I'm understanding that more and more as like, I get deeper into it, but I think I've always been like a very hungry person, like as a kid. Yeah, I was very particular with my food. I loved it. been involved in the creation of my food and just from a young age I loved, like cooking and watching cooking shows, and my favorite place to play was in our backyard and the garden. And I like really felt like that was my like place that I really, like had authority of I was like, could be like my most Free Self, because my mom would be like, go outside if you're like, you know, acting crazy. 


Tara Thomas  05:22

And then that's where I could like, really adventure with my imagination. And I used to pretend to make food, like I would make dishes with like flowers and grass and rocks and dirt. And like, really use the sun to dry things. And a lot of the things as like, I've gotten older and like learned about gardening and different plants and foraging. A lot of those ingredients are actually edible. My mom's like, don't eat that. And I was like, but it smells so good. And I know that they a lot of them are edible. And yeah, I feel like that. Just being able to think that was like what felt the most intuitive and connect, like in my connection to like the earth. 


Tara Thomas  06:03

And I just always kind of chased that. But I never saw it as a career until I was 19. Like I really focused on what I was like told was my career was like to get like a job or whatever. So I really aligned with like science and math and school, I did like half of a degree for Civil and Environmental Engineering. And then I dropped out and was like, fuck it, I want to pursue food. Because at that point, food was like the one thing that was grounding me when I was like, stressed, I was like, I want to make a dish. 


Tara Thomas  06:42

And then I was like, you know, I'm going to just go into food, because everyone was like, You're so good at this. I'm like, No, I don't feel so like affirmed and like, engineering career. And I learned that very quickly that like what I wanted to do to change the world was not going to be that accessible there. And so here I am. 


Tonya Papanikolov  07:01

I like what you said about authority, I was just having a conversation with this wonderful evolutionary astrologists the other day, and, you know, we were talking about authority, and like in the sense of like, like someone standing in their own authority. And I was like, thinking about what that means and feels and looks like and how it must be very different for everybody else. 


Tonya Papanikolov  07:26

And I also know that as projectors, it's like, that's a pretty key piece. And that we're also here to like experience and do things in our own way. So I just I'm kind of been curious for the last few days about this authority piece and, and like diving into it further a bit. But what is that, like? What does it feel like for you? I guess it's kind of like alignment, right? Like it just feeling like strong, but I'd love to hear how you kind of describe it. 


Tara Thomas  07:54

Yeah, I feel like I'm such a homebody. And like the last like three weeks, I've been traveling a lot and I've been feeling like I don't really have authority, like I'm kind of like mentally having a bit of like a toddler tantrum sometimes, like, not having all my things and like, I can't, because I don't have what like makes me feel good. But obviously, I like put myself in that position. 


Tara Thomas  08:21

Because I was like, Tara, you need to travel you need to, like not be such a homebody. So, for authority, usually, it's like when I'm feeling like I'm like an environment where I feel like free. And that I'm able to, like, make the decisions that I want for like my day and be able to that yeah, like collaborate with other people around me and how we're gonna get something done. 


Tara Thomas  08:47

And yeah, I mean, I feel like authority is a very interesting topic to dive into. What about you? 


Tonya Papanikolov  08:59

I think that what you just said, like really rang true for me too, about a sense of freedom. But like, for me, it's been really unrestricted. So and that's like, as a challenge to achieve I'm sure for you too. Because like schedules are real. And then sometimes my days will be filled with calls. And so I think that like non restriction is really interesting to play with because there are a lot of restrictions are like, how do you say it like, not boxes, but just these like formulas that your days can end up looking like? 


Tonya Papanikolov  09:33

And for me some of that, like, true? Like, I think creativity is a form of authority, where like, you know, you can create something and you're like, Ah, just like that feels so good. That act and like that, for me is like even if I don't know Yeah, for me, creativity, maybe is related to it in some way. But it's also like, I space 


Tonya Papanikolov  09:57

no form of authority is like the ability to create because you're like, yeah, that's your freewill or whatever you're like, Okay, now I have well, yeah, totally, it isn't an interesting topic to think about. And I think it probably it's for sure differs for every person. Everybody has, like a different place that they feel their authority really coming out in. 


Tara Thomas  10:20

I think that's probably why like, dropped out of school and like, pursued this because I was like, I need like authority. In my life. I was like, I understand that like, but like, oh, there's work and there's personal life and like, I don't think so I was like, Yeah,


Tara Thomas  10:36

gosh, I want to not I want to blend my life. And I want my life to not feel like I'm a work person and a personal person. I want to surround myself with people who are passionate, and excited and dedicated. And, yeah, I feel like I was like, why I don't want to separate that. I want to love the people I work with, like they’re family. And I want to see.


Tonya Papanikolov  11:02

So so so resonate with that. And then you got to New York, where you just like, so thrilled and excited to be in that energy. Because, like, yeah, in that energy, 


Tara Thomas  11:16

I don't really know honestly. Okay, because you went to plant lab, right? Yes. Oh, yes. Other I think is like, through Viola, yes, Viola plant lab, and viola, that world. That is why I came to New York is I was going to like finish my like plant lab certificates for raw and cooking. 


Tara Thomas  11:43

And I was like, already, like, I dropped out of like, university the year before. And I started my business doing like catering and like food experience with hospitality. And then my dad was like, Okay, if you're dropping out of school, you need to go to culinary school, you need to get some kind of education. And I was like, fine. And then I found plant lab. And then I was like, Oh, I love it. But


Tara Thomas  12:08

I remember I was just like, not excited, again, wasn't not very pleased with the courses. I was like, I cook better than this. I feel very like confident in like what I do. And if I want to learn, I would love to like invest in tools and meet new people and learn that way. But I am on my flight to New York when I was like moving there. I got a message that plant lab had gone like bankrupt. 


Tara Thomas  12:30

And I was like, did I manifest these to go to school? Like I could just live? I guess like, that was what made me more excited, because I was like, oh, there was so much schools like 10 hours a day. And I was like, now I can like do what I want. So yeah, I feel like I was like, I don't know, weirdly not really nervous to go to New York, but also kind of like I was like indifferent. I was excited. But a little indifferent. I was just like, okay, new place happens. Not sure how long I'm going to be here. But let's see.


Tara Thomas  13:06

Now I've been here for almost five years. So crazy. 


Tonya Papanikolov  13:10

It is crazy. I think in going into something within difference or like neutrality is probably a good recipe to like not be have your expectations too high. And it's probably a good state to go into. 


Tonya Papanikolov  13:25

Willie, will you tell us a bit about so I know you have various kind of community efforts. Was that something that was always part of the vision in terms of the community garden? What are some of the challenges and rewards and how is how is that all going and flowing? 


Tara Thomas  13:43

Definitely definitely has always been a vision I think like my reason why I've gotten deeper into like food and my interest in studying is the ethics behind it and like just like everything around like food politics and how we're like nourishing ourselves in communities not only like in the western world but all over and how that's like affecting everything and I feel like I like everyone we're kind of using the pandemic as this like are like 2020 the year like Aquarius went the Aquarian Age like occurred 


Tara Thomas  14:19

I feel like that was a huge like, shift so like a big portal, I felt like where things change I feel like before then I was like so worried about like work and like overworking myself and like, trying to achieve this like strange. I don't know I don't even know like what I want. I knew like what I wanted deep inside was to like build community and like change the world and make people aware of like, make people more aware of like their own health and how like their decisions affect everyone and that they have like authority over their well being. 


Tara Thomas  14:55

I saw that before in like the food world as something that was like For a luxury or like exclusivity experience, and I felt like with the pandemic, like I lost all of my work, and I got like an email from the garden, and that they like needed more volunteers and like just kind of like jumped right into in the beginning of the pandemic. 


Tara Thomas  15:18

And I was working there like, basically like full time like volunteering at the garden and getting like experience on like farming. And I never thought I was going to have that. So early on, I was like, oh, maybe when I'm 30 I'll like learn about farming and whatever. And it just kind of like, I felt like pushed me like 10 years. Like ahead, basically. Yeah. Like, I was like, a 10 years, I was like, Oh, wow, like, I'm learning this. 


Tara Thomas  15:44

And then that same in like, June of 2020. That's when breaking bread was like that started with the leak of the George Floyd protest. And yeah, just felt very, like natural. I feel like that was the first time in my life that I was able to, like, just be like, go into flow of creating and not feel like there was like, yeah, like an expectation and just like, let's just do this and like, not think about like, what is this gonna look like in a month or a year, it's like, let's just work on like, what the world needs right now. 


Tara Thomas  16:17

And it's that like, breaking bread. And my work has, like, changed so much in the last three years, rather than being mutual aid focused, were very much and like 2021, were focused on fundraising and creating consistent food for our communities that we were like working with. And then last year, we took a little bit of a break, because we were like, that was crazy. 


Tara Thomas  16:45

And then kind of shifted into like, my work, like, like, what is paying my one of the things that like, really pays my bills, I guess, is doing my hospitality experiences, and I do are doing that. But like I said before, before the pandemic, it just felt like I was creating these crazy experiences that were accessible. 


Tara Thomas  17:05

And now it's like, how can I tie breaking bread and make these brands more aware of like, how they can give back to their community? And also collaborating with other nonprofits on activations? Yeah, I feel like, I need to, like blend everything together and make everything put do a little bit of everything and work on Yeah. Yeah, bringing in breaking bread into your culinary experiences.


Tonya Papanikolov  17:32

I feel like it's so seamless. Maybe not, you know, like, I'm sure there's a lot to it, of course, but I see so much synergy between those things. And you. And yeah, it's so interesting, like just that reflection on pandemic times, and just how, yeah, just how massive of a change it was for, for like the collective. It's like, so crazy to think back to us, like going through that and all of the change that came from it, and just so much personal change for everybody to in terms of priorities, which is a blessing. 


Tara Thomas  18:10

Absolutely. It was such a blessed time. And I'm so grateful for, I don't know, yeah, being able to kind of like, throw 10 years of bullshit down the drain and just like, step into, like, the place that I wanted to be in. Yeah. So. But yeah, beautiful.


Tonya Papanikolov  18:30

With breaking bread is there how many people are like what part of it? There are three main members who are the it was five founding members, but everyone's busy, and we're nonprofit worldwide. So yeah, it's like three people. And now we're kind of focused on not only fundraising to feed, like the communities that were focused on, but also during events to get the public. 


Tonya Papanikolov  19:00

And also like opportunities for brands to get in volved with food sovereignty and aligning with the mission. And there's so many collaborators within that world. But yeah, let's just see just how seamless it's kind of in for people to align with food sovereignty, because I feel like food sovereignty ties in with it's like at the core of a lot of sovereignties that brands and people are aligning with. It's like, yeah, I feel like I'm a nice base. And it brings up a lot of different conversations. 


Tara Thomas  19:32

And yeah, it's I love it. It's really fun. Yeah. 


Tonya Papanikolov  19:36

Well, you tell us a bit more about food sovereignty and what it means and how like some of the community members that are kind of the like, maybe beneficiaries of, of breaking bread, like how they're being impacted. 


Tara Thomas  19:51

Yeah, so that to me, food sovereignty is looking at the food at front like what is our food coming from not only like from the farmer but like the land, it was on the seeds that it was replanted, and who's responsible for those seeds, but who owns those seeds, but also the production and how it affects like the people who like are working on the land and the like process of like creating the product. And those like just like bringing ethical standards throughout every process of producing food and how it affects the land, the people and the communities politically. 


Tara Thomas  20:36

And, yeah, that's how I would kind of like break it down a little bit. And so one of our main communities is domestic workers united. They're also a nonprofit who is a collective of African Caribbean and Tinks woman who are domestic workers and domestic workers are people who are employed in homes to like, cook nanny clean, various, like tasks around the house that people hire for. 


Tara Thomas  21:09

And they're like a collective woman who are like non US citizens and they advocate because like, if you're not a citizen in the US, you technically don't have like rights, I guess like workers rights, but they have advocated for a lot of laws for to bring like, like equality and equity within like the domestic working space. 


Tara Thomas  21:32

We've been fundraising to support the CSA program that allows them to have like fresh and healthy food week leave, like their CSA bags. And also like various other items that we can include in that. And then we also work with Phoenix community garden, we have a youth program that we collaborate with for them in the summers. 


Tara Thomas  21:57

And then we recently started working with one love community fridge in New York collaborating on like, some fundraising events, but also, they're like constructing a new fridge designed. So that's kind of like a fun, like project or, like how we can make Yeah, like food, healthy food more accessible.


Tonya Papanikolov  22:19

So important and special. And all of those communities are New York based. 


Tara Thomas  22:24



Tonya Papanikolov  22:27

Wow. So I want to shift gears a little bit into just kind of like, understanding, you know, I know that I always, whenever we chat, I feel like we always, like rest will always come up. And I know you you're big on it. And you know, you say that the rest is radical. And it's like also a big part of, I think, a challenge for a lot of people and also just so important. So I'd love to hear your kind of take on why it's resistance, what it means to you. 


Tonya Papanikolov  22:59

Kind of also, like you know, is it easy for you? Is it a challenge? 


Tara Thomas  23:05

Yeah, breast is easy for me when I'm in the rhythm of resting but like if I'm taking myself out of that rhythm and I'm focused on other tasks it's it can be quite challenging I think anyone it's hard to kind of turn on and turn off your cortisol I think it's it's once it's off


Tara Thomas  23:27

But yeah, I adore resting I love resting from a young age I would be like it's time for my lounge time or like like I need to I love to rest and rest is resistance it's being able to just like be bored Be quiet and be horizontal but it doesn't even have to be like laying down rest can be like gardening or setting creating time to like let your mind again like be free and like yeah, like be creative and or creative whatever some I think rest can be productive also and it can also be feel very unproductive and like a satisfying way.


Tara Thomas  24:11

Yeah, that's that's how I feel about rest. I've been struggling to get back into my work schedule, because I've been like on vacation the last two weeks. I'm like, What is work? What is like, what am I doing? Right? So and I kind of like that


Tara Thomas  24:29

Ascend from rest descend is always like really rocky for me going into rest. It's like, what's happening? I need to like, do these impulses that I'm like, right? And then like when I'm in it, I'm like, Okay, I love it. I'm floating. And then I'm like, the ASCEND is always very existential because I'm like, What am I doing? Why am I what is the point of this? What do I need to do achieve that? Is that really a priority?


Tonya Papanikolov  25:00

Oh, that feels like a priority. So yeah, that like descend and ascend into from rest is always very, it's a beautiful cadence. Yeah, I love the way you describe that. It's so funny, I remember when I was little, like going on vacation with my family, and my mom had a really high stress job. And it would always, I think, like, after many years, I would notice that it would take her quite a few days, to like, drop in to being able to rest.


Tonya Papanikolov  25:32

So it's like a CC, like, you just know you're on vacation. But it's like, it's really not like physiologically also mentally, everything. Like, it's really, that it's truly an ascent and descent. And I can now relate to that so much were, like just turning off is a challenge. Truly, because you're just so used to like being available in different ways. And yeah, like, especially with like, projectors, like, you're like, oh, I can make ideas just come to life. Like, I'm ready to just bring something and like, make it happen.


Tonya Papanikolov  26:11

Like, just projected, and you're like, not everything you'd like tonight, like not everything had to come to life, like things can just stay dormant like the door on those and just let yourself be like, okay, but I mean, there's a lot of time to rest. Now as adults, I feel the I'm working on it. I feel like I also go through seasons, where, like, yeah, it's easier at some points more so than others. It's not, it's more of like a, an activity that for me has to be done. 


Tonya Papanikolov  26:45

Before I can rest is like, the things that I say no to, which I've just personally noticed, has been like, I've kind of crossed my own boundaries over the last like maybe month or two, and just said yes to too much. And then you're kind of like, well, like, I feel like the integrity of My Word is compromised when you do that, which is like never a good feeling for me. But I feel like those boundaries are a bit of a prerequisite for being able to like, get into that best. What are your boundaries? So I think one of the,


Tonya Papanikolov  27:19

at least, like what I'm talking about, and speaking about right now is being able to better I get, like, genuinely excited when there's an idea that I like want to be a part of.


Tonya Papanikolov  27:37

And then it gets hard to say no. But then it's additionally hard for me to like, I am a perpetual over estimator of my time. And I'm like, it's just so easy. I think like, you know, small business. So easy for me to be like, Yeah, I'll do that. Yeah, I'll do that too. And then and I'm genuinely excited. I'm, it's, I'm not like saying yes. And meaning no. But like, there's just physical capacity to like what somebody can do in a day. And in a weekend, you would think that, like, I really have a fine tune of that. This point. I'm the same way. It's like I don't like I feel like the biggest challenge is putting like, a rest into the equation of time. Like when I'm like in production mode. And I'm planning like that goes well because I'm like, Oh 20% error, there's always 20% error but then when I'm thinking about like my own personal like life with the production I'm like, oh


Tonya Papanikolov  28:36

at the time of weaving confused and meaning to rest and descend until like sleepy time and descend into like closing off my mind and calming myself down. It is sometimes a challenge to Yeah, account for Yeah, the other night I just like, This is not usual, but like every once in a while it is what it is, but I like close my laptop but 11 the other night and literally like and I was like this factor, like put my laptop down and literally put my head on the pillow. 


Tonya Papanikolov  29:08

And I really tried to avoid doing that as much as possible and life is life. We go through phases but that was my like, kind of like mental note to myself this week where I'm like, okay, that least give more realistic deadlines to the people who are waiting on me for certain things because that I can do but I think it's like so fun. 


Tara Thomas  29:31

Like I talk about rest but I'm also like the first person to like yeah, like, be manic. Like for hours for like the next two weeks and I'm buzzing but then my body was just like, I was like that's just the creative process. So they just accepted that like that's the creative process is like pushing yourself exceeding what you like doing what she like wanted to Do you like I did it but like also like, I don't know, I'm so


Tonya Papanikolov  30:06

yeah, it's so true. And we're such reflections of, of nature too. So it's like, you would have found me in January like just literally hurting, and then spraying and like blossoms and all of these things become a representation of like our energy, ultimately. Yes, I love it's


Tara Thomas  30:29

so do you have any dreams or plans of being in Oslo more? Not Oslo and Christians and yeah, I love Norway. It's so beautiful. It reminds me a lot of the Pacific Northwest and like the good ways like it's very, like the whole country there's 5 million people so it's very quiet it's very lovely the water quality the air quality, like just the amount of green space and old like aging green space is very healing to me. I think I've never dreamed of like a Metropolitan Life. I just knew it was like a period of time where I wanted to experience that I love cities I love my projector thing is like markets is like where you're like most vital I love a market but I also like a door. Just yeah, like having space to create I've always dreamed of like having like a farm and homestead and growing a lot of my own food and yeah, like hospitality in that kind of way. I've very unattractive to like in New York hospitality and like the


Tara Thomas  31:39

is it. Just the hustle and bustle I love like romanticism and just being on my own time. So I think I'll be living here probably within like five years. I live here like 25% of the year right now. So we shall see how it performs.


Tonya Papanikolov  32:00

Yeah, so can't wait. I would love to have you out to Salt Spring


Tonya Papanikolov  32:06

weather. It's some sort of Yeah, future event or just to have you here resting together. Growing up San Juan Islands in the summer. And it feels very aligned. And I bet it's so magical. I would love to come to Victoria. That spring. Yeah, but yeah, so Victoria is part of like the main Vancouver Island. But then there's tons. There's actually one of the only olive trees in Canada because the climate here is kind of Mediterranean. And so there's tons of people growing kiwis, lemons, and all of Grove, there's a few vineyards on the island. So and like, this is the first year that we got a frost I think of because of Linnea maybe, but usually there's no snow here. So it is a really interesting climate. That sounds so beautiful. Wow.


Tonya Papanikolov  33:04

Well, we'll percolate some ideas. But I want to talk to you about your relationship with fungi and mushrooms and what that's like what the mushrooms have called you taught you like how you commune with them.


Tara Thomas  33:19

Think I always you know, just I love mushrooms like they're part of my ritual on not only like rainbo, but like cola only like functional mushrooms, but like culinary mushrooms, I love to integrate them into dishes all the time. I'm so inspired by the way that they're able to Yeah, I'm just inspired that they're able to be like active, functional. And like there's so many ways to enjoy a mushroom and they all there's just delicious fruits of the earth. I mean, I grew up on like the biggest mushroom in the world.


Tonya Papanikolov  33:57

True, that's a cool thing to like be able to say.


Tara Thomas  34:05

On the biggest mushroom in the world. And yeah, I think when I went plant based that became like, kind of a center of like food in terms of like finding like textures and mixing things that like feel air and get just getting to know mushrooms in that way and adaptogens. And yeah, I love them. I have been like into foraging mushrooms the last couple of years in Norway. It's like the safest place to forage mushrooms. They don't have any poisonous mushrooms here. There's just some that will like give you a tummy ache if you like eat the wrong one or they're all pretty nice to identify. So that's been really liberating to not only like consumed them here but able to like forage and preserve my own mushrooms and this


Tara Thomas  35:01

Yeah, which kinds which hands have you been foraging for? They're like, like the Shawn trout. Yashwantrao picks up which we what do we call those in the US? They're the spiky ones. The white ones the spiky on the bottom.


Tonya Papanikolov  35:18

I had cauliflower. Hedgehog, okay.


Tara Thomas  35:22

I think they're called hedgehog, mushrooms and porcine


Tara Thomas  35:28

and Chaga.


Tara Thomas  35:31

And I think that's an Reishi. But I'm not sure. And I've seen Turkey tell them I'm not sure. I'm like,


Tonya Papanikolov  35:37

Yeah, I think she I wouldn't know. I think it was not a ratio. But Turkey Tilos. Like, I don't know if that's her been been? Yeah. Well, there's so many. There's like in the tremendeous family, which is like Turkey Tail is tremendous. versicolor there's like tons and tons of Turkey Tail, but lots of them are false. And so you have to identify from the, from the bottom little spores and colors. 


Tara Thomas  36:00

Okay, yeah, I need to like learn more about these ones. But yeah, it's pretty safe. You're like, that's a Chaga Yeah. 


Tonya Papanikolov  36:07

And then I do wonder about the reishi because there's lots of like, there's like black Reishi red, Reishi I feel like you would recognize the one that looks like a rainbow where it's like red, orange, yellow and then the white tip. That's like, a huge like a Ganoderma lucidum but then there's ones that are all red. That was like even a little bit of black so but then there's lots of like, other conks that look like it but wow, I would love someday to come there. And like just I've heard that it's such an ingrained piece of the culture and in Scandinavian like those kind of Northern northern countries. So nice because their mushroom season is like our summer season because it's like a little colder there. So they were like harvesting Shawn trails like July August and it's like so


Tara Thomas  36:55

have that just gets kind of rainy here. And the temperatures quite like moderate and I love that because I'm not missing. I feel like actual like mushroom season. I'm so busy. I'm like, I can't forage and then I come here like, July August and I'm like, oh my god and Shawn trials season and there's so many mushrooms.


Tara Thomas  37:15

Been like best? I believe in fairy so like put crystals everywhere. It's like they're gonna bring the mushroom.


Tonya Papanikolov  37:23

You would love it here. There is like fairy door so it's this like, like, it's a very magical place. People have set up full Fairy Doors at the markets. I'm going on Saturday. I'll send you pics. There are fairy house builders. Like my future I


Tara Thomas  37:42

like I didn't know their fairy houses. I was just like making little houses outside. And now I'm like, Okay, I think I'm gonna become like a fairy house master manifester. Like that's gonna be my like, my new like


Tara Thomas  37:56

I'm like, Oh my God. To manifest some fairies to make sure there's enough mushrooms for us. Oh my gosh, I love that vision for


Tara Thomas  38:07

that's so good. Tell me about like what you're what you're cooking these days. What's inspiring you? What do you what's like a typical breakfast, lunch dinner. Breakfast lately has been like oatmeal with like a nice slab of butter and maple syrup. And like seeds and nuts and peanut butter and nut butter of some sore lunch and like fruit and like lunch. Wouldn't know like I don't even know just whatever I can't even know that we've been traveling so usually lunch I'm like going out or something but I've been making this dessert that I really love which is a of making this for the last six months like a apple crumble. Just it's so indulgent. And I made like an apple and rhubarb one the other day was so yummy.


Tonya Papanikolov  39:01

Oh my gosh, yum. And I want that.


Tara Thomas  39:05

Yeah, it's so it's so easy. I'm just saying oh, okay, like it's like, very like apple pies. It's something that apple crumble. You're like I could throw that together in an hour.


Tara Thomas  39:16

I was eating a lot of just like green salad and like crispy potatoes and like a mushroom. Just like super simple and very like


Tara Thomas  39:27

a restaurant like I'm not trying to impress anyone, but I have been making some crazy dishes. I just can't recall them right now. I've been like, oh, I made an incredible like Coke Anna aloo gobi curry.


Tara Thomas  39:41

Delicious. Yeah, spring is not my most inspiring season for cooking. It's either like deep winter or summer.


Tonya Papanikolov  39:53

it's like super green or I'm like what's going on? Yeah, yeah. And you're like I still need warms like I'm still for me.


Tonya Papanikolov  40:00

Anyway, it's like, I can't go full blown. Like all the freshness quite yet but yeah, that sounds so delicious. Yeah, I'm like I just like to jump from like winter to summer I'm like I'm ready now.


Tara Thomas  40:14

Lots of greens just always lots of greens I think especially in the springtime just incorporating a lot of those goods so hard to find fresh, really fresh air so think that's when I'm like most excited about making a lot of tea Tulsi tea infused with like mushrooms and herbs been drinking.


Tara Thomas  40:35

Like every day, my mushroom my Rainbo Kinto and like,


Tara Thomas  40:40

yeah, as I'm so happy to hear that. Are you off caffeine still? Yeah, pretty much as you go coffee like a week ago just because I wanted to taste it but it didn't even affect me anymore. I was like, I think amazing thing to me. I was like, I think I'm either too rested for this or


Tara Thomas  41:01

was like, I don't know, but


Tara Thomas  41:04

I don't drink it. I love Rhodiola instead, I want to


Tonya Papanikolov  41:09

pump up the Yeah, that's fair. Well, thank you so much for sharing and chatting and being with me today and sharing all of your wisdom and kind of story with the audience. Yes, thank you guys so much. I love the Rainbo community and then enjoy. Thank you for having me.


Tonya Papanikolov  41:32

And to end I also like to ask a guest to share a wish a prayer and intention with us. What would she leave us with? My wish prayer.


Tara Thomas  41:47

I wish for the most splendid mushroom hunting season this year because of El Nino. The wet energy everywhere if so,


Tonya Papanikolov  42:00

an amazing mushroom season for cooking and eating and medicine and we're able to create like our drip most dreamy pantries this year. And love, love that wish. near and far. I hope that for Yeah, West Coast east coast, like everywhere. Thank you so much tea. So nice to see you and chat with you and more soon. Exactly. Thank you so much. And I love you Love you too.


Tonya Papanikolov  42:35

With deep gratitude. Thanks for tuning into this episode. If you liked it, hit subscribe and leave us a review that is always very appreciated. Mushrooms transformed my mind and body. And if you're interested in bringing medicinal mushrooms into your life and health journey, check out for our meticulously sourced Canadian fruiting body mushroom tinctures. Until next time, peace in and peace out friends.



mushrooms, feel, love, rest, food, year, forage, authority, day, rainbow, create, new york, experience, good, projector, community, life, work, season, food sovereignty