Meet the Team
The Fungal Network Origin Story
Ernie and Cathy Wheeler founded Borrowed Land Farm in 2015 on land borrowed from Ernie’s brother Richard and wife Michele. They initially grew mushrooms in their cellar, selling them at local farmers markets, along with meat and eggs.
After a couple of years, they moved operations into a shipping container attached to the basement of their home, narrowed their focus to just mushrooms, and started expanding the scope of production and sales.
In 2022, Ernie’s brother Richard and sister-in-law Michele purchased the business, in exchange for the property Ernie, Cathy, and family had “borrowed” from them.
Richard and Michele spent 2022 converting their shop, used by the previous owner for a farm equipment repair and tire shop, to a mushroom spawn and fruiting block manufacturing plant.
The business moved to the new facility in January of 2023, and we've since changed our brand to The Fungal Network, which reflects the mission and focus of the mushroom related business here at Borrowed Land Farm.
The Fungal Network Leadership Team
Richard and Michele Wheeler
Richard is serving as the CEO.
He has over 20 years of C-suite leadership experience, serving as Chief Medical Officer for several healthcare companies, and as CEO of healthcare related early stage startups.
He retired from clinical medicine in 2013, and currently works as a Senior Client Medical Director for Cotiviti, a market leading Healthcare Analytics company.
Michele is serving as an advisor for workplace organization, quality control and educational outreach.
She brings over 30 years of experience as an educator and a workshop organizer/facilitator, She has also been involved in the launching of three entrepreneurial opportunities.
Ernie and Cathy Wheeler, and Gabriel
Both Ernie and Cathy are trained as marine biologists; they met in graduate school and worked as marine biologists and marine biology educators for several years, as well as teaching biology in classrooms at the high school and college levels.
Ernie manages the day-to-day operations of The Fungal Network and heads up the education and outreach components of our mission.
Cathy works full-time as a college biology instructor and is active with The Fungal Network when time allows, particularly involving education and outreach.
Gabriel Wheeler is a full-time student, but works part-time maintaining the facilities and helps as needs arise.