About Us & Our Story
'Malama' is the Hawaiian word for protect, preserve, and nurture.
This serves as the standard for all that we do at Malama Mushrooms.
Malama Mushrooms is a family-owned, superfood mushroom company based in Kona, Hawaii. Our mission is to share the health & wellness benefits of superfood mushrooms with the world.
CEO, Founder & Funguy
Amanda Lillibridge (Sister!)Marketing & Creative
Theresa Lillibridge (Mom!)Accounting / Keeping Ben in Line
Robb Lillibridge (Pops!)Lead Product Tester :) / Advisor, Strategy, Excel Wizard
Sales Manager, Marketing, Education, & Outreach
The (short) StoryMalama first fruited in 2015 as a small farm in Kona, Hawaii when Ben produced his first Hawaiian-grown mushrooms whilst living on a farm in a mango-tree house. He started by utilizing a underground lava-formed cave to cultivate the first mushrooms of the business and fast forward to today, he has wrangled in his family & friends to help his mushroom mission of creating & sharing fung-tional superfood mushroom products that integrate easily into your daily routine and to support your overall health & wellness.
Returning to the mango-tree origins 6 years later
The (longer) StoryBenjamin began as an agriculturist & environmental scientist seeking to make a positive impact on the world & the people that occupy it. His mission became very specific to mushrooms once he got an introduction to mycology, the study of fungi. Did you know fungi can break down plastics & other harmful pollutants to remediate polluted water & soil? Or that some of the world's most important medicines, from both traditional cultures and western pharmacology are fungi derived? Ben didn't know that...but when he found out, he was absolutely amazed and was inspired to devote his life to learning more.
Unfortunately, no one was hiring for "Enthusiastic mushroom guy" so Ben knew he had to create the job himself so he could support himself and his life’s mission of standing on his mushroom soapbox preaching the good word of the fungus among-us with the entire world.
Having had experience cultivating mushrooms in college (don’t tell Mom), he began a gourmet / medicinal mushroom operation whilst living in a mango-tree on a farm in Kona. As there was a vacant lava-formed cave on the property, he thought it’d be a perfect place to use as a fruiting-chamber…so he did!
The rest, as they say, is history. Ben now has wrangled in friends & family into the operation to help his myco-mission creating fun, friendly, easy-to-use medicinal (or fung-tional) mushroom products with the world. He additionally has formed a non-profit, the Hawaii Fungi Project, devoted to studying & characterizing the rare native mushrooms of Hawaii before they're lost due to climate change or invasive species.
Did you know we only know 7% of the worlds fungi species? With a growing body of scientific studies emerging on mushrooms like Lion's Mane for helping cognition & nerve growth, and reishi for stress & immunity, what potential benefits could be found in the remaining 93% undiscovered species? Ben intends to find out via his non-profit, the Hawaii Fungi Project, which Mālama donates 5% of profits to. (You can learn more about the Hawaii Fungi Project through the YouTube feature below!)
In the Media and around the Web:
New York Times: "Are Mushrooms the Future of Wellness?"
Hana Hou: Hawaiian Airlines Magazine "Shroom Boom"
YouTube Biohacker Katie Type A: "Medicinal Mushrooms: Hunting for the next Lion's Mane"