- Miscellaneous: mushrooms
- Crop Production: agroforestry, forestry
- Education and Training: extension, farmer to farmer, on-farm/ranch research, participatory research, workshop
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, budgets/cost and returns, marketing management
- Production Systems: permaculture
- Sustainable Communities: new business opportunities
Forest farming of shiitake mushrooms is an agroforestry practice that increases crop diversity while providing diversified income for farmers and other forest owners. Previous SARE projects involving shiitake mushroom production were farmer grants focused on a single farm, whereas this project will impact multiple farmers. Shiitake mushrooms are grown on fresh cut pole-sized logs which may be obtained from thinning as part of sustainable forest management. They begin producing mushrooms after one year and continue producing for up to 5 years. Three farmer advisers who are mushroom growers, UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Cornell University’s Arnot Forest will lead education and research activities. Key elements in workshops conducted by this project include: tree acquisition (forest management), hands-on learning of essential skills, site visits to growers and guidance in development of a 5 year enterprise plan. Farms will initiate their plan by inoculating 100 logs on their own forest , and mushroom harvest will begin one year later. The NE Forest Mushroom Cultivator’s Network www.mushrooms.cals.cornell.edu/ will be used to foster communication among experienced and novice growers, and to disseminate research results and other information including a research-derived Best Management Practices fact publication resulting from this project.
Performance targets from proposal:
Performance Target: Each of 20 farm woodlot owners will inoculate 100 logs in 2011 and harvest 100 pounds of shiitake mushrooms by 2012, earning $1200.