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Chester County Press

Grant gives mushroom farmers in Chester County access to educational programs

Chester County mushroom farmers will have access to educational programming through the American Mushroom Institute (AMI) thanks to federal grant funding, U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and State Senator Carolyn Comitta announced. 

“As the mushroom capital of the world, Chester County’s mushroom farming industry is a driving force for our economy and a vital part of our community. With this funding, mushroom growers will have access to programs to help keep it that way by effectively assessing costs and situating their farms for long-term success,” said Comitta, who serves on the Senate Agriculture Committee. 

AMI was awarded nearly $85,000 to help educate farmers on price assessing and input costs to better project expenses and improve sustainability. 

“I am so glad to see this federal support coming to Chester County,” said U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan. “I have always been proud that our community grows the best mushrooms in the world, and more of them than anywhere else in the country. I will continue to advocate for our farmers and the programs that support them. I have already called for full funding of the Specialty Crop Grant Program in this year’s appropriations process, so that the USDA can continue to support the exciting research and educational work happening in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the country. It’s not a surprise that the American Mushroom Institute is being recognized as a national leader and I look forward to the progress they will make with this well-deserved grant.” 

The project is one of 11 Pennsylvania projects awarded more than $1 million in funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Grant Program. The program was created to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops such as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops. 

“Sustaining farming businesses increasingly requires both audited sustainable practices for farms’ foodservice and retail customers as well as information and education for consumers,” said Rachel Roberts, AMI President. “Mushroom growing is an inherently circular economy based on mushroom composting, which recycles agricultural byproducts and mitigates direct land and water impact of other farming sectors. But industry-wide investment is needed to assure that farmers can consistently predict the costs of, and afford to implement, sustainable practices. Investment is also needed to then accurately assess and promote their ESG positions, accordingly. With this grant, USDA and PDA have enabled that investment and much-needed work, through AMI.”

Specialty Crop Blocks Grant funding is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This year’s funding round focused on marketing, research, grower education, and sustainability for mushrooms, apples, floriculture, pumpkins, and other crops of which Pennsylvania ranks among the top producers of in the nation. 


For more information on the Specialty Crop Grant Program go to