About the Mushroom Industry

In order to maximize the space within the houses, mushrooms are grown in beds stacked three high. Picking mushrooms is difficult and often dangerous as workers have to crouch between beds and climb on them in order to harvest the whole crop.

Farm work is hard work. It is characterized by long hours, often dangerous conditions and little pay. For these reasons, workers centers and farmworker unions have an important role to play.

Mushrooms are grown inside in houses on beds that are first covered in manure. These beds are then watered – often with chemicals. Following this process, spores are added to the beds. Spores are then covered with soil (sometimes chemical filled soil) and then watered every day.

Different types of mushrooms take different amounts of time before they are ready for harvest. All mushrooms, however, require special conditions to grow. For this reason, the temperature and humidity of the houses are carefully regulated.

When the mushrooms have finally grown, workers are sent in to pick them. Mushrooms continue to emerge daily, so workers often return to the same house for weeks in order to ensure that the whole crop has been harvested.

Workers are paid according to the amount of mushrooms that they harvest. The piece rate varies depending on the size of the box.

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