The last few years solar panels in fields have been popping up everywhere. Former agricultural land has been turned into the basis for energy production instead of being used for growing crops. Increased shade has changed the local conditions so much that even grass and herbs have difficulty in growing underneath the solar panels. These new conditions are possibly suitable for growing mushrooms on logs (Edible Wood).
Two pilot projects are currently being carried out by Groene Takken. In 2020 the largest privately owned Solar Farm in the Netherlands was set up in Wilp, just down the road from my house. The family Gooiker, former farmers, now manage this 38 ha solar park. A herd of 600 sheep keep the grass short and some grain along the edges is still being sowed and harvested each year. Together we are gradually turning a small corner into an Edible Wood Farm with the aim to see what works and to find out where the difficulties lie. The logs have been inoculated this year (2023) with shii-take and mushroom production will start next year. This project was born out of my own curiosity and will be carried out with help from local companies and individuals.
The second pilot project is an intiative of a small Dutch company, Nederland Opgewekt, that specializes in creating nature inclusive climate parks together with local residents. Next to the small-scale solar park a community vegetable – flower garden has been developed in the village of Someren and a number of my own ready-to-produce oyster mushroom logs and shii-take logs have been placed in the solar park and will function not only as a bridge between the two components but will also hopefully produce real “energy” food. The results will be monitored and then tastefully devoured by the local inhabitants.
Photo: mushroom logs for the project in Someren 2023