Most visitors to Pattaya will admit that Thai food is delicious. However, food prepared in the villages are somewhat different to dishes that you would find in restaurants in town but just as appetizing and some of the mushroom only dishes are very tasty. Children, in particular, love to eat mushrooms which was the subject of a telephone call to PSC from Khun Noy of the YWCA. She had been in contact with 4 local, remote schools around Pattaya and wanted our help to finance mushroom ‘farms’. This was a totally new idea to me and I asked her to explain what she had meant, after all, mushrooms must grow somewhere.

There are 11 main schools in Pattaya but 80 plus schools outside the city limits which are smaller, maybe as small as 150 students, and are very often situated in isolated areas. The children attending these schools come from poor families in local villages very often having to walk many kilometres to and from school every day, not being able to afford a cycle or motorbike.
The object of the exercise is to build a shed, purchase a thousand or so mushroom spoors and out pops the mushrooms on a daily basis. A very simple idea.

Very little care and attention is needed just a little water each day and within 3 or 4 days a flower-like bunch of mushrooms emerge. A thousand spoors can yield around 300 kilos over a six month period but the first priority is to include these in the children’s lunch, use the rest to sell to the local families, at a very low price, or to the local market (there is always a local market in Thailand) raising much needed funds to buy items needed in the education of the children and more spoors to grow more mushrooms.

The teachers that I met have said that the idea benefits the families, the children love the taste of fresh mushrooms and have a sense of achievement having taken care of them, see them grow and are able pick them every day. The financial reality to this exercise is such that, on a visit to one of the schools, we were informed that during the first 2 weeks they had harvested sufficient mushrooms to provide lunch for the children and to sell 50 kilos to the local market.

Pattaya Sports Club are always happy to be involved with new ideas that help the local community and eagerly await the comments from teachers and children alike when everything is up and running.

The hut is in place

Room for 3,000 spoors

The spoors are now in place

The first crop