The region of South Netherlands has traditionally had a pivotal role in mushroom production and processing, with a clear focus on white button mushrooms (agaricus bisporus). As a result, peripheral suppliers to the sector have also seen strong development and growth. These include breeders, suppliers of machinery, systems and technology, the processing sector, consultants, et cetera. There are also historically strong ties with the education and research sectors. Many highly significant developments in the sector originated in this region.
This century signalled the start of mushroom growing in the province of Limburg, and the first tentative research - albeit in a rather amateur fashion - was performed.
A more mature industry started to emerge in the 1950s. This era saw the construction of growing rooms, conserving mushrooms and the foundation of the Mushroom Growing Association (Champignonkwekersvereniging). The Mushroom Experimental Station (Proefstation) was established and education, research and training started.
The mushroom industry in the province of Limburg continued to become more professional. Highlights included the opening of the Trade College for Mushroom Growing (Vakschool voor Champignonteelt), which later became the Practical Training College for Mushroom Growing (CCO) and the opening of a new, larger Experimental Station.
The Experimental Station and the CCO have acquired a global reputation over the past years. The entire infrastructure of peripheral companies has continued to show strong growth and the name Horst is acknowledged as a mark of quality by the international mushroom world. The mushroom sector therefore continues to play a role today that is of immense economic significance for the region. This prompted the idea to develop a mushroom-focussed platform - named Mushroom Valley - to secure this leading position for the future. A platform that must optimally contribute to maintaining the position of companies in the entire supply chain, employment opportunities and the key international position.
The municipality of Horst aan de Maas started investigating the possibilities of developing a platform within the sector - a platform aimed at safeguarding the economic activity built up historically in this region relating to the sector, and ensuring its role is sustained and consolidated for the future. Many talks and discussion with stakeholders in the mushroom sector followed. The enthusiastic response endorsed the plan to initiate the platform. This resulted in the establishment of the Mushroom Valley Foundation in April 2017.