The Illinois Department of Agriculture has been awarded nearly $634,000 through the United States Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The agency will split the funds between 12 projects that are intended to expand the availability of fresh, locally-grown produce and strengthen the state’s specialty crop industry.
Among the grants awarded are:
- Partner with the CBS Community Partnership Division to provide a targeted multimedia campaign that focuses on the importance and availability of locally-grown specialty crops.
- Work with Illinois grocers and farmers’ markets to implement a marketing campaign for Illinois specialty crops through the “Illinois Where Fresh is…” buy local program.
- Partner with the Illinois Specialty Growers Association to hold an educational conference that educates Illinois specialty crop growers about current food safety requirements. Matching funds will be utilized to cover expenditures for non-specialty crop commodities.
- Partner with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association to teach best management practices to Illinois grape growers through hands-on and online continuing education opportunities.
- Partner with Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom to support the development of a new “Specialty Crops Ag Mag.”
- Partner with the Illinois Horseradish Growers Association to identify new, viable varieties that are whiter, larger in size and last longer than current varieties without sacrificing flavor.