Sacramento, California – The United States Department of Agriculture has announced funding for the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP). California received $19.8 million out of approximately $66 million awarded nationwide.
The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture.
The 60 projects funded under the 2014 SCBGP reflect the diversity of California’s specialty crops across the state. This year’s projects include but are not limited to: creating economic opportunities for specialty crop producers through market development activities; increasing nutrition knowledge; developing local and regional food systems; and improving food access in underserved communities. Other area of focus include developing and implementing beneficial practices on the farm; training and equipping the next generation of beginning farmers; and preventing and managing pests and diseases to minimize threats to specialty crops.
In addition, the California Department of Food and Agriculture partnered with the Center for Produce Safety in the evaluation and recommendation of food safety related projects. These projects represent an ongoing effort to address food safety practices and minimize outbreaks of foodborne illness by proactive research.
The 2014 SCBGP project abstracts are available online at www.cdfa.ca.gov/grants.