California has received $22.6 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2018 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP), most in the country. More than $72 million was awarded nationwide.
The SCBGP provides grants to state departments of agriculture to fund projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops, defined as fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, and nursery crops (including floriculture).
CDFA will fund 83 projects, awarding grants ranging from $25,000 to $300,000, at non-profit and for-profit organizations, government entities, and colleges and universities. Selected through a competitive process, these projects focus on increasing sales of specialty crops by leveraging the California Grown identity; increasing consumption by expanding the specialty crop consumer market, improving availability, and providing nutritional education for consumers; training growers to equip them for current and future challenges; and conducting research on conservation and environmental outcomes, pest control and disease, and organic and sustainable production practices.
Additionally, CDFA solicited fixed-amount awards to fund projects that address the priority to assist California specialty crop growers, farmers, producers, and manufacturers in adopting the requirements of and meeting the standards for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act.
CDFA continued its partnership 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 with proactive research.
The 2018 SCBGP project abstracts are available online at https://www.cdfa.ca.gov/grants