Applications for the funds are due May 1
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) now is accepting proposals for federal specialty crop grants.
The agency has been notified Illinois will receive a share of the funds and instructed to begin the proposal selection process. The exact amount of its award, however, has not been determined.
"Expanding access to nutritious, homegrown Illinois food is one of the department's top priorities," Agriculture Director Bob Flider said. "If we could increase local food purchases to just 10 percent of our grocery bill, it would generate more than 20 billion dollars in new economic activity every year, create thousands of jobs in the farming and food industries and revitalize both rural and urban communities."
The funds will come from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program in the new Farm Bill. Most recently, Illinois has been receiving about $600,000 a year and using the funds to open new markets for fresh, Illinois-grown produce.