Sustainable Farmers New Focus of California Specialty Crop Grants

California: In a significant shift, the $18 million state-managed Specialty Crop Block Grants Program, that supports growers of vegetables, fruit and nuts is strengthening its focus on sustainable farmers and local, urban and healthy food programs according to a report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

While the last few years have seen increased support for local food and direct marketing projects, the state’s new guidelines for the federally-funded program reflect a much more inclusive vision that values small, mid-scale and large farms; emphasizes healthy food access and urban food production; supports local, regional and climate-friendly agriculture; and invests in organics and a new generation of more environmentally sustainable growers.

Applications are due by December 7th, but funding is contingent on passage of the 2012 farm bill, which Congress has failed to do despite the fact that the 2008 bill expired in September. For application information go to:

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