The United States Department of Agriculture has awarded 10 grants to help underserved communities across the country in order to start “People’s Gardens,” addressing problems such as malnutrition, food insecurity and other health issues.
The grants, totaling $725,000, will support 155 People’s Gardens, or sustainable community gardens that give residents direct access to fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a USDA press release. They are the first grants awarded under the People’s Garden Grant Program. The USDA received more than 360 proposals requesting more than $4 million.
Research Team Led by University of New Hampshire Seeks to Improve Quality and Quantity of Organic MilkNovember 9, 2011 | Andrew Burger
Researchers from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) are heading up a multi-state project that aims to find ways for organic dairy farmers to increase the quality and quantity of milk that their herds produce. The project, comprised of researchers from the University of Maine and Cornell University, as well as the USDA, possesses financial backing to the tune of $2.9 million in grant funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Organic Research and Extension Initiative .
Penn State Receives $2.3M Grant to Investigate Impact of Cover Crop Cocktails on Organic AgricultureNovember 2, 2011 | Deanna Krinn
Researchers at the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences were recently awarded a $2.3 million grant by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine the effects of various “cover crop cocktails,” or cover crop mixtures, on organic agriculture production.
Jason Kaye, associate professor of soil biogeochemistry, said the study hopes to determine whether mixing multiple varieties of cover crops or planting a single species is better at amplifying ecosystem functions in a corn-soybean-wheat cash crop rotation that produces organic feed and forage.
A growing demand for organic and sustainably produced food has led the USDA to announce nearly two dozen new grants to research and extension programs that will help organic producers and processors more effectively market and grow their products.
The 23 grants total $19 million, and are funded by the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) through two unique programs: the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative and the Organic Transitions Program.
“As more and more farmers adopt organic agriculture practices, they need the best science available to operate profitable and successful organic farms,” said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan.
The University of California announced that its researchers will receive more than $6 million in funding from the department’s 2011 Specialty Crop Block Grant program. The program aims to enhance the competiveness of fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruit, horticulture and nursery crops. Meanwhile, Michigan State University announced that its researchers will receive more than $5 million from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.