USDA awards Florida specialty crop block grant funds

03/30/2009 02:00:00 AM

• Florida Watermelon Association - $50,000:  Florida Watermelon Association will conduct a one-year promotional campaign to educate consumers on the nutritional value of Florida watermelon and to teach consumers how to select watermelon.

The activities will focus on providing the general public with information on the health benefits of including watermelon in the diet and highlight the economic benefits of supporting Florida watermelon producers. 

• Produce for Better Health Foundation - $25,000: The project will disseminate information about fruits and vegetables grown in Florida to consumers nationwide via newspaper and television ads. 

This nutritional promotion campaign is part of the national media outreach for “Fruits and Veggies More Matters.”

• Florida Farm Outreach and Conference Partnership - $50,000: The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services  has partnered with Florida A&M University’s College of Agriculture and the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Science to conduct outreach to small farms.  FDACS has provided $25,000 for training sessions to assist small farms. 

The outreach partnership will conduct a series of televised (Polycom) workshops which will focus on increasing small farm participation and product at community farmers markets statewide.  Information will also include: proper food handling techniques, food safety regulations, identifying sales venues and product marketing.

FDACS will also provide $25,000 to help sponsor the first Florida Small Farm Conference to be held at Osceola County’s Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Aug. 1 and 2.  The increased interest among consumers for more local products has resulted in more outreach and interest in small farms.

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