SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing
about $630,000 to help pay for a dozen projects in Illinois intended to strengthen the
specialty crop industry in the state.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture said
Tuesday the grant will be used for projects that include a University of Illinois
effort to improve produce handling at farmers markets and a social media
campaign to inform people of specialty crop growers.
Other projects include a buy-local marketing
campaign in grocery stores and farmers markets, and educational conferences for
The state Department of Agriculture points
out that while the state is known for corn and soybeans it is also the largest
grower of pumpkins in the country. Illinois
also grows substantial amounts of asparagus, cauliflower and lima beans, as
well as other produce.