It’s not just corn and soybeans coming out of the ground in Illinois. A grant program to promote so-called specialty crops has a dozen projects sharing $634,000 in federal funds. “These are some really great projects that will hopefully increase the competitiveness of the specialty crop industry here in Illinois,” says Delayne Reeves, grant manager for the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
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The projects receiving money include an education program for grape growers, a rooftop garden for urban youth to manage, and research into ways to improve the quality of horseradish. Reeves says consumers are interested these days in shopping at farmers’ markets and learning where their food is really coming from.