State Grants Available for Food Security, Specialty Crops

Mar 8, 2022 | Agriculture, Government, News

Potato field in Palmer

A potato field in Palmer.

JOHN WHIPPLE | DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE

The Alaska Division of Agriculture is accepting applications through March for two grant programs, one to promote specialty crops and the other to improve food security.

Eating Locally

Of the two, the food security program is larger: $2 million in grants to individuals and
organizations who want to grow and preserve their own food.

The grants are offered through the US Department of Agriculture’s Micro-Grants for Food Security Program. Individuals can apply for up to $5,000 and qualifying organizations can apply for up to $10,000. The grants are for one year and can be for anything from building a
greenhouse to growing a garden to buying a freezer to fencing in livestock.

The grant application period closes at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30.

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This is the second year the grants have been offered in Alaska. In 2021, more than $1.6 million was awarded to 234 grantees, out of 1,000 applicants.

“The last two years have taught Alaskans the importance of increasing local production of food and storage capabilities,” says Alaska Division of Agriculture Director David W. Schade. “We are fortunate to offer another opportunity to apply for the micro-grants in 2022. We have worked with USDA to simplify the process and expand the opportunity for more Alaskans to receive
funding.”

Schade adds that applicants from Alaska’s most vulnerable areas will have preferential
consideration. “We will prioritize funding of grants for projects that affect our most food-
insecure areas and increase local food production and storage,” he says.

Beyond Potatoes

A girl enjoys a carrot grown in a Southcentral Alaska garden.

A girl enjoys a carrot grown in a Southcentral Alaska garden.

JOHN WHIPPLE | DIVISION OF AGRICULTURE

The federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program administered by the Division of Agriculture has $115,000 available in blocks of $10,000 to $60,000. The grants are aimed at enhancing
competitiveness of Alaska Grown specialty crops, such as fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, flowers, nursery crops, and mariculture.

Potential recipients include universities, producers, extension services, soil and water
conservation districts, or schools working in cooperation with a farm, ranch, or nonprofit. The application deadline is 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 31.

“Specialty Crop Block grants provide Alaska a means to improve our specialty crop industry in a manner that addresses Alaska’s unique farming environment,” says Schade. “This program has brought understanding of better farm practices, plant varieties, and marketing of our Alaska Grown specialty crops.”

This year, the application process will be simplified, requiring only one “final” application
document to be submitted. There is no Letter of Intent required in the 2022 application
process.

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