Specialty Crop Block Grant Program - Mini Grant Program

The RI DEM Division of Agriculture (DEM) is pleased to announce a competitive solicitation process to award Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) funds for projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture. Please visit USDA’s website at https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/grants/scbgp to view a comprehensive list of eligible specialty crops, ineligible commodities, and examples of projects that enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops under the SCBGP.

Grant Award Amounts

A total of up to $275,000 is available for this grant round. Grant awards will range from $2,500 to $10,000. Funds for this round have been provided through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Grant Program Eligibility

This grant is available to specialty crop farms or food producers. Specialty crops are defined as fruits and vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture.

Grant Program Requirements

In order to qualify, applicants must provide the following:

  • Farm information must be registered with the Rhode Island Produce Safety Program (if the farm grows/ harvests/ packs or holds produce)
  • A completed grant application.
  • Applicants must identify a related need and describe how the project will help prevent or reduce those risks/ enhance specialty crops.

HOW TO ENROLL IN THE RHODE ISLAND PRODUCE SAFETY PROGRAM: Farms must complete the following steps in order to enroll their farm in the Rhode Island Produce Safety Program:

  • Visit the RI Produce Safety Portal to register your produce farm.
  • Sign-in to create your unique farm profile
  • Submit your registration with all required information.

Funding Areas

Funding areas are intended to clearly define the 2022 Mini SCBGP priorities and help prospective applicants to both develop their projects and submit their projects in the most appropriate category.

Proposals should:

  • Demonstrate a high likelihood of success
  • Describe the specialty crop grower benefit and grower connection to the project
  • Be scalable to the larger community
  • Demonstrate industry need and support
  • Include an outreach component addressing how project results, research findings, and conclusions will be extended to specialty crop growers

These mini-grants are being utilized to maximize program funding. RIDEM will issue grants of $2,500 - $10,000 in funding. Mini-grants must fit within one of the three funding Areas:

  • Covid-related expense relief
  • Produce Safety
  • Digital Media

Covid related expense relief:

A portion of this funding will be used to assist businesses, organizations, and individuals with eligible expenses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A business/organization/individual is eligible to apply for reimbursement as soon as eligible expenses are incurred and invoice(s) have been paid. Please see below for expense eligibility.

Eligible Expenses:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) less than $5,000 per unit.
  2. Facility adjustments for worker and product safety
  3. Vaccination EventsProduce Safety

Applicants should be prepared to explain how their project will

  1. Reduce or prevent on-farm food safety risks; and
  2. Help their farm transition to compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and/or meet market demands for on-farm food safety

Digital Media:

This grant can provide funding for modernization and access to digital media for eligible entities. These are meant to increase/improve market access. Eligible expenses include;

  1. Upgrade POS systems
  2. Accepting orders online
  3. Purchasing of square readers
  4. Update technology

2022-2023 Program Timeline:

Application post: August 1, 2022

Applications close: December 31, 2022, at 11:59 PM

Awards announced: On a rolling basis

Funds disbursed: On a rolling basis

Grant End Date: September 30, 2024

Final Report Due: November 30, 2024


Applying is easy - get started here!

Assistance and Questions

Questions regarding this grant and/or the competitive solicitation process should be directed to DEM at (401) 222-2781 or DEM.SpecialtyCrop@dem.ri.gov

For help with technical questions regarding the eCivis Portal, please see: https://controller.admin.ri.gov/grants-management/grant-management-system-gms/user-support/contact-gms-support-0