According to the USDA's dietary recommendations - which are represented in the MyPlate infographic - half the food Americans eat should be fruit and vegetables. However, the same agency allocates under one-half of 1 percent of agency funds to specialty crops like fruits and vegetables, reported Helene Bottemiller Evich in Politico.
California small-scale farmers have an ally in their corner when it comes to specialty crop production - UC Cooperative Extension small farm advisors, noted a recent article in Capital Press.
In Fresno, UCCE small farm advisor Richard Molinar is working with Southeast Asian farmers on such crops as Chinese long beans, gailon, eggplant and jujubes, the story said.
He's also helping growers produce Uzbek-Russian melon, which is said to be more flavorful than cantaloupe or honeydew. And for the past seven years, he's been experimenting with miniature watermelons, another specialty crop well suited for small-scale...
Three UC Davis researchers will receive grants from USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture for projects to benefit the California specialty-crop industry, according to a UC Davis news release issued yesterday.
The new grants are:
- $2.6 million to study the use of sensors for precision canopy and water management of specialty crops. The lead researcher is professor of biological and agricultural engineering Shrini Upadhyaya, a precision farming expert.