Fruitful Collaboration: Specialty Crop Block Grants
Funding to promote fruits & vegetables in food retail stores
Many communities are working with small food retailers, such as corner stores and convenience stores, to increase access to healthy food in neighborhoods without larger grocery stores.
Healthy food retailer programs offer small store owners incentives, like free advertising and refrigerators, in exchange for selling fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods. While the purpose of these programs is to promote health and equal access to healthy foods in underserved neighborhoods, they can also be considered marketing programs for healthy food industries, particularly the fruit and vegetable industry (also known as the specialty crop industry).
Healthy food retailer programs typically operate with funding from public and private grants. The long-term sustainability of such programs hinges on finding dedicated sources of revenue.
One potential approach to sustainability is to partner with industries that benefit from retailers selling healthy products. The specialty crop industry is often a missing partner from healthy food retailer initiatives, despite the fact that a central goal of these programs is to expand the availability of the industry’s products.
The federal Specialty Crop Block Grant program is a potential source of funding for healthy food retailer programs. It also provides an opportunity to collaborate with the specialty crop industry to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in underserved neighborhoods.
To learn more, download our fact sheet, Fruitful Collaboration, written for anyone involved in the development or implementation of a healthy food retailer program. It describes this funding stream and how to tap into it.
You can also download our background paper, Can the Speciality Crop Block Grant Program Support Efforts to Bring Fruits and Vegetables into Small Food Retail Stores?, which describes the analysis that informed the fact sheet.