Specialty crops are defined by the U. S. Department of Agriculture as “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture, and nursery crops, including floriculture (flowers and ornamental plants).” Specialty crops are plants that are intensively cultivated. There are many plants that are specialty crops when cultivated, but are also collected from wild populations. Wild plants are not considered specialty crops even though they may be used for the same purpose as cultivated plants.
The Agricultural Experiment Station’s specialty crops team has been awarded five United States Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Marketing Services (USDA/AMS) grants through 2009 for a combined total of $562,000; in addition to an annual $15,000.00 USDA/SARE grant funded research award for the past four years, including 2010.
These Agricultural Experiment Station research efforts in conjunction with the Community and Extension Services professional research staff presentations, demonstrations, training, and education program activities include both on-campus, inner-city, and on-farm stakeholder outreach seminars, gardening workshops and Ag Fair for novice and experienced urban gardeners, University System of the District of Columbia faculty and students; DC Public School System youth, teachers and counselors and various other stakeholder.
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