- Associated Press - Friday, October 3, 2014

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - More than $450,000 will go to farmers markets and organizations across Missouri to help grow and promote local produce.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced 14 groups will receive block grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s specialty crop funds.

The money will help educate residents about crops that are grown in the state, including wild leeks and the pawpaw fruit.

Planned initiatives include money for Kansas City community gardens, beekeeper classes and farmers markets.

Both the University of Missouri and Missouri State University are set to use the money to research local grapes and other berries for use in wines.

Other recipients of the grants include the Columbia Farmers Market, EarthDance Organic Farm School and the Missouri Vegetable Growers Association.

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