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USDA Invests $5.2 Million in 17 Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Projects 

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USDA announced the selection of 17 new grant recipients for more than $5.2 million in Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) grants through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP).  

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WASHINGTON, July 1, 2024 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $5.2 million in 17 new grants that support urban agriculture and innovative production. Grant recipients, including community gardens and nonprofit farms, will increase food production and access in economically distressed communities, provide job training and education, and allow partners to develop business plans and zoning proposals. These grants build on $46.8 million invested in 186 projects since 2020 and are part of USDA’s broad support for urban agriculture through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP).  
 
“This grant program has continued to grow in popularity. We received over 620 applications this year, double from last year’s total and we are excited to support urban agriculture and innovative producers and improve access to healthy and nutritious food for local communities with this round of funding.” said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which oversees OUAIP. “These projects support communities by growing fresh, healthy food, providing jobs and increasing access to healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce.”   

 Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants  

The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) competitive grants program supports a wide range of activities through grants that include planning and implementation activities. Planning activities initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs, while implementation activities accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve farmers and communities. 

Examples of selected projects include: 

  • Denver Urban Gardens in Denver, Colo., which will improve and expand current gardens by adding new sites and food forests to existing gardens and provide residents with program support that increases their ability to grow their own food and decrease barriers to gardening. 
  • Longmont Community Gardens, Longmont, Colo., which will expand its existing community garden in two locations with a primary focus for beneficiaries in underserved groups and increase their ability to donate more locally grown produce to the local community. 
  • The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, N.C., which will provide community garden planning, development and support including innovative agricultural education. 
  • The Ecology School in Saco, Maine, which will support innovative food production, food systems education, agricultural workforce training, and fresh food distribution while improving critical elements of the local food system for long-term resilience and meeting immediate fresh food needs in the community. 
  • The Friends of the Pittsburg Urban Forest in Pittsburgh, Pa., which will attempt to expand nutrition access by establishing new orchards in communities struggling with urban blight and poor soil quality in vacant lots. 
  • The Polygrarian Institute in Reno, Nev., which will increase access to fresh, healthy food, promote environmental sustainability, empower communities, provide job training and educational resources and advocate for policy change. 
     

In total, 17 projects were funded in 13 states. For a complete list of grant recipients and project summaries, visit usda.gov/urban

More Information        

 OUAIP was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture and innovative production.  Other efforts include:  

  • Administering the People’s Garden Initiative, which celebrates collaborative gardens across the country and worldwide that benefit their communities by growing fresh, healthy food and supporting resilient, local food systems using sustainable practices and providing greenspace.      
  • Creating and managing a Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production to advise the Secretary on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban agriculture.        
  • Providing cooperative agreements that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans.   Several of these CFWR projects have partnered with UAIP recipient projects, supplying compost to urban farms. Applications currently being accepted until Sept. 4, 2024
  • Investing in risk management education to broaden the reach of crop insurance among urban and innovative producers.     
  • Organizing 27 FSA urban county committees to make important decisions about how FSA farm programs are administered locally. Urban farmers who participate in USDA programs in the areas selected are encouraged to participate by nominating and voting for county committee members.      
  • Partnering with the Vermont Law and Graduate School Center for Agriculture and Food Systems to develop resources that help growers understand and work through local policies.  

Learn more at usda.gov/urban. For additional resources available to producers, download the Urban Agriculture at a Glance brochure or visit farmers.gov/urban.     
    
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy, and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities throughout America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov. 

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