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News Release

NRCS Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction

Contacts: Dave Sanden (530) 691-5847

Urban agricultureDAVIS, Calif., May 17, 2021 – USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced the availability of up to $2 million for local governments to host Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot projects for fiscal year 2021. The cooperative agreements support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans and they are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture.

USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (Office) will accept applications on until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16, 2021. Projects should span two years with a start date of September 25, 2021 and completion date of September 25, 2023.

“Finding ways to turn food waste into nutrient rich compost is a win-win for farmers, communities and the environment,” said Carlos Suarez, NRCS State Conservationist in California. “The level of enthusiasm and creativity communities are putting towards this kind of problem solving is inspiring, and NRCS is proud to support it.”

Cooperative agreements support projects led by local governments that:

  • Generate compost;
  • Increase access to compost for agricultural producers;
  • Reduce reliance on and limit the use of fertilizer;
  • Improve soil quality;
  • Encourage waste management and permaculture business development;
  • Increase rainwater absorption;
  • Reduce municipal food waste; and
  • Divert food waste from landfills.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide assistance for conservation related activities.

Priority will be given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners, integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts and collaborate with multiple partners.

This is the second year the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production offered this grant opportunity. In California, the Center for Land-Based Learning was awarded last year for planning urban agriculture and offering recommendations on connecting urban farmers with the Bryte and Broderick community to improve community food access, nutrition education, and economic development in West Sacramento. Their activities identify opportunities for growth and includes recommendations to bolster the layers of positive impact that urban agriculture has on communities.

A pre-recorded webinar will provide an overview of the cooperative agreements’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. The webinar will be posted at   

More Information
Questions about this cooperative agreement opportunity can be sent to

The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill, and in addition to these grant opportunities, it offers grant and engagement opportunities. It includes representatives from many USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency and the Agricultural Marketing Service, and is led by NRCS. More information is available at  

Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include NIFA grantsFSA loans and AMS grants to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers.