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News Release

USDA Announces First-Ever Recipients of Urban Agriculture Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Lauren Finnegan

WASHINGTON, August 25, 2020 – USDA announced the selection of recipients for approximately $4.1 million in grants and cooperative agreements through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These are the first-ever recipients of these grants and cooperative agreements.


USDA is awarding about $1.14 million for three Planning Projects and about $1.88 million for seven Implementation Projects. Activities include operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, and developing business plans and zoning. Priority was given to projects located in or targeting an Opportunity Zone, is a census tract designation for low-income communities.


New Jersey-based, Parkside Business & Community in Partnership, received one of the Implementation Projects for "The Camden Urban Agriculture Leadership Pipeline Project."


The project will build a “pipeline” of programs that guide residents of the low-income, low food-access City of Camden on a pathway from resident, to gardener, to farmer, and eventually to community urban agriculture leader. The project will facilitate entrepreneurial projects by offering apprenticeships that will provide job training, equipment, business skills, leadership training, and mentoring; educate the community garden hubs using an existing network of nonprofit-run gardens and farms; and assist food producers and community organizations with policies that enable urban agriculture to thrive.


Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Projects


USDA is investing approximately $1.09 million in 13 pilot projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction. Priority was 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.


The city of Paterson, New Jersey, was one of the Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project recipients for the "Paterson Grow Healthy - Composting Pilot." 


Project partners include the City of Paterson, the Paterson Public Schools, and the Rutgers University Cooperative Extension with support from the Center for EcoTechnology. This project will build on Extension’s environmental education within Paterson’s public schools. It seeks to increase composting by the students and staff of two public school buildings; eventually expanding to stakeholders, the entire school district, the City of Paterson, and local institutions that generate significant food waste.



See the full news release.


For a complete list of grant and cooperative agreement recipients and project summaries, visit


A webinar to discuss the Office of Urban Agriculture’s work will be held on Aug. 27 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time. For the link and information on registration, see

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer, and lender.