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News Release

USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

SOMERSET, May 27, 2021 –The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of up to $4 million for grants to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects. USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production is accepting proposals for planning and innovation projects, and these grants are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture. 

USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 30, 2021.

“Urban agriculture can play an important role in food justice and equity,” said Lindsay Caragher, Acting Farm Service Agency Executive Director in New Jersey.

 “Such projects have the potential to educate, innovate, and unify communities to improve nutrition and food access and increase local food production in urban areas,” said Julie Hawkins, Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist in New Jersey.

Planning Projects
Planning projects initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Projects may target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers, urban agroforestry or food forests, and development of policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production.

This is the second year USDA offered this grant opportunity. Examples of previous planning projects include:

  • The City of New Haven, Connecticut is developing the first New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan. The plan will be used to access land and opportunities to increase the production and sale of locally grown foods, build community, improve public health and well-being and provide economic opportunity, particularly in areas with vacant land and limited food access.

  • California’s Center for Land-Based Learning is producing a comprehensive urban agriculture assessment of West Sacramento, mapping and documenting current activities, identifying opportunities for growth, and making recommendations to bolster the layers of positive impact urban agriculture has on communities.

Implementation Projects
Implementation projects that accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers. Projects will improve local food access and collaborate with partner organizations and may support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, educational endeavors and urban farming policy implementation.

Examples of previous implementation projects include:

  • The Parkside Business & Community in Partnership 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.

  • NY Sun Works  The organization is working with Brooklyn public schools to implement a year-round urban farming program, integrate a hands-on urban farming program into school curricula, launch a Harvest program to engage the greater community, and create a hands-on hydroponic farming job training certification program at the high schools.

Webinar

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

More Information
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill, and, through these grant opportunities, it offers opportunities for engagements as well as cooperative agreements. It includes representatives from many USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency and the Agricultural Marketing Service, and is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban. offsite link image    

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

 

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In 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 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 in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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