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News Release

USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction

Rebecca Haddix

MORGANTOWN, W. Va., May 24, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today 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 Jon Bourdon, NRCS State Conservationist in West Virginia. “The level of enthusiasm and creativity communities are putting towards this kind of problem solving is inspiring, and USDA is proud to support it."

Details 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.
  • 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. Examples of previous projects include:

  • Prince William County Public Schools Food Waste Composting and Education Pilot, VA –  The Prince William County Department of Public Works Solid Waste Division (SWD) will work with project partners to implement a food waste composting pilot program for county schools and educate students on the environmental, economic, and social benefits of food waste composting.
  • City of Philadelphia Cross-Sector Food Waste Diversion, PA –The project will bolster the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s Community Compost Network and will pilot a Food Service Business Challenge, which will provide technical assistance to 10-15 businesses citywide to implement food waste reduction strategies.

Webinar 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.

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