COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 7, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the selection of recipients for more than $6.6 million in grants and cooperative agreements through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These grants and cooperative agreements build on $4.1 million in projects funded in 2020.
“As the People’s Department, USDA is committed to assisting all facets of agriculture, including operations in our cities,” said Lori Ziehr, USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Acting State Conservationist in Ohio.
“These projects nourish communities with fresh, healthy food; teach generations the joy and fulfillment of farming and partnerships; and produce environmental benefits by reducing food waste and creating compost that can be used in a variety of farming operations,” USDA Farm Service Agency Acting State Executive Director Mark VanHoose said.
Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Competitive Grants
The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program supports a wide range of activities through two grant types, which are Planning Projects and 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.
USDA is awarding $4.75 million for 10 Planning Projects and 11 Implementation Projects. The Refugee Response in Cleveland, Ohio received a Planning Project grant.
Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project
Through Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) Projects, USDA is investing approximately $1.92 million in 24 pilot projects to develop and implement strategies for municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. USDA prioritized 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.
Ohio CCFWR project recipients include the Cities of Cincinnati and Upper Arlington.
For a complete list of grant and cooperative agreement recipients and project summaries, visit farmers.gov/urban.
USDA and Urban Agriculture
The grants and cooperative agreements are part of a broad USDA investment in urban agriculture. Other efforts include:
•Establishing the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture, which will be announced later this fall.
•Establishing Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees devoted exclusively to urban agriculture. FSA has established 11, and additional ones will be announced later this year.
•Investing $260,000 for risk management training and crop insurance education for historically underserved and urban producers through partnerships between the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the University of Maryland, the University of Connecticut, and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by USDA’s NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban.
Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include 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 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 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 http://www.usda.gov.
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