The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight July 6, 2020.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It includes representatives from many USDA agencies, including Farm Service Agency and Agricultural Marketing Service, and is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
“California urban agriculture is at the forefront of food sovereignty, food security, and food justice initiatives, providing local fresh produce and bringing new life to food deserts.” Said NRCS State Conservationist Carlos Suarez, “NRCS California is committed to supporting conservation agriculture and food production systems in urban, sub urban, and tribal communities. The innovative production and urban agriculture grant is an excellent opportunity to further state-wide partnerships and conservation education goals.”
USDA is making available $1 million for Planning Projects that 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 and development of policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production.
USDA is making available $2 million for 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.
A webinar, which will be held on June 3, 2020, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, will provide an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. Information on how to register and participate in the webinar, or listen to the recording, will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.
More information on USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production 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.