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Urban Agriculture Grants and Engagement Opportunities

Urban agriculture generally refers to the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban settings, including things like vertical production, warehouse farms, community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and other innovations. Urban farmers and gardeners work among diverse populations to expand access to nutritious foods, foster community engagement, provide jobs, educate communities about farming, and expand green spaces.

How to Get Involved

Feedback from farmers is crucial to USDA’s success, and USDA is working on two different networks to gather input and information. More information on how to get involved will be available in summer or fall of 2020.

Federal Advisory Committee

This committee will be composed of agricultural producers and industry professionals who will advise the USDA on policies and outreach.

Urban and Suburban County Committees

These new Farm Service Agency County Committees will focus on issues around urban agriculture. Farmers who serve on committees help deliver FSA farm programs at the local level and ensure the programs serve the needs of local producers. The first five locations are listed below; five additional locations will be announced later in the fall.

  • Richmond, VA
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Cleveland, OH
  • Portland, OR
  • Albuquerque, NM

August 12, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces New Farm Service Agency County Committees for Urban Agriculture, Requests Nominations

 

How to Get Funding

Deadlines have passed for Fiscal Year 2020 grants and cooperative agreements.

Coronavirus Food Assistance Program

You may be eligible for funding through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, even if you’ve never worked with USDA before. See the list of crops and learn how to self-certify for assistance.

Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production Competitive Grants

Program Planning Projects will 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.

Implementation Projects will 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.

Deadlines have passed for Fiscal Year 2020 grants and cooperative agreements. The FY 2020 selected applicants are listed below.

Planning Project Selected Applicants

Organization Name

State

Project Name

Project Description

City of New Haven

Connecticut

The New Haven Urban Agriculture Master Plan - Creating a Blueprint for Equitable Urban Agricultural Growth in New Haven, Conn.

The city’s Food System Policy Division will develop 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.

Center for Land-Based Learning

California

Urban Agriculture Assessment and Recommendations: Connecting Urban Farmers with Broderick/Bryte Community to Improve Community Food Access, Nutrition Education, and Economic Development

The Center for Land-Based Learning will produce a comprehensive urban agriculture assessment of West Sacramento. It will map and document current activities, identify opportunities for growth, and include recommendations to bolster the layers of positive impact urban agriculture has on communities.

Feast Down East

North Carolina

Community Learning Farm Planning Project

 

The project supports a strategic planning process, including a feasibility study and stakeholder assessment, for the development of a community learning farm. A site development plan that will create community access and opportunities will also be created for the both the physical site and for programming.

 

Implementation Projects Selected Applicants

Organization Name

State

Project Name

Project Description

NY Sun Works

 

New York

 

Urban Hydroponic Agriculture in NYC Public School Classrooms

 

NY Sun Works will work with Brooklyn public schools: three elementary, three middle schools, and three high schools. The project will 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.

Association of Africans Living in Vermont

 

Vermont

 

New Farms for New Americans: Improving Lands, Improving Lives

New Farms for New Americans provides garden plots to approximately 70 households on five acres of leased land to support food production and community building for new Americans facing food insecurity and chronic health issues. The project will build upon the existing garden infrastructure to improve local food access, offer a 48-week agriculture program for refugee farmers focusing on food systems and nutrition, and establish a leadership/mentorship program with the Vermont Community Garden Network. Over 250 people of multiple ages, over seven languages and five ethnic groups will be reached.

Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light

Arkansas

Building a Network of Growers to Improve Access to Local Food

Arkansas Interfaith Power and Light will collaborate with partners to improve access to local food, foster a network of urban gardeners and farmers who share resources and knowledge, assist local growers with building infrastructure,  expand and improve community gardens to become self-sustainable, educate the community on food systems and the nutritional value of plant-rich diets, share knowledge of environmental benefits of local agricultural production, offer hands-on learning in organic farming, mentor youth and young adults interested in urban agricultural occupations, and engage more people in local food production.

Famicos Foundation

Ohio

Grow Glenville

Famicos Foundation works to improve lives in greater Cleveland through neighborhood revitalization, affordable housing, and integrated social services. The project will reinvigorate the garden at the  Michael R. White STEM School using emerging technologies to produce healthy, fresh food for area residents, provide a STEM education opportunity, offer jobs to local youth, and generate income at Famicos’ Gateway 105 Market.

The Greenleaf Foundation

Georgia

Eastside Hyper-Local Food System Project

Greenleaf Community Farm serves as a hub for connecting and supporting entrepreneurial food projects and closing the food system gap in Atlanta City Council District 5. The project includes a community farm, a payflex farm stand, and a community gathering space to connect and educate residents. It will also expand the Edible Neighborhoods program to provide equitable access to fresh produce, educate residents on edible landscaping, and serve as an entry point into the food system.

Common Ground Producers and Growers

Kansas

Common Ground Urban Innovation Project

The Common Ground Mobile Market will provide fresh produce to food deserts and food insecure areas in targeted urban zip codes in Wichita and Sedgwick Counties. The project will facilitate entrepreneurial projects through job training, use of farm equipment and land, mentoring and other business development assistance to new and beginning farmers. The mobile market will partner with the K-State Extension Growing Growers program, which provides an apprentice to help with the market and offer training in farming and gardening.

Parkside Business & Community in Partnership

New Jersey

 

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.

 

 

FAQ

 

Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project Cooperative Agreements

These cooperative agreements intend to solicit applications and fund pilot projects in no fewer than 10 states. The primary goal is to assist local and municipal governments with projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. Implementation activities will increase access to compost for agricultural producers, improve soil quality and encourages innovative, scalable waste management plans that reduce and divert food waste from landfills.

Deadlines have passed for Fiscal Year 2020 grants and cooperative agreements. The FY 2020 selected applicants are listed below.

Selected Applicants

Organization Name

State

Project Name

Project Description

City of Prescott

Arizona

Prescott Community Compost Program

The city will collaborate with the Prescott Farmers Market, volunteers, restaurants, Yavapai County Cooperative Extension, and Prescott College to design, build and implement the Prescott Community Compost Program. The program will educate the community about composting, reduce food waste by collecting and composting restaurant food scraps, and provide high-quality compost to gardeners and farmers in Central Yavapai County. The program anticipates 28 tons of finished compost over the two-year program.

City of New Haven

Connecticut

New Haven Community Composting Collaborative

The project will bring together local organizations to expand community composting and growing local food. Goals include reducing food waste; generating high-quality compost to support urban agriculture and gardening in New Haven, and convening a Community Composting Collaborative to explore scaling up food waste composting.

Boulder County

Colorado

Restore Colorado: A Table to Farm Movement

Boulder County and collaborating nonprofits Mad Agriculture (Mad Ag) and Zero Foodprint will create a more circular food economy in which restaurants and consumers provide funding to incentivize healthy soil and conservation practices. Under the “Restore Colorado” campaign, restaurants will be invited to collect an additional 1% fee from customer bills to fund regenerative farm projects.

Douglas County

Kansas

Partnerships for Food Resource Recovery

The City of Lawrence Municipal Services & Operations will partner with Just Food on a food waste collection pilot to incorporate into its yard waste compost facility; establish a farm gleaning program to provide produce to clients of Just Food, Lawrence Community Shelter, and Sunrise Project; and encourage farmer and gardener access to the composting facility.

City of New York

New York

DSNY-BRS Big Reuse Compost Drop-Offs, Processing, Distribution

DSNY will collaborate with nonprofit composting organization Big Reuse to establish 20 food scrap drop-off locations at community gardens, libraries, residential buildings, and nonprofits near their compost sites. NYC Parks Department will divert wood chips and leaves from landfill disposal. GreenThumb, Brooklyn Grange, Hellgate Farms, Gowanus Canal Conservancy, and other urban farms will distribute compost for food production in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. The project anticipates diverting 600,000 pounds of food scraps and green waste from landfills and providing 350 cubic yards of compost to food producers.

City of Philadelphia

Pennsylvania

City of Philadelphia Cross-Sector Food Waste Diversion

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.

Lake County

Illinois

Lake County Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project

The project will develop a stronger, more vibrant circular economy for managing food scraps and other organic material. It includes a compost to farmland/community garden demonstration study, strengthening the community gardening network, market development for compost, and education efforts to increase participation rates in the commercial and residential sectors.

City of Fayetteville

Arkansas

Mobile Food Waste Collection and Compost Education Program City of Fayetteville, Arkansas

The project will support the purchase and development of a mobile Food Waste Recovery Trailer that will be transported to events and festivals to collect food waste and educate residents. The City will provide residents with 3.5-gallon food waste containers for the home, allowing waste to be dropped off at several sites. An extensive food waste composting educational program will include a full-time educator to provide information, instruction, and advice on theories and methods of organic composting.

Henderson County

North Carolina

Henderson County Organics Pilot Expansion

The project will improve local infrastructure by expanding the public compost facility, increasing the lunchroom composting program to six additional schools, and starting a residential discounted compost bin program.

City of Paterson

New Jersey

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.

Municipality of Anchorage

Alaska

Expanding on Success and Envisioning the Future of Organics Diversion in Anchorage, Alaska

The project includes a feasibility study and implementation plan for a municipal-scale composting operation at the Anchorage Regional Landfill, including an education campaign in partnership with the Alaska Food Policy Council, Alaska Waste, and Central Recycling Services. An additional 500 roll carts will be purchased with pick up service to increase composting.

Prince William County

Virginia

Prince William County Public Schools Food Waste Composting and Education Pilot

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 Gainesville

Florida

Gainesville Pilot Composting Program

The project will implement a residential curbside food waste collection program, boost community composting efforts, and develop an overall local food waste strategy. Community outreach will include educational materials promoting the importance of food waste reduction, benefits of composting, and farm use of compost.

FAQ

 

 

USDA's Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to create a new office to better focus on the needs of urban farmers. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service is leading the USDA-wide office, including representatives from several other USDA agencies such as Farm Service Agency and the Agricultural Marketing Service.

This office works to:

  • Manage a competitive grants program
  • Establish a federal advisory committee and 10 FSA urban and suburban county committees
  • Engage stakeholders and identify state and municipal best practices to assist urban and suburban farmers
  • Develop policies and resources to assist urban producers

Additional Resources

Find Your Local Service Center

We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to COVID-19. While employees continue to staff our Service Centers, some are only available for phone appointments at this time. You can learn the status of your service center through this tool. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.