Urban Growers

Are you gardening or farming in an urban environment? USDA has resources that can help you start and grow your operation.

Urban agriculture includes the cultivation, processing, and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban areas. Community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic and aquaponic facilities, and vertical production, are all examples of urban agriculture. Tribal communities and small towns may also be included.

USDA is committed to working with farms of all sizes and in all locations, including those in urban areas. Agencies across USDA including the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP), which stretches across multiple agencies, have programs and resources available.

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Starting, Financing, and Protecting Your Farm or Garden

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Access to capital enables you to buy or lease land, buy equipment, and help with other operating costs. Learn more about accessing to land and capital. If you’re new to farming, check out our resources for beginning farmers. We can help you with resources for your business plan, something every farm business needs.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) offers many types of loans, including microloans tailored specifically to small-scale farms. See more information on USDA funding for your operation and use the loan discovery tool (also available in Spanish) to determine what might work well for you.

Risk Management Agency (RMA) can help you insure your crops against losses due to unforeseen circumstances, including the micro farm policy specifically tailored to small operations, including farms producing specialty or organic commodities. Learn more about the available insurance policies and disaster recovery programs from a local insurance agent, by visiting your local USDA service center or by using the free disaster assistance discovery tool.

Rural Development can help urban producers locate guaranteed financing through the Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program.

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On-Farm Guidance and Innovation

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Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) offers technical and financial assistance with conservation practices, including high tunnels, soil health management systems, composting facilities and irrigation. They can help you identify your goals with a developing a conservation plan.

Local and regional agricultural organizations like Cooperative Extension also offer free training and expertise.

OUAIP offers competitive grants for projects that improve local food access, support farmer infrastructure, or increase production by urban farms or food forests.

Conservation Innovation Grants offer funding for on-farm projects, some of which are targeted towards urban farms. Farmers apply for projects that develop new approaches, practices, and technologies to further natural resource conservation.

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Marketing and Selling

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Programs offered through FSA, Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) can help you reach consumers in new ways and open additional revenue streams when selling products.

The Women, Infants, Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program issues coupons for eligible foods from state-approved farmers, farmers' markets, or roadside stands. Contact your state for eligibility and information on how to accept WIC as payment when selling products directly to consumers.

Farm Storage Facility Loans (FSA) provide low-interest loans to build, upgrade, or purchase permanent or portable facilities to store commodities, including fruit and vegetable cold storage, washing, packing, and handling buildings and equipment.

Farmers Market Promotion Program (FMPP) funds projects that develop, coordinate and expand direct producer-to-consumer markets like farmers markets. Agricultural businesses and cooperative are among the eligible entities.

Service Centers

If you haven’t worked with USDA previously, your first step should be to contact your USDA Service Center and make an appointment. Be sure to ask what documents you’ll need.

Some considerations before your visit:

  • What is your vision for your garden or farm?
  • What are your challenges?

If you need information in a language other than English, we offer free translation services.


Self-service Options

Learn how to sign up for a farmers.gov account. You can view loan information and manage conservation business online.

We also have a number of tools to help you: find the right loan; learn about recovery options after natural disasters, find a crop insurance agent, or discover conservation options.

Farmer Coordinators

Some states have NRCS urban conservationists who can help meet your specific needs as an urban farmer. Contact your local USDA service to find out if your state has one, and what other resources are available.

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Coordinators are USDA team members who can help you understand the USDA process and find the right assistance for your operation. We have coordinators in every state across the country.

Your local USDA Extension office and Conservation District will also have resources for you.

Other Types of Assistance

  • Community Groups, Schools, and Non-Profits - Some assistance is specifically designed for the needs of community organizations, school groups, non-profits, and other entities involved in urban agriculture. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has multiple grants available that can help you fund projects that increase food access in your community. AMS and the multi-agency Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUIAIP) offers grants and Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements that can help you making lasting impacts in your community. Learn more on USDA’s Urban Agriculture website.
  • Urban Forestry - The Urban Forestry Toolkit, is a helpful resource for communities wanting to implement urban forestry.
  • Historically Underserved Farmers - We offer help for the unique concerns of producers who meet the USDA definition of “historically underserved” including beginning, socially disadvantaged, limited resource, and military veteran farmers. Use this self-determination tool to determine if you’re a limited resource producer. In addition, women in agriculture are helping to pave the way for a better future and are eligible for special provisions through some programs. Agrability offers services that can help adapt and modify equipment to be more accessible.
  • Farmers in Small Towns, Where Urban and Rural Meet - Rural Development (RD) has programs and resources available to help farmers and communities in small towns or the urban/rural interface.
  • Organic Farmers - if your urban farm is organic, USDA offers certification assistance and conservation practices. Learn more on our Organic Farmers webpage.
  • Tribal Communities - farmers in rural and urban areas, and in between, and may be interested in this and other USDA Tribal programs and services.

    Get Involved

    In addition to our farm programs, there are many leadership opportunities for urban farmers to contribute their voices and experience. Through USDA, you can take advantage of several key opportunities.

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    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 the pandemic. Many USDA Service Centers are open for visitors, but some may remain open by appointment only. Contact your local Service Center to determine their open status or make an appointment. Service Center staff continues to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. 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.