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.
Starting, Financing, and Protecting Your Farm or Garden
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.
On-Farm Guidance and Innovation
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.
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.
Marketing and Selling
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.
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.
Learn how to sign up for a farmers.gov account. You can view loan information and manage conservation business online.
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.
- 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.
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.
- Farm Service Agency Urban County Committees are elected committee members provide input on USDA urban agriculture policy in selected cities.
- Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture meetings are open to the public, check the link for updates.
- Research and Promotion Programs from the Agricultural Marketing Service.
- Learn how to connect with your agricultural community through local partners, county committees and USDA.
- July 20, 2022 News Release: Urban Producers, Public Invited to Attend Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
- June 15, 2022 News Release: Farm Service Agency Now Accepting Nominations for Farmers and Ranchers to Serve on Local County Committees
- June 3, 2022 News Release: USDA Advances Food System Transformation with $43 Million for Urban Agriculture and Innovation, Adds New Urban County Committees
- May 3, 2022 News Release: USDA Renews People’s Garden Initiative
- March 2, 2022 Blog: Cover Crops Benefit Both Commercial Farmers and Urban Gardeners
- March 2, 2022 Video: Urban Cover Crops
- February 1, 2022 News Release: USDA Announces Inaugural Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture
- November 3, 2021 News Release: 2021 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway
- Blog: USDA Announces Recipients of Urban Agriculture Grants and Cooperative Agreements
- October 1, 2021 News Release: USDA Community Compost Grant Opens Up Potential to Compost 25% of landfill waste in Anchorage, Alaska
- June 22, 2021 News Release: Farm Service Agency Now Accepting Nominations for County Committee Members
- May 27, 2021 News Release: USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
- May 17, 2021 News Release: USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction - 2021
- January 6, 2020 News Release: USDA Seeks Members for Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture
- December 17, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces Six More Farm Service Agency County Committees for Urban Agriculture, Requests Nominations
- August 25, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces First-Ever Recipients of Urban Agriculture Grants and Cooperative Agreements
- August 12, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces New Farm Service Agency County Committees for Urban Agriculture, Requests Nominations
- May 11, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction - 2020
- May 6, 2020 News Release: USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
- Ask the Expert: A Q&A on Urban Conservation and Gardening in the Summer with Brooke Franklin
- Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants Webpage
- Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements Webpage
- USDA's Urban Agriculture Programs at a Glance
- March 2022 Fact Sheet: USDA Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants
- February 2022 Fact Sheet: Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
- May 21, 2021 Fact Sheet: USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production: Reducing Food Waste
- Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS): Urban Agriculture
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.