The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the funding recipients of urban agriculture grants and cooperative agreements. More than $6.6 million is being made available through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The announcement builds on the $4.1 million provided for projects in 2020.
“As the People’s Department, USDA is committed to assisting all facets of agriculture, including operations in our cities,” USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Terry Cosby said in a press release. “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.”
The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production grant program supports both planning and implementation projects. Project activities include community gardening, job training and education, and increasing food production and access. A total of 10 Planning Projects and 11 Implementation Projects are being supported by $4.75 million in funding from USDA.
USDA is also investing approximately $1.92 million in Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Projects. A total of 24 projects have been selected that are forecasted to bring economic benefits through the development of municipal compost and food waste reduction plans. Projects include those that help to make compost easily accessible to farmers, integrate other food waste strategies, and include food recovery efforts. A comprehensive list of funding recipients is available online.
The grants and cooperative agreements are part of larger USDA efforts to help support urban agriculture. Other initiatives include establishing the Secretary’s Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture sometime this fall. USDA’s Farm Service Agency will also continue developing county committees specifically designed to address urban agriculture. Risk management training efforts and crop insurance education for historically underserved and urban producers will also be supported by an investment of $260,000.