- Funding Restoration: Senator Debbie Stabenow restored $8.5 million in funding for the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
- Senate Approval: The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill passed the Senate with the restored funding.
- Support for Urban Agriculture: The Office assists urban, small-scale, and innovative producers with technical and financial assistance.
- Community Impact: The funding supports community farms and gardens, rooftop, indoor, and vertical farms, increasing greenspaces and access to fresh, local foods.
- Bipartisan Support: The amendment to restore funding was cosponsored by several senators and approved by voice vote.
Advocacy for Urban Agriculture
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, has successfully restored $8.5 million in funding for the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. This restoration was included in the Senate-passed Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Bill.
Collaborative Effort and Senate Approval
Initially, neither the Senate nor House agriculture appropriations bills included dedicated funding for the Office of Urban Agriculture and innovative production. However, Stabenow filed an amendment and led her colleagues in restoring funding to the office and its programs. The amendment, cosponsored by Senators Brown, Blumenthal, Booker, Durbin, Fetterman, Gillibrand, Rosen, Warnock, Markey, Wyden, and Cassidy, was approved by voice vote. The appropriations package, including Stabenow’s amendment, passed the Senate on Wednesday by a vote of 82 to 15 and must now be conferenced with the House before being signed into law.
Impact on Urban Agriculture
“Urban agriculture is growing in cities and towns across the country, creating new economic opportunities and healthier communities,” said Stabenow. The funding aims to increase greenspace, build more resilient communities, and provide access to fresh, local foods.
Endorsements from Organizations
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC), the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA), and the CEA Alliance have applauded Senator Stabenow and her colleagues’ leadership in securing essential funding. They emphasize the importance of urban agriculture in connecting urban centers to fresh produce, enabling growers to explore emerging indoor technology, and building resiliency in local and regional food systems.
Stabenow’s Leadership and Future Outlook
Senator Stabenow has long championed urban agriculture. Through her leadership, the 2018 Farm Bill formally recognized urban agriculture at the United States Department of Agriculture for the first time by establishing the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production and supporting grant programs. Since then, the office has invested more than $50 million in over 230 grants and cooperative agreements across the country to support urban agriculture.