The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing USD 14.2 million in 52 grants that support urban agriculture and innovative production. This investment, which includes American Rescue Plan Act funds, will allow grant recipients to expand access to nutritious foods, foster community engagement, increase awareness of climate change and mitigate the effects within urban areas, provide jobs, educate communities about farming, and expand green spaces.
These grants build on USD 26.3 million in projects funded since 2020 and are part of USDA’s broad support for urban agriculture through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP).
“This competitive grant program has already had tremendous impacts on communities across the country, and we look forward to partnering with local organizations to support agriculture in the urban landscape while also empowering local communities to provide fresh, healthful foods,” said Robert Bonnie, USDA’s Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation. “This grant program is part of our broad support for urban agriculture, local and regional food systems, and underserved communities.”
Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants
The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) competitive grants program supports a wide range of activities through two types of grants: planning projects and implementation projects. Today’s announced recipients include 18 planning projects and 34 implementation projects.
The planning projects will initiate or expand efforts of urban and suburban farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders. These grantees will target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers, urban forestry, and policies related to zoning and other needs of urban production. Having more capacity to gather, process, move and store food in different geographic areas of the country will provide more options for producers to create value-added products and sell locally, which will support new economic opportunities and job creation in underserved communities. Additional regional capacity also will give consumers more options to buy locally produced products helping ensure food is available to consumers and reduce the climate impact of our food supply chain.
Examples of planning projects include the City of Lorain’s Food Forward Lorain Initiative in Ohio, which seeks to create, improve, and expand access to healthy food for economically distressed neighborhoods and families by improving the urban agriculture landscape to support additional urban farming operations. Another planning project, implemented by Tampa Family Health Centers in Florida, will inform and educate residents by offering nutrition education, food preparation classes, and gardening lessons.
The implementation projects will accelerate urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve multiple farmers and improve local food access. Some projects support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, education and urban farming policy implementation.
Examples of implementation projects include Strengthening Trenton’s Agricultural Network and Climate Resilience in New Jersey, which will strengthen the capacity for urban agriculture in the region, while providing residents with essential marketable skills and opportunities for careers and supplemental income through farming. Another implementation project in Anadarko, Okla., the Delaware Nation Lenape Gardens Expansion, will install and utilize an integrated greenhouse, garden, orchard, and apiary facility to produce fresh fruits, vegetables and honey for tribal members.
In total, the 52 projects were funded in 27 states. For a complete list of grant recipients and project summaries, visit Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants.
OUAIP was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture and innovative production. These grants are part of a broader USDA investment in urban agriculture. Other efforts include:
- Creating and managing a Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production to advise the Secretary on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban agriculture.
- Renewing the People’s Garden Initiative, which celebrates collaborative gardens across the country and worldwide that benefit their communities by growing fresh, healthy food and supporting resilient, local food systems using sustainable practices, and providing greenspace.
- Providing cooperative agreements that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans.
- Investing in risk management education to broaden reach of crop insurance among urban producers.
- Organizing 17 FSA urban county committees to make important decisions about how FSA farm programs are administered locally. Urban farmers who participate in USDA programs in the areas selected are encouraged to participate by nominating and voting.
Today’s announcement supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader work to strengthen critical supply chains as directed by Executive Order 14017 America’s Supply Chains.