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USDA invests $5.2M in 17 urban agriculture and innovative production projects

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $5.2 million in 17 new grants that support urban agriculture and innovative production. Grant recipients, including community gardens and nonprofit farms, will increase food production and access in economically distressed communities, provide job training and education, and allow partners to develop business plans and zoning proposals. These grants build on $46.8 million invested in 186 projects since 2020 and are part of USDA's broad support for urban agriculture through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP).

"This grant program has continued to grow in popularity. We received over 620 applications this year, double from last year's total and we are excited to support urban agriculture and innovative producers and improve access to healthy and nutritious food for local communities with this round of funding." said Terry Cosby, Chief of USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which oversees OUAIP. "These projects support communities by growing fresh, healthy food, providing jobs and increasing access to healthy food in areas where grocery stores are scarce."

Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants
The Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) competitive grants program supports a wide range of activities through grants that include planning and implementation activities. Planning activities initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs, while implementation activities accelerate existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve farmers and communities.

Examples of selected projects include:

  • Denver Urban Gardens in Denver, Colo., which will improve and expand current gardens by adding new sites and food forests to existing gardens and provide residents with program support that increases their ability to grow their own food and decrease barriers to gardening.
  • Longmont Community Gardens, Longmont, Colo., which will expand its existing community garden in two locations with a primary focus for beneficiaries in underserved groups and increase their ability to donate more locally grown produce to the local community.
  • The Inter-Faith Food Shuttle in Raleigh, N.C., which will provide community garden planning, development and support including innovative agricultural education.
  • The Ecology School in Saco, Maine, which will support innovative food production, food systems education, agricultural workforce training, and fresh food distribution while improving critical elements of the local food system for long-term resilience and meeting immediate fresh food needs in the community.
  • The Friends of the Pittsburg Urban Forest in Pittsburgh, Pa., which will attempt to expand nutrition access by establishing new orchards in communities struggling with urban blight and poor soil quality in vacant lots.
  • The Polygrarian Institute in Reno, Nev., which will increase access to fresh, healthy food, promote environmental sustainability, empower communities, provide job training and educational resources and advocate for policy change.


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