The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $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 $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 for 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.” 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.