Department of Agriculture Opens $500,000 Program to Improve Urban Agriculture Infrastructure, Food Sovereignty

Agriculture Secretary Russell ReddingCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced the opening this week of the 2021-22 PA Farm Bill’s $500,000 Urban Agriculture Grant Program to grow agricultural infrastructure in urban food deserts to improve access to fresh, local food and provide opportunities for hands-on learning and community-building. With improved agricultural infrastructure, urban growers can prioritize access to sufficient, healthy, and culturally appropriate foods for their community.

“Access to sufficient, healthy, fresh, and culturally appropriate food is a basic right of all people,” said Redding. “With increased agricultural infrastructure in urban areas, growers can prioritize food access and security for their community, effectively growing food sovereignty across the commonwealth.”

The $500,000 Urban Agriculture Grant Program will provide grants to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, sharing of resources, and support for community development efforts. In the first two years of the program, the Wolf Administration invested $1 million in urban agriculture which has leveraged an additional $1 million in local investments through matching dollars. In total for the first two years, the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Program has funded 70 projects in 16 counties. (2019-20 funded2020- 21 funded)

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Two types of grants can be awarded: “microgrants” and “collaboration” grants. Microgrants of up to $2,500 in matching funds can be used for one-time projects or a single entity applicant. Collaboration grants (up to $50,000 in matching funds) demonstrate cooperative or regional efforts which share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities, and support community development.

“In July, I had the opportunity to travel and visit urban agriculture projects across the state and see the true impact of urban gardens on their community,” added Redding. “Urban agriculture is about more than growing food to nourish bodies, it’s nourishment for the soul and fertilizer for healthier, happier, brighter communities. Urban agriculture is about growing access to fresh, nutritious food while simultaneously providing opportunities for personal and community growth through shared purpose and passion.”

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The 2021-22 Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program closes on October 15, 2021.

The PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of programming and funding for Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Bill visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.

Other PA Farm Bill programs currently accepting applications include the $500,000 Farm to School Grant Program$1 million Farm Vitality Grant Program, and the $3 million Resource Enhancement and Protection tax credit program.

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