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Farm Bill 101: Growing Urban Agriculture

? “Urban agriculture is growing in cities and towns across the country, creating new economic opportunities and safer, healthier communities.” — Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow

What is Urban Agriculture?

  • Urban agriculture includes the farms, food systems, and green spaces in cities and suburban communities around the country.
  • From community gardens to rooftop farms and farmers markets, urban agriculture creates economic opportunity, promotes local food systems, encourages innovative methods of food production, and provides fresh produce in communities where quality grocery stores can be scarce.
  • Urban farms, many of which are owned and operated by communities of color, increase access to opportunities for beginning, young, and underserved farmers.
  • Urban agriculture is also an important tool to address the climate crisis by increasing green space, which reduces the heat island effect in cities, captures carbon, and absorbs stormwater runoff.

Program History:

  • Community farms and gardens have been a staple in cities and suburban communities for decades, growing by more than 30% over the last 30 years. 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 (OUAIP) and supporting grant programs. 

Fun Fact:

  • It costs more to throw food into a landfill than to compost it. Community composting programs save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and produce nutrient-rich, usable soil!

Program in Action:

  • The Farm Bill supports urban agriculture through promotion, technical assistance, research, community development, food access, and conservation.
  • OUAIP has invested more than $50 million in more than 230 grants and cooperative agreements across the country supporting urban agriculture.
  • Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants (UAIP); Urban, Indoor, and Emerging Agriculture Research, Education, and Extension Initiative (UIE); and Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements (CFWR) support new and growing efforts that target food access, local policy development, emerging technologies, and reducing food waste.
  • And much more!

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