Local Growers Thrive with USDA’s Urban Agriculture Investments

Local growers are the heart of the urban agricultural landscape

A Big Announcement

In a momentous announcement on June 3, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled a comprehensive plan to revolutionize urban agriculture in the United States. The program included an allocation of $43.1 million for grants and cooperative agreements, aimed at bolstering the urban farming sector. Additionally, the initiative established six new urban county committees to facilitate the delivery of vital USDA programs to urban producers, opening a new chapter in urban agriculture’s history.

The announcement, detailed in a USDA news release, signified a significant commitment to foster a more sustainable and inclusive food system. This generous investment aimed to address the unique challenges faced by urban growers, including limited access to land, resources, and support networks [source: USDA Kansas News Release].

The impact of these investments is already being felt across the nation, with numerous success stories illustrating the transformative power of these initiatives. Let’s delve into some specific examples:

Baltimore Blooms with Urban Farming Success

Baltimore, Maryland, has been a shining example of how the USDA’s investments are transforming urban agriculture. Local growers, such as Real Food Farms, have embraced the opportunity presented by the grants and cooperative agreements. With the assistance of USDA funding, they have expanded their operations, increased crop diversity, and reached more underserved communities. As a result, these urban farms are not only feeding the city but also creating jobs and fostering a sense of community involvement.
Legacy Fund supports Real Food Farm with Internships
Real Farm Foods grow fresh produce for underserved communities in baltimore
Real Food Farm in the news/

 

Chicago’s Urban Agriculture Renaissance

Chicago, Illinois, has witnessed a renaissance in urban agriculture, as local growers, nonprofit organizations, and community groups have utilized the USDA’s investments. One such organization, Growing Home, is dedicated to training and employing individuals with employment barriers in organic agriculture. The funds provided by the USDA have allowed them to increase their training capacity, helping more individuals secure employment while promoting urban farming’s sustainability.
Food insecurity magnifies inequity in Chicago
Growing Food and Open Space in Chicago
Inside the Chicago Urban Farm Cultivating the Means to Fight Food Insecurity

The success stories emerging from these cities and others across the country underscore the transformative impact of the USDA’s urban agriculture program. With the support of $43.1 million in grants and cooperative agreements, and the establishment of six new urban county committees, small local growers have been empowered to thrive, while urban farming has emerged as a key player in advancing a more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient food system.

The USDA’s commitment to supporting urban agriculture represents a significant step forward in creating equitable access to healthy, locally-grown food, stimulating local economies, and fostering vibrant, green communities. As these success stories continue to unfold, it becomes evident that small local growers are at the heart of a dynamic and flourishing urban agricultural landscape.

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