Pa Department of Agriculture’s $500k Urban Ag Grant Program now open

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(Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

HARRISBURG – If you’re looking to grow your own food while living in a Pennsylvania city, the Commonwealth’s Department of Agriculture wants to hear your idea.

On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced the opening of the 2021-22 PA Farm Bill’s $500,000 Urban Agriculture Grant Program that intends to grow agricultural infrastructure in urban food deserts.

Enhancing the foundation of urban agriculture can improve access to fresh, local food and provide opportunities for hands-on learning and community-building.

“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.”

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 funded projects; 2020- 21 funded projects)

Projects that have been supported in Erie County include the Wild Field Urban Farm, Green Thumb Organics and the SSJ Neighborhood Network.

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 that share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities and support community development.

The 2021-22 Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program is now open through Oct. 15. For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Bill click HERE.

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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