Planting Seeds - Food & Farming News from CDFA

California recipients benefit from USDA urban agriculture grants

Photo from the San Diego Union Tribune

From a USDA News Release

The USDA has announced the selection of recipients for more than $6.6 million in grants and cooperative agreements through the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These grants and cooperative agreements build on $4.1 million in projects funded in 2020. Eight of the awarded projects are in California.   

“We are pleased to announce these urban projects in California and look forward to working with our partners,” USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Gayle Barry, Acting State Conservationist in California said.   

The grants will support a wide range of activities, including operating community gardens and nonprofit farms, increasing food production and access in economically distressed communities, providing job training and education, developing business plans and zoning, and developing strategies for municipal compost operations and food waste reduction.   

The California grant recipients are as follows:

  1. Food Waste Reduction and Composting, Blue Lake Rancheria, Humboldt County — This project will offer compost from a local brewery and coffee shop as a soil amendment for community garden members.
  2. Food Waste, Organics Collection, and Composting, County of Mariposa — The Mariposa County Solid Waste and Recycling Department will utilize the full capacity of it existing composting system to generate composted materials, increase access of agricultural producers to composted material, reduce municipal food waste, and divert food waste from landfills. 
  3. Farmers Market Food Waste Drop-off and Composting, City of Los Angeles — The City of Los Angeles, in collaboration with LA Sanitation and Environment, LA Compost, and Kiss the Ground, will establish a Farmers Market Food Waste Drop-off and Community Composting Program to collect food waste across 14 of LA’s 15 council districts.
  4. Community Compost Network, Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District, Santa Clara County — This project will create a system of community-supported composting sites to intake organic waste and produce carbon-rich soil amendments which will increase access to finished compost for urban gardeners in underserved communities.
  5. Growing Urban Agriculture, a Roadmap to the Future of Urban Agriculture in California, Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) — In partnership with a dozen regional organizations and farmer leaders in six different city centers across California, the Community Alliance with Family Farmers will improve urban agriculture across California by creating opportunities for urban farmers to connect both regionally and statewide, increasing their access to mutual resources, knowledge, and tools and creating discussion around a collective vision for urban agriculture.
  6. Urban Agriculture Assessment Plan, Fresh Approach, East Palo Alto — This project will develop a comprehensive urban agriculture assessment plan for the city of East Palo Alto. Fresh Approach will evaluate current assets (land access, job training, and business opportunities, innovation, and food access resources) and set goals and priorities for enhancing them.
  7. Promoting Leadership, Agriculture, and Newcomer Training (PLANT), International Rescue Committee — The International Rescue Committee will scale up current school garden capacity with the overarching goal of providing fresh food for distribution and educational activities for the benefit of California communities.
  8. Urban Solutions Farm, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County — This project will significantly increase the nutritious produce in the food/nutrition deserts of Orange County and their existing pantry network by building additional capacity.

For a complete list of recipients and project summaries, visit farmers.gov/urban.

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