Urban ag meeting with USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages urban producers and others to attend the second public meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on August 5.  The Committee will discuss new urban conservation practices, focus areas and priorities for the Commission, and the new Farm Service Agency (FSA) urban county committees, among other topics. 

“This Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is giving USDA valuable insights, feedback and guidance on how USDA can better serve producers in urban areas,” said Brian Guse, Director of USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). “Working with the Committee, USDA will develop strategies to address the needs of  urban agricultural producers and promote innovative production, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy, local food.”  

The Committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Membersinclude agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing. The inaugural meeting of the Committee was held in March 2022.  

About the Meeting  

Topics include:

o    Focus areas and priorities for the Committee 

o    Update on USDA’s Equity Commission priorities 

o    Briefing on New urban conservation practices 

o    Update on FSA urban county committees 

The meeting is August 5, 2022 from 1-3 p.m. Eastern. To attend, register by Aug. 4, 2022. The public can register to attend the Committee meeting at zoomgov.  Written comments or questions must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. Eastern July 29 through the Federal eRulemaking Portal.  

For special accommodations, please contact Tammy Willis at (315) 456-9024 or UrbanAgricultureFederalAdvisoryCommittee@usda.gov

USDA will post the final agenda 24 to 48 hours prior to the meeting on farmers.gov/urban. For additional information about the Committee or the upcoming meeting please visit the June 30 Federal Register notice and the Committee’s webpage

USDA and Urban Agriculture  

The Committee is part of a broad USDA investment in urban agriculture. Other efforts include:  

·         Reopening the People’s Garden Initiative. People’s Gardens across the country grow fresh, healthy food and support resilient, local food systems; teach people how to garden using sustainable practices; and nurture habitat for pollinators and wildlife, and greenspace for neighbors.  

·         Offering grants that target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers, and policy development related to zoning and other urban production needs. USDA made available $14.2 million this year as well as invested $18.7 million in projects not able to be funded in 2021.  

·         Offering cooperative agreements that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. USDA made available $10.2 million this year.  

·         Providing technical and financial assistance through conservation programs offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). 

·         Investing $260,000 for risk management training and crop insurance education for historically underserved and urban producers through partnerships between USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and state universities. 

·         Announcement of 17 FSA urban county committees.  

OUAIP was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction.  

Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include grants from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture as well as FSA loans.  

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