HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced approval for $500,000 in funding to support 42 projects through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill’s Urban Agriculture Grant Program. The projects funded include everything from refrigeration equipment to agricultural infrastructure such as greenhouses, raised beds, irrigation, and tools to provide urban ag operations every opportunity to succeed as they work to feed and build their communities.
“The pandemic has made one thing abundantly clear: hyper-local food production is key to addressing food insecurity, especially in urban areas of the commonwealth where food apartheids are a sad reality,” said Redding. “Access to affordable fresh and nutritious foods is key to building healthy communities and that was the impetus of this Urban Ag Program.
“These 42 projects are an opportunity to increase agricultural awareness, provide opportunities for hands-on learning and community building, and, of course, a means to increase local food access and stop the cycle that limits economic opportunities and better health,” added Redding.
The Urban Agriculture Grant Program funded 18 microgrants and 24 collaboration grants for projects that improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, sharing of resources, and support for community development efforts.
Microgrants provide funding up to $2,500 in matching funds for one-time projects or a single entity. Collaboration grants provide up to $50,000 in matching funds for projects that demonstrated cooperative or regional efforts to share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities, and support community development.
Counties with funded projects include Allegheny, Berks, Blair, Butler, Chester, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Luzerne, Montgomery, Philadelphia and York. Eligibility to be considered as “urban” was determined by criteria from the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.
The PA Farm Bill is a comprehensive set of programming and funding for Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. With the third round of funding proposed in Governor Wolf’s 2021-22 budget, the PA Farm Bill will continue to strengthen the resiliency of the industry so many rely on to sustain life.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Farm Bill visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture