DAVIS, Calif. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
“We’re excited to support our partners in community agriculture with an effort to turn food scraps into compost for the benefits of soil health and nutrition,” said NRCS State Conservation Agronomist Hudson Minshew. To help close the loop from compost production to applying it on farms, this fall, California NRCS will release a new interim conservation practice standard, ‘Soil Carbon Amendment,’ that will provide more opportunities for financial assistance to farmers who wish to apply compost on their farms to improve soil health.
USDA will accept applications on Grants.gov until midnight June 26, 2020. Projects should span two years with a start date of October 1, 2020 and completion date of September 29, 2022.
Cooperative agreements support projects led by local governments that: 1) generate compost; 2) increase access to compost for agricultural producers; 3) reduce reliance on, and limit the use of, fertilizer; 4) improve soil quality; 5) encourage waste management and permaculture business development; 6) increase rainwater absorption; 7) reduce municipal food waste; and 8) divert food waste from landfills. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will provide assistance for conservation related activities.
Priority will be given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits; incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners; integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts; and collaborate with multiple partners.
A webinar was held on June 4, 2020, from 2 to 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, providing an overview of the cooperative agreements’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. Information on how to listen to the recording will be posted at farmers.gov/urban .
Comments can be sent to UrbanAgriculture@usda.gov within 90 days, with the subject line “Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Project.”
Questions about this cooperative agreement opportunity can be sent to UrbanAgriculture@usda.gov.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It includes representatives from many USDA agencies, including Farm Service Agency and Agricultural Marketing Service, and is led by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban .
–USDA NRCS California
For more articles out of California, click here.