TEMPLE, Texas — The USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas announces more than $262,000 in grants awarded through the Texas Urban and Rural Conservation Projects (TURCP) to 27 organizations for 32 projects.
NRCS is a federal agency that works hand-in-hand with the people of Texas to improve and protect their soil, water and other natural resources. For decades, private landowners have voluntarily worked with NRCS specialists to prevent erosion, improve water quality and promote sustainable agriculture.
The TURCP project is an effort to address the challenges communities face in making fresh food accessible to everyone. Created as a grassroots endeavor, this opportunity encourages local organizations to develop strategies to increase the availability of fresh fruits and vegetables and teach urban conservation education through hands-on experiences.
According to Feeding America, 1 in 8 Americans struggles with hunger. In 2015, over 42 million people were food insecure. Food insecurity exists in every county in America. Millions of people are still struggling to get by because of underemployment, stagnant wages, rising costs of living, and lack of grocery stores causing food deserts in both urban and rural areas.
To address food deserts and educate urban citizens and youth on the benefits of locally grown fresh produce and greening of the urban landscape, NRCS awarded competitive grants to establish community and pollinator gardens, construct high tunnel systems and rainwater harvesting systems through the Texas NRCS TURCP.
TURCP project grants are available up to $4,000 for a community garden, $3,000 for pollinator gardens, $6,500 for a high tunnel and $5,000 for a rainwater harvesting system.
Those organizations awarded include: North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, Galveston’s Own Farmers Market, IDEA Public Schools, La Joya Independent School District, Frontera Farmers Coalition, South Texas Advancement Resources (two projects), Grow Local South Texas, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (two projects), Northside Independent School District, Rio Grande International Study Center, Harlandale Independent School District, the Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society, Wilbarger Creek Conservation Alliance, Neighbors in Need of Services, Unified Events, Recipe for Success Foundation, Houston Wilderness, Prairie View A & M (two projects), Landowners Association of Texas, Burkeville Independent School District, National Women in Agriculture Association, YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth, Frazier Revitalization Inc., Tarrant County (two projects), Tarleton State University (two projects), Heart of Texas Community Health Center, and Dallas County Hospital District.
Last year, this grant proved to be a huge success seeing functioning gardens, high tunnels, and pollinator gardens helping local organizations to address issues with food deserts and declining pollinator habitat. The NRCS continues to promote urban and rural conservation with the continuation of these projects for a second year.
–USDA NRCS Texas
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