USDA's Farm Service Agency will create 10 county committees devoted to urban agriculture to better understand and support the field.

“County committees represent farmers and set priorities at the local level,” Bill Northey, USDA's undersecretary for farm production and conservation, said in a release. “Urban and suburban farmers are uniquely qualified to identify the needs of growers and their communities, especially when it comes to making fresh, healthy food accessible.”

These committees will decide how federal farm programs will be administered in their communities and will identify solutions for issues like food access, community engagement, community compost participation and food waste reduction. According to the release, they will also work to “encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural production practices.”

Five cities are known to be hosting these committees: Albuquerque, N.M.; Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pa.; Portland, Ore. and Richmond, Va. The locations for the other 5 committees will be announced in the fall.

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Urban farmers who reside in counties hosting the committees and participate in an FSA program can be nominated to be a committee member. Nominations can be self-submitted or submitted by others, but producers must sign an FSA-669A form to be considered. Nominations will be accepted beginning Sept. 8.

“I encourage urban growers to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee,” FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce said in the release. “Diverse representation can ensure that the needs of all farmers, including urban and suburban farmers, are included in local decisions for USDA programs.”

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