USDA officials are handing out the first series of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants and cooperative agreements. A Woodland, California center is one of the first to receive funding.

Kevin Norton, acting chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the grants and cooperative agreements from the agency’s new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production equal about $4.1 million.

He said an example of the planning efforts would be “building out an urban agriculture framework for small plot gardening for ag production hoop houses, urban farms. This even goes to innovative type things like vertical production systems where they’re even stacked on top of each other like hydroponics.”

USDA is awarding approximately $1.14 million for three Planning Projects and some $1.88 million for seven implementation Projects. The Center for Land Based Learning in Woodland is one of the planning project recipients. The Center will produce a comprehensive urban agriculture assessment of West Sacramento. It will map and document current activities, identify opportunities for growth and include recommendations to bolster the layers of positive impact that urban agriculture has on communities, according to USDA. See a complete list of grants.

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In addition, the agency announced $1.09 million for 13 pilot projects through the Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction program. Those recipients are listed here.

“As the People’s Department, USDA supports and strengthens all types of agriculture, including the work being done by urban farmers and community gardeners,” said Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey. “I look forward to seeing the innovations in urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices that result from the agreements, including in community composting and food waste reduction.”

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