The USDA Aims To Reduce Food Waste Through Composting

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently announced the availability of up to US$9.5 million for Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) pilot projects for fiscal year 2023. As part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, the cooperative agreements are designed to support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. 

The USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP) is seeking projects led by local governments or other eligible entities that:

  • generate compost;
  • increase access to compost for agricultural producers;
  • reduce the reliance on and limit the use of fertilizer;
  • improve soil quality;
  • encourage waste management and permaculture business development;
  • increase rainwater absorption;
  • reduce municipal food waste; and
  • divert food waste from landfills.

Projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, and integrate other food waste strategies will be prioritized.

OUAIP is accepting applications on through June 15 of 2023. Projects should span two years with a start date of Dec. 1, 2023, and completion date of Dec. 1, 2025. A pre-recorded webinar will provide an overview of the cooperative agreements’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting applications. 

“These cooperative agreements support communities in their efforts to reduce and divert food waste from landfills,” NRCS Chief Terry Cosby said. “These projects will empower communities to reduce waste and support agricultural producers through increased access to compost to improve soil health on their operations.”