What Are USDA Grants For And How Do You Get Involved?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently offering up to $7.5 million in grants through its Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (OUAIP). OUAIP works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture and innovative production. The Office’s mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including: community gardens and farms;  rooftop farms, outdoor vertical production, and green walls; indoor farms, greenhouses, and high-tech vertical technology farms;  hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic farm facilities; and other innovations in agricultural production. 

The competitive grants are intended to support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories:

  • Planning Projects – projects designed to initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. They may target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers and the development of plans related to zoning and other needs of urban production; and,
  • Implementation Projects – projects with the goals of accelerating existing and emerging models of urban, indoor and other agricultural practices that serve farmers and communities. Such projects may seek to improve local food access, include collaboration with partner organizations, and support infrastructure needs, emerging technologies, and educational endeavors.

The USDA has a pre-recorded webinar on Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants | USDA to provide an overview of the grants’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. They also provide a pdf of Frequently Asked Questions about the grants. Applications will be accepted on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 27, 2023.