HARRISBURG, PA — The opening of the first grant program made possible by Gov. Tom Wolf’s PA Farm Bill was announced July 26.
The Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program will provide $500,000 in funding to increase market opportunities for the commonwealth’s urban agriculturalists.
“Urban agriculture is about more than just growing food; it’s about growing communities. It’s about bringing people together over a shared purpose and passion,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “The targeted investments we are making through the urban agriculture grant program will only further strengthen those connections in tangible and meaningful ways.”
The Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program will provide grants to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, sharing of resources, and support for community development efforts.
Projects must include improvements to agricultural infrastructure in urban areas and support for community development in the project service area. Two types of grants can be awarded: “microgrants” and “collaboration” grants.
Microgrants of up to $2,500 can be used for one-time projects or a single entity applicant.
Collaboration grants up to $50,000 demonstrate cooperative or regional efforts which share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers, promote the sharing of resources among agricultural entities, and support community development.
Individuals and organizations can can now apply for the grants at esa.dced.state.pa.us/login.aspx. The application period closes on Sept. 6.
In celebration of Urban Agriculture Week in Pennsylvania, July 15-21, Redding visited farms at 10 different sites in three Pennsylvania cities to learn how their efforts are improving their communities, and how this grant funding could help address their unique challenges and needs.
He visited the Duquesne Community Victory Garden, Sankofa Village Community Garden, and the Gardens of Millvale in Pittsburgh; the Perry Elementary School Garden, French Street Farms, and the Sisters of Saint Joseph Community Gardens in Erie; and the Neighborhood Food Farm, Weavers Way Gardens and Farm Market, the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, and Hansberry Garden and Nature Center in Philadelphia.
“It is incumbent upon us as public servants to listen and respond to the needs of Pennsylvanians in all of our cities, towns and boroughs,” Redding said. “Whether you live in Tioga County or Allentown, food impacts your health, your culture, and your quality of life. The investments we are making today will increase access across the board to food and resources, improving our communities for years to come.”
The PA Farm Bill, a package of legislation that provides support for and continued investments in the commonwealth’s agriculture industry, was modeled after the governor’s six-point plan to cultivate future generations of Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. The legislation provides for business development and succession planning, accommodations for a growing animal agriculture sector, removing regulatory burdens, strengthening the ag workforce, protecting infrastructure, and making Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state.