USDA Launches Inaugural Urban Agriculture Grants Program


The USDA’s new Office for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production just launched its inaugural grants program, the Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Competitive Grants Program. These grants support programs led by nonprofit organizations, local or Tribal governments, and K-12 schools for the development of urban agriculture and innovative production activities. The program funds Planning Projects for new programs and Implementation Projects for established programs. Applications for this program are due on July 6, 2020.

The Office for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established as a result of advocacy for urban farming in the 2018 Farm Bill.  We are pleased to see the USDA take this important step in funding urban agriculture programs. Our Produce Safety Educator, Maggie Kaiser, also an urban farmer in New Orleans, explains, “The availability of $3 million for grants through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is really validating for urban farmers and reflects the contribution of urban farmers to building a just and healthy food system. I hope these funds make it into the hands of Black urban farmers who have been leaders in urban agriculture.”

For more information on the UAIP grants, check out this blog from our friends at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which breaks down eligibility requirements and types of projects being considered for this award.

Need help wading through the first steps of getting access to government grants? Overwhelmed or confused by the forms you are required to submit? Trust us, we’ve been there. Here are some first steps to consider as you prepare your government grant:

  1. Make sure that your organization has a SAM.gov registration, a DUNS number, and an up-to-date grants.gov account. It can take weeks to establish these registrations, so make sure this is your first step. (Pro-tip: If you cannot get these registrations before the grant due date, consider bringing your project to a partner organization that already has these registrations to collaborate on a submission together.)
  2. Speaking of partners, be sure to get them involved early! Most funding opportunities require letters of commitment from all partners involved. Be sure to take the time to develop relationships with your partners, have them weigh-in on your proposal, and secure their letters of commitment early on in the process.
  3. Align your budget and your narrative with intention. As you build your narrative, keep track of all of the activities you will need to accomplish to meet your project goals and make sure the budget reflects these activities. You can find the budget calculator we use for our government grants here for reference.
  4. The required supporting documents will take more time than you think. When you start planning your grant, go through the submission package on grants.gov early on and make a plan for each supporting document.

Although we are not experts, we’ve received a few USDA grants and we are eager to help other organizations receive this crucial funding. If you’d like to connect with our team to better understand the application process for UAIP or other USDA grants, reach out to our Development Director, Jaklyn Van Manen (jaklyn@youngfarmers.org).

Good luck!

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