Urban regions often lack the environment necessary to cultivate fresh, organic produce. The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is looking to fix this issue by providing grants to applicants looking to make a difference.
Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding has called for applications for $500,000 in PA Farm Bill Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grants. Funding is aimed at boosting the capacity of urban agriculture organizations to fill gaps in their community’s access to fresh food.
“Many of our neighbors in Pennsylvania cities must travel miles to a store or market that sells fresh food,” Secretary Redding said. “Living in such a food desert has negative ripple effects on health and quality of life that can last generations. This funding helps communities turn barren lots and concrete walls in into flourishing, green spaces that feed families, bringing neighbors together, improving their health, and changing their lives.”
Since 2019, the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program has invested $1.5 million in 93 urban agriculture projects across 19 counties. Matching local investments of $1.5 million to date, meaning that $3 million has gone toward expanding fresh food access in communities often served by a single convenience store.
Eligible projects improve or create programs, sharing resources or pooling agricultural products to build a neighborhood’s access to fresh, local food. Individuals, businesses, communities, and agricultural organizations in urban communities may apply for either individual “microgrants” or collaborative grants for partnership projects.
Applicants must supply a 15% funding match to receive grants. In prior years, grants required a 100% match.
Grant applications must be submitted online through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development Electronic Single Application. Applications are due at 5:00 PM on Sept. 26, 2022.
Full grant guidelines are published in the July 30 edition of the PA Bulletin.
Earlier this month, Redding toured 19 sites across Pennsylvania during Urban Agriculture Week, visiting many projects funded under the program.