USDA is working to support urban agriculture as it plays an important role in growing not only fresh, healthy food, often where grocery stores are scarce, but also providing jobs and beautifying neighborhoods.
Urban agriculture includes the cultivation, processing and distribution of agricultural products in urban and suburban areas. Community gardens, rooftop farms, hydroponic, aeroponic, and aquaponic facilities, and vertical production are all examples of urban agriculture. Tribal communities and small towns may also be included.
USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
The 2018 Farm Bill established the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) to better focus on the needs of urban farmers. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) leads the USDA-wide office, including representatives from other USDA agencies like Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
USDA is committed to serving the needs of all kinds of agriculture, including urban agriculture and related benefits of extending regional and local food production and increasing access to healthy, fresh food. USDA supports through:
- Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agricultural and Innovative Production
- Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees focused on urban agriculture
- Grants and cooperative agreements
- Programs and services
Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
This committee advises the Secretary of Agriculture on the development of policies and outreach relating to urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices as well as identify any barriers to urban agriculture. Learn more on our Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production webpage.
Farm Service Agency County Office Committees for Urban Agriculture
USDA established 17 county office committees devoted exclusively to urban agriculture in:
- Phoenix, AZ
- Atlanta, GA
- New Orleans, LA
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- St. Louis, MO
- Albuquerque, NM
- Cleveland, OH
- Portland, OR
- Philadelphia, PA
- Dallas, TX
- Richmond, VA
- Chicago, IL
- New York, NY
- Detroit, MI
- Grand Rapids, MI
- Los Angeles, CA
- Oakland, CA
Each committee is composed of 3-11 members, and these committee members help ensure fair and equitable administration of Farm Service Agency (FSA) farm programs in their county or multi-county jurisdiction. USDA plans to add additional committees. Learn more on the County Committee Elections webpage.
Grants and Cooperative Agreements
Grants are available to initiate or expand efforts of farmers, gardeners, citizens, government officials, schools, and other stakeholders in urban areas and suburbs. Learn more on our Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants webpage.
Cooperative agreements assist local and municipal governments with projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. Implementation activities will increase access to compost for agricultural producers, improve soil quality and encourages innovative, scalable waste management plans that reduce and divert food waste from landfills. Learn more on our Composting and Food Waste Reduction Cooperative Agreements webpage.
- Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) Success Stories
Douglas County, Oregon
Douglas County, Oregon and Source One Serenity, a non-profit group working to empower veterans, has a lot to celebrate this Veteran’s Day. With their CFWR-funded vermicomposting project, the organization is working to divert hundreds of tons of food waste utilizing their newly developed worm farm. Maintained by veterans, the social enterprise supports those living with post-traumatic stress disorder by providing both economic and therapeutic opportunities. Funding that is raised from the sale of the final product, worm castings, are used to sustain the healing outdoor experiences Source One Serenity regularly provides for veterans. The castings make their way to local farmers and gardeners while the local VA Medical Center, food bank, and other businesses can sustainably dispose uneaten food and byproducts. Creating job opportunities, assisting veterans, and regenerating the soil; this project is working to foster a circular economy that works for people and the planet. To learn more about their story, please view the Worm Farm Aims to Recycle while Helping Veterans page.
Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, Alaska
The Yakutat Tlingit Tribe (YTT) is located in the southeast Alaskan panhandle. This area of the state is rural and remote, and the Tribe is active in protecting local food security, community health and the environment. Through CFWR, the YTT is developing a community compost program that will serve two purposes: 1) provide compost to local producers to help address the acidic soil conditions of the area and 2) divert food from the local landfill which is nearing capacity. Through this project, YTT will host workshops to build local skills in composting and food preservation methods to help address food waste. The workshops will also introduce the concept of cottage industry sales to encourage community members to explore other economic opportunities. For more information on the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe, please view the Yakutat Tlingit Tribe Environmental page.
- Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) Success Stories
Common Ground Producers and Growers, KS (Implementation Project)
The Common Ground Urban Innovation Project facilitates the development of entrepreneurial projects such as job training, land, equipment, mentoring, and other business development assistance to new and beginning farmers. 25% of the work outlined in the grant, has been accomplished during year one. The Common Ground Mobile Market also encourages farmers and growers to expand their production. Hands-on training in farming and gardening to growers and students in the targeted zip codes will be offered and part-time community-based staff will be hired from targeted zip codes. During year two more qualitative data will be gathered regarding whether consumers have changed their food purchasing or eating habits due to the mobile market, as well as how often consumers return to the market and recommend it to others. Another growth area will be to provide further nutrition education through physical/digital materials and cooking classes to promote healthy eating. For more information, please view the Common Ground Producers and Growers Helps Wichita Residents video.
Tampa Family Health Centers, FL
Building upon the efforts of a Hillsborough Metropolitan Planning Organization project, Tampa Family Health Care Centers (TFHC) is excited and eager to expand upon the current efforts of the Garden Steps Project. The project purpose is to improve the quality of medical and mental/emotional/behavioral (MEB) health by increasing access to care through the reduction of barriers to healthy food and the increase in outdoor activities. They will complete a comprehensive Implementation Plan based upon the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Implementation Plan Template, approved by Sherry Hoback, President and CEO. TFHC will identify 200 patients with indicated conditions who are willing to complete an Intent to Change survey of eating behaviors as measured by actual number completing survey. Finally, they plan to conduct surveys to at least 2,500 individuals, with or without indicated conditions, who intend to use knowledge of the garden, its launch date and how to get involved, as measured by actual number completing surveys. For more information, please view the Tampa Family Health Care Centers page.
USDA Programs and Services
USDA offers a wide variety of programs and services to urban producers to help them start, expand and improve their operations. This includes conservation, disaster assistance, crop insurance, and safety-net programs. Learn more at farmers.gov/urban.
November 9, 2022 News Release: 2022 Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Open This Week
October 26, 2022 News Release: USDA Invests $14.2 Million in 52 Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Efforts
August 24, 2022 News Release: USDA Announces Up to $550 Million in American Rescue Plan Funding for Projects Benefiting Underserved Producers and Minority Serving Institutions that Create Career Development Opportunities for Next Generation Leader
- June 3, 2022 Press Release: USDA Advances Food System Transformation with $43 Million for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, Adds New Urban County Committees
- Fact Sheet: USDA Urban Agriculture Programs at a Glance (PDF, 4.5 MB)
- Fact Sheet: Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Grants Fact Sheet (PDF, 2.6 MB)
- Fact Sheet: USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production: Reducing Food Waste (PDF, 746 KB)
- Sign up for E-mail updates on Urban Agriculture
- Farmers.gov Blog: Urban Farming Posts
Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production
1400 Independence Avenue, SW.
Washington, D.C. 20250-0170