The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host the first public meeting of the inaugural Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on March 23-24, 2022. The public – including urban producers– is encouraged to attend.
“I look forward to working with this new urban agriculture federal advisory committee,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The committee’s valuable insights and expertise will provide critical guidance to help us better serve urban agricultural producers, strengthen local food systems, and increase equity and access to healthy, local food.”
The new federal advisory committee is part of USDA’s efforts to support urban agriculture, creating a network for feedback. Members were announced last month, and include agricultural producers, and representatives from the areas of higher education or extension programs, non-profits, business and economic development, supply chains and financing.
About the Meeting
USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is coordinating the meeting, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET on March 23 and 24, 2022. To attend, register by March 18, 2022.
At the meeting, committee members will discuss administrative matters and consult on the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Notice of Funding Opportunity for the Urban, Indoor and Emerging Agriculture grants.
Members of the public who wish to submit comments or questions related to urban agriculture may submit them via www.regulations.gov.
Comments must be submitted by March 18, 2022.
For special accommodations, please contact Leslie Glover at (602) 395-9536 or UrbanAgricultureFederalAdvisoryCommittee@usda.gov.
Additional details are available in the March 8, 2022 Federal Register notice and online at farmers.gov/urban or on the committee’s webpage.
USDA and Urban Agriculture
The Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production is part of a broad USDA investment in urban agriculture. Other efforts include:
- Grants that target areas of food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farmers, and policy development related to zoning and other urban production needs.
- Cooperative agreements that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans.
- Investing $260,000 for risk management training and crop insurance education for historically underserved and urban producers through partnerships between USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and the University of Maryland, University of Connecticut, and Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems.
- Providing technical and financial assistance through conservation programs offered by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).
- Organizing 11 Farm Service Agency (FSA) urban and suburban county committees. FSA will organize additional committees.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill. It is led by NRCS and works in partnership with numerous USDA agencies that support urban agriculture. Its mission is to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural practices, including community composting and food waste reduction.
More information is available at farmers.gov/urban and the new Federal Advisory Committee for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production website at www.usda.gov/partnerships/advisory-committee-urban-ag-innovative-production.
Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include grants from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture as well as FSA loans.