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State agriculture commissioner: $1 million available through round 2 of Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant program


Fri, Oct 20th 2023 02:25 pm

Increased funding supports expansion projects for community growing organizations

Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball announced $1 million is available through round 2 of New York state’s Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant. The program is designed to support community growing spaces and recognize their impact on local food resiliency and food security for New Yorkers. The request for proposals seeks to fund projects geared toward the development and enhancement of urban, school and community gardens across the state.

Ball said, “Community gardens are unique, valuable spaces that contribute so much to underserved areas, from food production to social and economic benefits. The Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant Program is a key component of our goal to advance these spaces, strengthen our food supply chain, and ensure that all New Yorkers can put food on the table. We’re excited about the progress we’ve seen through round 1 of the program, and encourage all eligible organizations to share their exciting projects with us for consideration as we expand the program to round 2.” 

Funding through the Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant program will help offset costs associated with projects that focus on food production, food safety and food distribution, while creating a lasting impact on local food resiliency, and can be used to fund worker wages, contractual expenses, equipment and other operating expenses. Eligible applicants include not-for-profit organizations, not-for-profit educational institutions, municipal government entities, and Indian tribal organizations.

For more information on the program or how to apply, visit https://agriculture.ny.gov/rfp-0318-urban-farms-and-community-gardens-grant-program. A virtual webinar, which will provide potential applicants with information about the program, how to apply, and eligibility requirements, will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 25. For questions or to RSVP to the webinar, contact [email protected].

A press release stated, “The Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant program complements the state’s ongoing efforts to provide technical assistance to community growing organizations statewide and promote urban agriculture. The inaugural round of the program was announced in Gov. Kathy Hochul’s 2022 State of the State address and dedicated $800,000 to 35 projects across the state. Following this successful launch, the program was renewed and enhanced in the governor’s 2023 State of the State plan, with $1 million dedicated this year. The program continues to play a critical role in the governor’s commitment to making local food more accessible to all New Yorkers and to encourage more urban farming.”

In addition to the Urban Farms and Community Gardens Grant program, Hochul’s 2023 State of the State plan included two additional initiatives, as recommended by the Community Gardens Task Force, which will be announced in the coming months: the New York State Community Gardens Leadership Certificate Program and the New York State Soil Testing Program.

In collaboration with Cornell University, the Community Gardens Leadership Certificate Program will develop a comprehensive and affordable curriculum for garden leaders, including a biennial Garden Leader Summit that supports in-person knowledge sharing and networking among participants. The New York State Soil Testing Program will allow eligible community gardens in New York state to send soil samples for testing up to one time per year without charge. The program will be presented in partnership with the Cornell Nutrient Analysis Laboratory, and technical support and education for participating growers will be provided by the Cornell Harvest New York team. 

The press release added, “New York is home to more than 3,000 registered or permitted urban and community gardens. Through its community gardens efforts, the Department of Agriculture and Markets helps foster greener, healthier cities by connecting community groups with state or local agencies to facilitate the use of vacant properties for community gardens.”

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