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USDA Provides Grants for Urban Agriculture


The USDA intends to disburse $14.2 million to 52 recipients to support urban agriculture using  funds derived from the American Rescue Plan Act.  The intent is to allow recipients to “expand access to nutritious foods, foster community engagement, increase awareness of climate change and mitigate the effects within urban areas”.  Studies have shown that throwing money at urban projects does not materially increase the quality of nutrition in the area served.


This initiative is yet another example of USDA largesse and the intent by USDA administrators to alter the structure of U.S. agriculture, detracting from traditional farmers irrespective of their scale of their operation.


The press release is replete with buzzwords and homilies but short on specifics.  The announcement manages to touch all the bases including “new farmers”, “underserved communities”, “sell locally”, “job creation”, “reducing the climate impact on food supply” and “economically distressed neighborhoods”.


Grants will be provided for either planning or implementation projects.  The current tranche of funding extends to 18 planning projects and 34 implementation projects.


The USDA characterizes the $14.2 million in grants as an “investment”.  If this is the case, the USDA should be obliged to provide a report on the actual financial return on this investment, since public funds are involved.