When we heard that Senator Stabenow was pushing to include provisions to support urban agriculture in the 2018 Farm Bill, we knew we had to enter the fight!
At Growing Roots, we believe urban agriculture is the future. Not only is local production of food better for the environment, but urban agriculture has the potential to address systemic racial and socioeconomic inequities in access to healthy, fresh food.
We also leveraged social media and some digital advertising to encourage urban farm supporters to reach out to their reps and make their voices heard!
On December 12, 2018, Congress passed the bill with the urban agriculture provisions attached and the President signed it into law 8 days later. The Bill creates the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production “to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices.” Related to this new Office, the Bill:
- Provides for the assignment of a farm number for rooftop, indoor, and other urban farms.
- Provides authority to award competitive grants to operate community gardens or nonprofit farms, educate a community on food systems, nutrition, environmental impacts, and agricultural production, and help offset start-up costs for new and beginning farmers.
- Establishes an Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee.
- Establishes pilot projects to increase compost, reduce food waste, and create urban and suburban county committees.
This is a huge victory for urban agriculture! Thank you to everyone who got involved to help make it happen!