The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the availability of up to $2 million for local governments to host Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot projects for fiscal year 2021. The cooperative agreements support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans and they are part of USDA’s broader efforts to support urban agriculture.
USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (Office) will accept applications on Grants.gov until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on July 16, 2021. Projects should span two years with a start date of September 25, 2021 and completion date of September 25, 2023.
“Finding ways to turn food waste into nutrient rich compost is a win-win for farmers, communities and the environment,” said Ray Dotson, NRCS State Conservationist in Nevada. “The level of enthusiasm and creativity communities are putting towards this kind of problem solving is inspiring, and USDA is proud to support it.”
Cooperative agreements support projects led by local governments that:
- Generate compost.
- Increase access to compost for agricultural producers.
- Reduce reliance on and limit the use of fertilizer.
- Improve soil quality.
- Encourage waste management and permaculture business development.
- Increase rainwater absorption.
- Reduce municipal food waste.
- Divert food waste from landfills.
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will provide assistance for conservation related activities.
Priority will be given to projects that anticipate or demonstrate economic benefits, incorporate plans to make compost easily accessible to farmers, including community gardeners, integrate other food waste strategies, including food recovery efforts and collaborate with multiple partners.
This is the second year the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production offered this grant opportunity. Examples of previous projects include:
- Department of Sanitation of New York and nonprofit Big Reuse are establishing food scrap drop-off locations while New York City Parks Department is diverting wood chips and leaves from landfill disposal to create compost. GreenThumb, Brooklyn Grange, Hellgate Farms, Gowanus Canal Conservancy and other urban farms are distributing the compost for food production in the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn, diverting approximately 600,000 pounds of food scraps and green waste from landfills and providing 350 cubic yards of compost to food producers.
- The City of Prescott, Arizona is collaborating with the farmers’ market, volunteers, restaurants, Yavapai County Cooperative Extension and Prescott College to design, build and implement the Prescott Community Compost Program. The program educates the community about composting, reduces food waste by collecting and composting restaurant food scraps and provides high-quality compost to gardeners and farmers in Central Yavapai County, creating approximately 28 tons of compost over the two-year program.
A pre-recorded webinar will provide an overview of the cooperative agreements’ purpose, project types, eligibility and basic requirements for submitting an application. The webinar will be posted at farmers.gov/urban.
Questions about this cooperative agreement opportunity can be sent to UrbanAgriculture@usda.gov.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production was established through the 2018 Farm Bill, and in addition to these grant opportunities, it offers grant and engagement opportunities. It includes representatives from many USDA agencies, including the Farm Service Agency and the Agricultural Marketing Service, and is led by NRCS. More information is available at farmers.gov/urban. Additional resources that may be of interest to urban agriculture entities include NIFA grants, FSA loans and AMS grants to improve domestic and international opportunities for U.S. growers and producers.
To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.