On July 28, 2023, The Supporting Urban & Innovative Farming Act (S.2591). This bill expands support for urban, suburban, and rural farmers through programmatic reforms to improve the content and delivery of technical assistance to urban and innovative producers, increases access to grant funds among farmers, and scales composting and food waste initiatives spearheaded by the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
Introduced by Senators John Fetterman (D-PA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), the Supporting Urban and Innovative Farming Act seeks to support urban, suburban, and rural farmers by:
- Increasing collaboration among USDA Departments, State, Tribal, and local agencies to deliver tailored business technical assistance and conservation planning that addresses the unique barriers and needs of smaller operations or those in indoor environments,
- Utilizing trusted community partnerships to lead outreach and delivery of services through cooperative agreements,
- Expanding access to grant funds to agricultural cooperatives and producer networks and through micro-grant offerings to supplement effective education and training with small but impactful financial investments,
- Enabling communities to scale composting and food waste initiatives to develop food waste-to-energy projects,
- Conducting overdue research on urban, indoor, and emerging agricultural production to understand the impact of such farms and businesses,
- And providing mandatory funding to sustain the growth of activities.
The focus is to expand & enhance small and micro-scale agriculture and innovative agricultural production techniques have become increasingly popular in urban and suburban areas as a means for beginning growers to gain experience in farm production as well as to meet the immediate food needs of their surrounding communities. OUAIP has provided grant funding to support these producers and has also facilitated the cultural shift necessary in broader USDA services to respond to the unique needs of urban, innovative and indoor operations.
Read more from National Sustainable Agriculture’s press release in support of this legislation HERE.