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INDOOR GARDENING : GARDENING : UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) : NEWS RELEASES: USDA Unveils New 'Urban Agriculture Toolkit' for Urban Farmers and Agri-business Entrepreneurs

David Dillard
Administrator






INDOOR GARDENING :

GARDENING :

UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT: UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (USDA) :

NEWS RELEASES:

USDA Unveils New 'Urban Agriculture Toolkit' for Urban Farmers and
Agri-business Entrepreneurs

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USDA Unveils New 'Urban Agriculture Toolkit' for Urban Farmers and
Agri-business Entrepreneurs

Release No. 0099.16

Contact:Office of Communications (202)720-4623

http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=
2016/04/0099.xml&contentidonly=true

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/hxylfat

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USDA Unveils New 'Urban Agriculture Toolkit' for Urban Farmers and
Agri-business Entrepreneurs
Online Resource Draws on USDA's and Partners' Experience with Launching
and Sustaining Urban Agriculture Operations Points Producers to Helpful
Financial and Technical Resources
WASHINGTON, April 29, 2016  Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today
unveiled the USDA Urban Agriculture Toolkit, a new resource created by
USDA's Know Your Farmer team to help entrepreneurs and community leaders
successfully create jobs and increase access to healthy food through urban
agriculture. From neighborhood gardens grown on repurposed lots, to
innovative mobile markets and intensive hydroponic and aquaculture
operations, urban food production is rapidly growing into a mature
business sector in cities across the country.

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"Urban agriculture helps strengthen the health and social fabric of
communities while creating economic opportunities for farmers and
neighborhoods," Vilsack said. "USDA's Urban Agriculture Toolkit compiles
guidance from our Know Your Farmer team and many private partners into one
comprehensive resource to help small-scale producers manage all aspects of
their business. From protecting soil health to marketing to schools and
grocery store chains, USDA has tools to meet the needs of this new breed
of innovative urban farmer and small business owner."

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Industry estimates show U.S. local food sales totaled at least $12 billion
in 2014, up from $5 billion in 2008, and experts anticipate that value to
hit $20 billion by 2019. The numbers also show that these opportunities
are helping to drive job growth in agriculture, increase entrepreneurship
and expand food access and choice.

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USDA's Toolkit is an electronic document that helps urban and small farms
navigate more than 70 helpful resources, including technical assistance
and financing opportunities. It focuses on some of the most pressing
challenges confronting urban producers such as land access, soil quality,
water resources, capital and financing, infrastructure, market
development, production strategies, and applying for federal, state or
private foundation grants. University extension service partners in
Chicago and Indianapolis helped develop cost estimates for starting urban
farms and the toolkit includes information on best practices and check
lists for start-ups and early-stage producers planning outdoor or indoor
operations.

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Some of the USDA resources featured in the Toolkit include:

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Natural Resources Conservation Service technical and financial assistance
for drip irrigation and seasonal high tunnels to extend the growing
season.

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Farm Services Agency microloans that provide up to $50,000 in financing
for equipment, working capital or other expenses.
Food and Nutrition Service assistance to help urban farmers become
authorized to accept SNAP, WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program
benefit cards.
Agricultural Marketing Service Farmers Market Promotion Program grants
that support direct-to-consumer marketing activities in cities, and Local
Food Promotion Program grants that support food hubs, farm-to-retail, and
related projects.

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National Institute of Food and Agriculture's Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education (SARE) program support for field trials in urban
settings and urban farm planning and marketing guides.
Vilsack made the announcement today during an event opening a new school
community garden at Frederick Douglass High School in Baltimore. The idea
for the Toolkit was originally conceived at a USDA Urban Agriculture
roundtable held nearby in Baltimore last spring. A key result of that
meeting was the creation of USDA's Urban Agriculture Working Group (UAWG)
that has assembled an inventory of existing department resources and
worked to make them more readily accessible. The UAWG continues to
actively engage urban producers around the country to identify evolving
needs and support their success as a positive socioeconomic force in their
communities.

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Several Baltimore organizations in the vanguard of urban agriculture have
developed resources that are included in the Toolkit as models for other
communities like the City Farm Alliance's Urban Agriculture How-To Guide,
the Community Law Center's Urban Agriculture Law Project Manual and the
Green Pattern Book that helps local leaders map and identify productive
new uses for vacant land.

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During the event, Vilsack also highlighted expansion of a partnership
between USDA and the Corporation for National and Community Service, the
federal agency that administers AmeriCorps, increasing the number of
opportunities for young people in Baltimore to serve as AmeriCorps VISTA
Summer Associates, earning valuable professional and life experience while
serving their community. These AmeriCorps members will serve with the
Maryland Out of School Time (MOST) Network to provide summer opportunities
for Baltimore City residents. They will join the more than 1,400
AmeriCorps members currently serving institutions and organizations
throughout the city, including Frederick Douglass High School.

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The Urban Agriculture Toolkit and the UAWG are part of USDA's Know Your
Farmer, Know Your Food Initiative (KYF2) supporting the Obama
Administration's work to strengthen economic bonds between rural and urban
areas. Launched in 2009, KYF2 breaks down silos and takes stock of USDA
programs that support the growing demand for local and regional food
systems. Visit the KYF2 website at www.usda.gov/knowyourfarmer to find
local and regional food system resources in your community. Learn more
about the $1 billion USDA has invested in 40,000 projects to develop local
market opportunities at https://medium.com/usda-resultsThis is an external
link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of
Agriculture (USDA) website. as USDA celebrates Know your Farmer Month in
April.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a
complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant
Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence
Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free
Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642
(Relay voice users).

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Last Date Modified: 04/29/2016



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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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