Harrisburg, PA – March 3, 2021 – Senator Street recently joined PA Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Frank Sherman, co-managing director for First Light Project to announce $500,000 in Agriculture Grants for small and urban farming.
The grant program, authored by Senator Street’s Urban Ag Program legislation in Governor Wolf’s inaugural Farm Bill, is the first comprehensive farm bill package to invest in agriculture across the Commonwealth, and has been integral in fighting food insecurity in communities throughout the pandemic. The program funded twenty-eight projects in 2020, including First Light Project.
“Pennsylvania agriculture is integral to our ability to keep food resources flowing during COVID. Food banks and urban gardens have been the vanguard against hunger and food insecurity,” said Street. “The Urban Agriculture Grant Program has been vital in providing food resources for 28 projects in 2020. It is encouraging to know that 2021 grant applications will continue to sustain communities across the Commonwealth as we move beyond this health crisis.”
First Light received a grant in the last round to initiate their pilot farm to grow food for Philadelphia and used their $37,884 Urban Ag Grant funds to mitigate expenses of a full-scale hydroponic farm in Philabundance’ s warehouse. Upon completion of development, the farm is expected to produce nearly 100,000 pounds of produce annually, donating at least ten percent to community partners to fight hunger in Philadelphia.
“In 2020 we saw the sad result of the reality of food apartheids as people in urban communities without access to fresh, nutritious food were disproportionately affected by COVID-19,” said Redding. “Nutrition and health – strong immune systems and susceptibility to disease – are inextricably linked. COVID-19 compounded upon years of lack of access to nutritious food and minority urban communities were hit hard by the pandemic.”
The Urban Agriculture Grant Program will provide resources to improve agriculture infrastructure in urban areas, the aggregation of product, support for community development and sharing of resources. These include:
- up to $2,500 in matching funds
- can be utilized for one-time projects or a single entity applicant
- up to $50,000 in matching funds
- requires partnerships or regional efforts which share resources, aggregate agricultural products or producers and support community development
The 2020-21 Urban Agriculture Grant Program application period runs from March 1 through April 16, 2021 at 5:00 PM. For more information or to apply, visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill or www.senatorsharifstreet.com/agriculture.