First Round of Pennsylvania Farm Bill Grants, $500,000 to Build Urban Ag Infrastructure

Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of $500,000 in Urban Agriculture Grants to fund 28 projects that will help build urban ag infrastructure while providing opportunities for entrepreneurship and community-building throughout the state.

“Urban agriculture is about more than just growing food; it’s about growing our communities and our economy, it’s about increasing quality of life,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “In addition to urban gardens providing places to work and learn, they aggregate fresh, local products to combat food insecurity and improve access to healthy, nutritious food.”

In July of this year, Governor Wolf signed Act 40 to create the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program, part of the state’s first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill, which provides both microgrants, for one-time projects or single applicants and up to $2,500 in funding, and macro grants, for projects that demonstrate cooperative or regional efforts with multiple partners and up to $50,000 in funding. The $500,000 in total urban agriculture grant funding will benefit 28 projects in Allegheny, Butler, Erie, Lawrence, Northampton, Philadelphia, and York counties.

The approved projects include:

Allegheny County
• Grow Pittsburgh, $50,000 for a new professional greenhouse that would provide organic seedlings to neighbors, schools, and the greater Pittsburgh community
• Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh, $2,500 for seeds, soil, wood chips, and equipment
• Allegheny County Conservation District, $21,225 for 87 new raised beds and a hoop house
• New Sun Rising, Triboro Ecodistrict Partnership, $8,600 for a refrigerator, seedlings, and lumber to support three neighborhood gardens
• The Small Farmer, $2,500 for new cold storage to increase product availability for CSAs, restaurants, and food banks
• Hazelwood Initiative, $1,250 for compost and a picket fence to triple the current growing space and protect crops from pests
• Hilltop Urban Farm, $2,500 for stainless steel tables and sinks to become certified by the USDA’s Good Agricultural Practices audit
• Richard’s Imagine Center of Hope, $2,500 for an automatic sprinkler system to increase the efficiency of water delivery
• Love ‘n Fresh Flowers, $2,500 for a cooler and insulation to enable multiple area flower growers to cold store their product for better longevity
• Operation Better Block, $2,500 for materials to support the Junior Green Corps for food preservation and storage to deliver produce to neighbors in need

Butler County
• Community Partnership, $2,500 for soil, tools, and soil testing kits to support their Seed to Supper Program and to teach area residents to start their own urban gardens

Erie County
• School District of Erie, $825 for soil, seed trays, and hydro domes to create starter plants for 14 school gardens

Lawrence County
• Lawrence County Social Services, $38,300 for a hydroponic system, building materials, and education supplies to create a healthy start facility with agriculture as a cornerstone

Northampton County
• Greater Easton Development Partnership, $50,000 for a pick-up truck, cold storage, and green house to increase the efficiency of food yield
• Easton Area Neighborhood Centers, $2,265 for a tractor, rototiller, and bed shaper to increase efficiency

Philadelphia County
• Norris Square Neighborhood Project, $11,910 for farm stand materials, a composting system, grow lights, and soil plugs to open a farm stand
• City of Philadelphia, $40,000 for tools and a compost system to initiate city-wide composting for multiple urban gardens
• First Light Project, $37,884 for a work table, dryers, and a cooler to increase the amount of food available
• Food Moxie, $50,000 for a fence, shade structures, banners, and HVAC to support the largest urban agriculture school in Pennsylvania
• Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, $47,600 for a tool library, solar panels, battery back up, and security to be provided at low cost to area urban gardeners to increase resiliency
• Sanctuary Farm Phila, $15,000 for a new greenhouse to meet increasing demand for fresh produce in the neighborhood
• John Bartram Association, Bartram’s Gardens, $50,000 for raised beds, tools, and refrigeration equipment to support urban gardening initiatives in the area
• Jig-Bee, $2,500 for insulation, air conditioner, heater, shelving, and lighting to improve storage for cut flowers
• Carousel House Farm Tiller, $1,003 for a tiller to increase efficiency and yield
• Urban Agg Project, $1,000 for mobile hydroponic grow stations to transport to seniors and the disabled to reduce barriers to access for gardening
• Ellen Russell, $2,500 for soil, tools, seeds, and containers to teach child care providers gardening skills
• VietLead, $2,500 for low tunnels, irrigation, refrigerator, and greenhouse supplies to support Philly’s South East Asian community to grow culturally significant crops

York County
• City of York, $49,310 for a high tunnel, tool library, and refrigerator to increase food production for the community

“These investments are a win-win-win; for agriculture, Pennsylvanians, and our commonwealth,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “I look forward to seeing Pennsylvania’s urban communities flourish thanks to these seeds sown by the Pennsylvania Farm Bill.”