$800,000 available to help community gardens and urban farms grow

TROY, NY (NEWS10) – Community gardens, like the food they grow, have grown in popularity over the years, especially during the pandemic. The gardens are an attempt to address food insecurity in underserved areas and create a green footprint in urban jungles.

But, keeping these gardens alive can be costly. On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets announced an $800,000 grant for these gardens to expand and sustain the food supply chain in the state.

“There is incredibly limited funding for community gardens and urban agriculture. People are just starting to realize the value of these spaces to the people who participate in them and to the community as a whole,” says Amy Klein, CEO of Capital Roots, which operates 54 community gardens in the Capital Region. .

Funding through the Urban Farms and Community Gardens grant program, according to the state, will help “offset the costs associated with projects focused on food production, food security, and food distribution, while creating a lasting impact on local food resilience, and can be used to fund worker salaries, contract expenses, equipment and other operating expenses. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, non-profit educational institutions, municipal government entities and Indian tribal organizations,” the Ministry of Agriculture and Markets said in a press release.

Klein says there are more benefits to community gardens than just providing food. “They increase the value of properties for the surrounding community. They beautify the community and create other opportunities for people to interact. »

According to the Northeast New York Regional Food Bank, approximately 1 in 10 adults and 1 in 7 children are considered food insecure. “Before the pandemic, we had an 8% food insecurity rate and we thought the pandemic was over, we’re coming out of it, and then inflation hit. So with inflation, there was a slight increase how many people need food,” says Holly Nicol, CEO of the Northeast New York Regional Food Bank.

For more information about the program and how to apply, visit agriculture.ny.gov/rfp-0280-urban-farms-and-community-gardens-grant-program. A virtual webinar with information about the program, application process and eligibility requirements will take place on November 18. For questions or to RSVP, please contact communitygardens.taskforce@agriculture.ny.gov.

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