Commissioner Nikki Fried Announces $500,000 Urban and Community Farming Pilot Program

Jul 2, 2021

Tallahassee, Fla. — Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Energy are announcing the establishment of the Florida Urban and Community Farming Pilot Program. This program makes available support for urban and community farming projects to promote cleaner air, lower building heating and cooling costs, and provide additional stable, affordable, and secure sources of fresh produce.

As part of Commissioner Fried’s commitment to energy equity outlined in the  Florida Energy and Climate Plan pdf 4 MB ] , and in line with President Biden’s executive order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the projects funded by this pilot program will help reduce carbon dioxide, which can reduce utility costs in urban heat islands as well as provide a source of nutritious produce to areas that otherwise do not have access. A total of $500,000 in funding will be available, in grant amounts between $5,000 and $50,000, for projects over a period of 24 months.

“Since taking office in 2019, my department has focused on thinking outside the box – finding creative ways to grow our agriculture industry, improve access to healthy food across the state, and promote clean energy. Investing in urban and community farming moves us towards all of those goals, furthering our commitment to innovation, equity, sustainable agriculture, economic development, and combating the climate crisis by building a clean energy future for all,” said Commissioner Nikki Fried. “I am excited to announce this program and look forward to seeing our communities literally grow together through these projects, helping to feed families in an innovative and sustainable way.”

“Florida has changed dramatically in the past seven decades. Since 1950, over 18 million more people call Florida home – yet as cities have grown, our state has lost over seven million acres of farmland,” said Kelley Smith Burk, Director of the FDACS Office of Energy. “This loss, combined with increasing urban heat islands, means our future must look different. Through this pilot program, we have an opportunity to mitigate these unintended climate consequences while injecting healthy, hyperlocal fresh produce into the low-nutrition food deserts too common across Florida.”

Developed by the FDACS Office of Energy, this pilot program will provide funding to local governments, Florida School Boards, and community-based non-profit organizations that offer community gardening and/or food pantry programs to establish urban and community farming programs in densely populated communities and food deserts. Commissioner Fried has previously supported urban agriculture efforts, from the Florida Urban Agriculture Act in the state legislature, to helping launch an urban farming partnership between one of Florida’s largest agribusinesses and the only woman-led company in vertical agriculture.

Application Submissions: To learn more or apply, click here to view the full Notice of Federal Funding Assistance (NOFA). Complete applications must be received by the FDACS Purchasing Office no later than 5:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, August 31, 2021.

About the FDACS Office of Energy: Since taking office, Commissioner Fried has revitalized the FDACS Office of Energy, empowering the office with a new focus on energy efficiency, climate change, and low-income energy equity. Under Commissioner Fried’s leadership, the Office of Energy has highlighted the need for improved energy efficiency standards, hosted the first statewide summit to address climate change since 2008, and released the 76-page   Florida Energy and Climate Plan pdf 4 MB ] . Since 2011, the Office of Energy has administered $158 million in state and federal funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy programs, including energy efficiency upgrades for small and rural local governments. The Office has also provided hundreds of free energy and water audits, and earlier this year released the state’s first-ever electric vehicle roadmap. Last year, Commissioner Fried and the Office of Energy launched a $1 million grant program to assist low-income communities with high energy costs, and launched a $2 million energy efficiency grant program for publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities.

Farmer's Hands with Potatoes

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