The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) Office of Energy is fighting food insecurity and climbing temperatures with funding for urban and community farming projects.
The department announced access to funding through their Florida Urban and Community Farming Pilot Program. A total of $500,000 in funding will be available, distributed in grant amounts between $5,000 and $50,000, for projects over a period of 24 months.
Applications for grants opened July 1st and will close at 5pm on August 31st.
According to the official request for applications, the primary objectives of the Florida Urban and Community Farming Pilot Program are to:
1. Establish a long-term grant program to provide more communities cleaner air and a stable, affordable, and secure source of fresh produce.
2. Identify ways to grow fresh produce locally in urban and community farms for the benefit of those experiencing food insecurity.
3. Reduce energy costs of food production growing.
4. Provide incentives for community involvement in reducing CO2 and the production of nutritious food.
5. Promote CO2 sequestration in the most heavily populated areas including urban areas and the most densely populated and heavily traveled areas of medium to small-sized cities and towns by growing food where it is consumed.
“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, in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “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.”
Local governments, Florida School Boards, and community-based non-profit organizations that facilitate community gardening and/or food pantry programs are eligible to apply for funding through this program. Partnerships between these eligible entities are encouraged as well.
Some examples of potential eligible projects include rooftop gardens, vertical farming initiatives, aquaponics, community gardens, planting fruit trees in public spaces, and “youth agri-business.”
Only one application is allowed per applicant, however, multiple project activities and/or locations may be proposed.
To learn more or apply, click here to view the full Notice of Federal Funding Assistance (NOFA).
Roxanne Hoorne is passionate about communications and journalism concerning equity in food and climate issues. She is also interested in the intersection of art, science, and philosophy. Roxanne has worked extensively with non-profits in research and communications concerning these issues both locally and internationally, as well as in the arts, both as an employee and volunteer. She is a Florida Food Policy Council member and contributes to their newsletter. She hopes her writing not only informs readers but also inspires their engagement.