Today, Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., announced New Orleans is one of six additional locations for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees focused exclusively on urban agriculture.
Organized under USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture, the new committees in Atlanta, Dallas, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New Orleans, Phoenix, and St. Louis join ones in Albuquerque, N.M, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Portland, Ore. and Richmond, Va. (announced earlier this year) and are part of a broader effort directed by the 2018 Farm Bill for USDA to enhance support for urban agriculture.
Added FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce: “Urban and suburban farmers’ service on the county committees can elevate the needs of their fellow growers, their communities, and address issues related to access to healthy food. I encourage urban growers in these locations to take this opportunity to nominate candidates to lead, serve, and represent their community on their county committee.”
“The committee will focus on challenges unique to urban farming and look at ways to enhance support of farming in those areas,” said Strain. “It’s no secret that urban areas include food deserts. This effort will promote urban, indoor and other methods of producing agriculture such as community gardens, backyard gardens and school projects.”
The new committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote, and encourage community compost and food waste reduction.
The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to form the urban county committees as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture. Urban farmers who participate or cooperate in the FSA program are eligible to become committee members. The FSA will begin accepting nominations for committee members in June 2021 with elections in November.
More information is available at farmers.gov/urban.