2016 Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Recipients

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Fairbanks SWCD
Fairbanks SWCD will help expose south-side city residents to the “store outside their door” by supporting the creation and maintenance of backyard and community gardens. The district will provide technical assistance and soil testing to garden-goers, workshops on solutions for excess stormwater and soil erosion, and lesson plans for children.


Jefferson County CD
Jefferson County CD will hold educational workshops for local youth, senior citizens, and other community members on different urban ag production techniques, like hoop houses and container and patio gardening, and will offer tips and resources on converting vacant lots into food production, recycling and reducing waste, food preparation, and healthy eating.


Perry County CD
Many of the elementary school students living in the county seat of Perryville are bringing home nonperishable food items for their families through the Take Home Back Pack program. Perry County CD will be helping to build and manage “The Garden,” where residents will raise fresh produce, herbs, plants, flowers, and trees to sell at mobile stands across the district. Profits from the operation will support the Take Home Back Pack program.


RCD of Greater San Diego County
The RCD of Greater San Diego County will use its award to support district staff who manage the Tijuana River Valley Community Garden. Located in the southernmost part of San Diego County, the garden currently covers about five acres of a 23-acre parcel and includes 138 30’ by 30’ plots. The RCDGSD plans to convert a portion of the remaining acreage – which is currently fallow and covered in invasive plants – into an additional 77 garden plots to help shorten the list of the more than 160 local residents waiting to farm a plot of their own. The grant will support district staff as they oversee the garden’s expansion; provide gardener outreach and education on conservation practices, like composting and irrigation; and create a conservation plan.

Riverside-Corona RCD
RCRCD will engage community gardeners by hosting “farmer forums” on irrigation system conversions, soil management and health, and integrated pest management at the Land Use Learning Center. The district will also conduct land inventories and promote conservation practices and their benefits by disseminating a guide book and utilizing social media.


Jefferson CD
Jefferson CD will use their award to implement a district intern program aimed at increasing community support for, and understanding of, urban agriculture. The interns would be responsible for organizing on-farm demonstrations and site visits, agricultural equipment sharing programs, and farmer workshops.


Connecticut River Coastal CD
Connecticut River Coastal CD will use its grant to provide technical assistance to a number of urban gardens, farmers markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) projects in Middletown, Connecticut. CRCCD staff will conduct farm and garden assessments to identify opportunities for irrigation, soil health, and pollinator and wildlife habitat improvements and will provide assistance in the implementation of recommended conservation practices. The district also plans to develop conservation plans for expanded fruit and vegetable, hay, corn, and cattle grazing operations on land leased from the city.

Eastern Connecticut CD
Eastern Connecticut CD will create a half-acre community farm and urban agriculture education center in Windham, Connecticut, to help reduce nonpoint source pollution and increase adoption of conservation practices in the area. The district will also provide technical assistance, create a resource network for program leaders, and host a series of workshops known as “Workshop Wednesdays.” The first of these workshops will emphasize the importance of using sustainable construction techniques when developing community farm sites.


Hillsborough SWCD
Hillsborough SWCD will complete 100 conservation projects within the county in just one week through a comprehensive stewardship program. Through the program, the district will support the development of green spaces and community and school gardens. It will also support tree plantings, organize clean-up campaigns for nearby waterways, and area recycling programs.

Leon SWCD will establish an online, fruit and nut exchange where urban producers can register that their unharvested fruits and nuts are available for donation. The district will also host workshops on growing organic fruit, ripening and harvesting fruit in urban areas, using soil and water conservation practices, and managing for healthy soils. Citizens of Tallahassee can use leontrees.org to assess their local tree health, determine when fruit is ripe and ready for harvest, and to map their harvest data using GIS.


Flint River SWCD
Flint River SWCD will provide technical assistance and educational resources to small and urban farmers, in addition to building a community garden, to help improve natural resource management and local access to healthy foods. The district will also provide soils information for erosion and sediment control plans and assist residents in need of water and soil conservation planning.

Oconee River SWCD
Oconee River SWCD will continue its support for the Athens Land Trust’s Young Urban Farmers program – an initiative known for developing urban youth into confident and effective natural resource stewards. Through a community garden network, students will raise produce and flowers to sell at a local farmers market that offers dollar-matching through SNAP. With their grant award, ORSWCD will supply these gardens with seeds to grow pollinator habitat, commercial flowers, perennial berries, mushrooms, and vegetables, as well as boxes for Orchard Mason bees, bluebird houses, and a large-scale composting operation.


Hamilton County SWCD
Hamilton County SWCD will provide onsite technical assistance to urban food producers and community gardens, demonstrate conservation practices, and develop partnerships with individual gardeners and local food banks through the Hamilton County Community Garden Network. The district will also host community garden workshops on stormwater infiltration techniques, tree planting practices, and wildlife and pollinator habitat creation.

Marion County SWCD
Marion County SWCD will expand technical assistance by developing the Urban Growers Exchange network and website. The network focuses on soil health and several resource challenges specific to the Indianapolis area, including brownfields, contaminated soils, flooding, erosion, and sedimentation. The UGE website will feature mobile-friendly fact sheets on conservation practices, permaculture templates for vacant lots, and forums for expert advice and peer-to-peer sharing. The district will also host workshops, demonstrations, and field days, and will utilize a bilingual urban soils health specialist for greater outreach.


Jefferson County SWCD
Jefferson County SWCD will use urban gardening and local food production to connect elderly populations with local youth. The Louisville district will focus its educational outreach on backyard and postage stamp gardening, strategies for extending the growing season, cover crops and edible buffers, gardening with wood shipping pallets, and rain barrels. They will also establish an urban agriculture database and communal gardening operations.


Cumberland County SWCD
Cumberland County SWCD will serve Portland residents by installing new food forest sites, improving urban green spaces, and creating a conservation focused curriculum for new citizens and at-risk youth. The curriculum will consist of community gardening, erosion controls, stormwater management, and cover crops. The district will develop new reference materials for non-English speaking, low-literacy populations of young adults and will use GIS analysis to identify and index local food deserts.


Kent CD
Kent CD will support a training program for students that teaches sustainable agriculture technical skills. The program participants will staff an outdoor farm stand and CD partner Urban Roots will select and coordinate college interns for community building projects and farm work. The district will provide technical assistance and workshops as well on soil health, water quality, apiculture, and pollinators.


Ramsey SWCD
Ramsey Conservation District – which covers the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area – will put its grant to use providing technical support to community partners as they lease private or public lands to establish community gardens. The district also plans to help gardeners remediate contaminated land for gardening, conduct soils tests, assist with water hook-ups, and create a demonstration garden.


Boone County SWCD
Boone County SWCD will convert the historic Clary-Shy Park fairgrounds in Columbia into urban farms, demonstration gardens, an outdoor classroom for interactive education opportunities, and a pavilion for workshops and farmers markets. The district will also develop a “Growing Guide,” which will detail best management practices for urban gardeners.

Greene County SWCD
Greene County SWCD, which serves urban Springfield, will train community members to design and manage small-scale urban farms with a train-the-trainer model. The district will host weekly work sessions at demonstration gardens, provide on-site technical assistance, and will put on workshops that focus on the conservation benefits of permaculture.


CD of Southern Nevada
The CD of Southern Nevada will create and implement a comprehensive network of local farms, community gardens, and backyard gardens and will strengthen the Zion Garden Park Agricultural Assistance Program. It will also develop a demonstration garden and will host workshops and interactive educational classes on backyard conservation, healthy soils, planting crops, composting, integrated pest management, and more.

New Hampshire

Hillsborough County CD
Hillsborough County CD will develop conservation plans, help to establish cropland, and coordinate farm planning to better serve the county’s high population of refugee and immigrant farmers. The district will also host workshops addressing garden plot expansions, environmental site assessments, soil tests, nutrient management, pest management solutions, water conservation, invasive species management, on-site water availability, construction of seasonal high tunnels, and soil compaction.

New Jersey

Hudson-Essex-Passaic SCD
HEPSCD will offer unemployed veterans job training in greenhouse crop production, aquaponics, landscaping, stormwater management, and green infrastructure construction. Additionally, HEPSCD will create the nation’s first fish exchange, where citizens can exchange pound-for-pound contaminated fish for clean fish raised in an aquaponics system by trainees.

New Mexico

Valencia SWCD
Valencia SWCD will hire staff to facilitate soil and water site evaluations for small farms across the district. They will also create a farmers market to sell produce and a commercial kitchen to train community leaders in food preparation and processing; and will hold teaching sessions on water availability, acquisition, conservation and harvesting.

New York

New York City SWCD
Home to the nation’s largest city, NYCSWCD will promote urban soil health and conservation education for urban farmers by providing technical resources and conducting field visits. The district will also create a database for targeted outreach to community and backyard gardeners and will host workshops on urban agriculture basics and soil conservation practices.

North Carolina

Durham County SWCD
Durham County SWCD will work with the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm and the Bull City Cool Food Hub to improve farmer training. The district will establish a Bionomic Education Training Center for students that local teachers can utilize as part of their STEM coursework standards. The center will also offer underserved youth green infrastructure job training. In addition, the district will conduct eight education and outreach community events centered on stormwater and runoff management, conservation irrigation, nutrient management, pollinators, native species, buffers, filter strips, integrated pest management, soil health, and conservation tillage.

Serving the capital region of the state, Wake SWCD will provide site design assistance and technical advice on best management practices to urban producers and community gardeners. The district will also host workshops on nutrient management, integrated pest management, soil health, water quality, season extension, erosion control, NRCS programs, beneficial insects and designs for pollinator gardens, traditional and vermiculture composting, cover crops, and safe food storage practices.


Cuyahoga SWCD
Cuyahoga SWCD, which serves the city of Cleveland, will create a “blueprint for urban agriculture” and provide technical assistance on soil health, farming, and product marketing. The district will develop a guidance document with best management practices for urban agriculture; create a database for urban farms, community gardens, and their stakeholders; and hold educational workshops. The district will also train members of the local Boys and Girls Club to grow and market produce and will work with them on an agroforestry project and a high tunnel restoration project.

Lucas SWCD
Lucas SWCD aims to remediate lead-contaminated urban lots by providing soil contamination assessments across the city. The district will also host a workshop series on lead contamination, soil sampling, soil health, and soil remediation. Additionally, they will provide electronic and hardcopy step-by-step “Safer City Soils” guides for site assessments and soil samplings, complete with recommendations.

Muskingum SWCD
Muskingum SWCD will design and prepare community gardens and urban agriculture sites, implement public outreach and education programs for its residents, and promote more efficient utilization of green space and zoning regulations. The district will incorporate a holistic approach to addressing needs of low-income families and will offer training on community gardening, healthy eating, food storage, and preparation to residents.


Allegheny County CD
Serving Pittsburgh and the headwaters of the Ohio River, Allegheny County CD will train an urban agriculture graduate intern to bring soil science, organizational collaboration, outreach, and education resources to urban farmers. The district will host soil testing events for information on contamination risks, remediation strategies, and resources for its residents. The district will also host technical assistance and informational events on municipal stormwater management, green space planning resources, permaculture, bio-intensive production, season extension, nutrient management, and farmers’ rights.

Blair County CD
Blair County CD will provide technical assistance, develop workshops, and provide resources to beginning farmers and producers through the Blair County Urban Agriculture Program. The program encourages communities to utilize soil and water best management practices, including green infrastructure and high tunnels. The district will host workshops and organize a local food and urban agriculture summit, featuring tours of municipal-run community gardens.

Lycoming County CD
Lycoming County CD will partner with existing gardening initiatives to identify overlooked best management practices, nutrition and food safety issues, and to provide conservation demonstrations as part of their Urban Agriculture for Healthier Families and Homes program. The district will provide demonstrations and create lesson plans on soil health, plant health, water conservation and stewardship, integrated pest management, composting, harvesting, and soil and water conservation. LCCD will also teach its residents about non-traditional forms of gardening, including community, container, “square-foot,” vertical, and youth-run gardening.

Montgomery County CD
MCCD will create an electronic Urban Agricultural Conservation Resource Guide (eUACDRG) for urban agriculture sites and will produce a documentary film on the project. The district will create a partnership network for urban conservation support and technical assistance and will assist with site determination for Norristown community gardens and conservation demonstration sites. The electronic guide will cover conservation topics including: agricultural products, vertical gardening, raised bed gardening, aquaponics, hydroponics, CSA gardening, water conservation, rain barrel and cistern use, pollinator benefits, nutrient management, soil and water quality, backyard poultry management, and pollinator habitat creation.

South Carolina

Greenville County SWCD
Greenville County SWCD will create a model urban farm, named the Legacy City Farm, that will sell vegetables to nearby inner-city schools. The district will create educational opportunities for students and faculty, local residents, and small farmers, teaching them best management practices for using cover crops and planting perennial berries.


Henricopolis SWCD
HSWCD will create a farm-to-school project in the greater metropolitan Richmond region, expanding upon the existing Community Food Collaborative’s large school market garden at Fairfield Middle School to cover an additional four acres. The collaborative currently sells produce harvested from the garden instead of incorporating it into the school’s meals, but the district aims to change that. Produce harvested during the summer will be sold by youth-run farm stands at community farmers markets, and the district will host conservation educational programs and teacher training workshops for urban youth.

New River SWCD
New River SWCD will train local residents and students through garden demonstrations to develop and maintain family-sized urban agriculture plots. The garden produce will be sold to local community-supported agriculture programs, farmers markets, and hunger relief organizations. The district will also host educational field days and workshops – ensuring that students are involved throughout the process – from planting, to harvest, to market.


Clark CD
Clark CD will develop a database for technical assistance, called Urban Ag Connections, that will include a county-wide online clearinghouse for forums, calendars, and urban agriculture-related resources. The district will also set up a 1-800 number with Spanish and Russian language options, postage-paid postcards to submit to the office for site-specific technical assistance requests, and business cards promoting the hotline.

King CD
King CD will promote soil health and testing via the creation of a mobile, crowdsourced soil map. The district will offer soil testing for residents and will expand CitySoil, an urban farm that uses recycled water and good soil fertility while providing education to at-risk youth and produce to a local food bank.

Lincoln County CD
Lincoln County CD will renovate the Davenport Community Gardens to make them ADA complaint and accessible to all residents. The district will remove weeds, repair and replace wood boxes, add benches and accessible pathways, build a gazebo, and erect an education and demonstration site. Through this conservation-minded renovation effort, the district will be able to host speaker series on water conservation practices, xeriscaping, and native plant demonstrations.

Pierce CD
Pierce CD will use its grant to increase the number of resources it offers in foreign languages and to diversify its outreach efforts and education services. The district will translate its workshops, trainings, and education and outreach materials into Russian, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, Cambodian, Spanish, Korean, Somali, and Thai. The district will also expand its support to community gardens and farms, providing targeted technical assistance for hoop houses, cisterns, stormwater infiltration, and garden engineering techniques.

Spokane CD
Spokane CD will build an Urban Agriculture Network of people and organizations to expand the community’s capacity to grow and support sustainable urban agriculture systems. The district will provide education and technical assistance via tours, community forums, workshops, consultations, networking events, and demonstration projects. SCD will also develop a youth-based workshop series, and will teach its residents of all ages how to manage urban market gardens, urban livestock, and community and home gardens.


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