Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production News

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Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production News


Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production on the Road

MS Event


Leslie Glover, OUAIP, participated in the first of its kind USDA Regional Urban Agriculture Meeting in Jackson, Mississippi. USDA staff joined a wide range of stakeholders to discuss financial and technical resources available to them at the local level. Participants included: agricultural producers, non-profit organizations, Mississippi State University, Tennessee State University, and USDA agencies including the Risk Management Agency, Farm Service Agency, Rural Development, Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Water Management Center, and the National Design, Construction, and Soil Mechanics Center.



Brian Guse and Jose Jimenez, OUAIP, participated in the 12th Annual Aquaponics Association Conference in Alburquerque, New Mexico. This year’s theme was “The Recipe for Success: Water, Energy, Food and Communities,” and over 60 speakers and 150 attendees explored ways to expand the practice of aquaponics through research, education, commercial, and community opportunities.

 Rooftop Garden


While in Albuquerque, Brian and Jose met with a variety of producers, including Yes Housing Inc., a 2022 Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) grant recipient where they discussed challenges and opportunities surrounding rooftop garden systems; the 2021 UAIP grant recipient Center of Southwest Culture, where they met with project stakeholders, including Catholic Charities Refugee Support and Angelo Mitchell, an agricultural producer committed to connecting his operation with the surrounding community; and the Native American Community Academy (NACA), where they visited with the Inspired Schools Network Indigenous Farm Hub team and harvested native medicine and learned about indigenous agricultural practices.

Corridor Connect


Nina Bhattacharyya, Urban Agriculture Specialist with OUAIP served on a panel at “Corridor Connect: Ecology + Economy for a Better Florida.” The discussion explored ways cities are embracing sustainability and resilience, with Nina presenting on how local governments can support local food production through land use planning.

Henderson County


OUAIP staff met with Henderson County to learn about the great things happening in their food waste composting facility. Their USDA Composting and Food Waste Reduction (CFWR) Cooperative Agreement was instrumental in providing power and equipment to the facility which is currently collecting food waste from six Henderson County Public Schools. County personnel sought out funding after their contract expired with a private hauler. The once public-private partnership is now a fully public operation, demonstrating that municipalities of all sizes have the capacity to implement their own composting and food waste reduction strategies.

Henderson County Environmental Programs Coordinator Amy Schmitte said, “The CFWR project has had a great impact on Henderson County and our ability to implement and expand the composting facility and programs. The County has increased diversion through the residential food waste drop off, expanded the school compost program, and increased home diversion methods by offering backyard compost bins to residents. We look forward to diverting additional food waste in the future through other collection sources like restaurants and farms.” 

USDA Highlights

Farm to School


Innovative Production


USDA Offers New Crop Insurance Program for Producers Using Controlled Environments. The new Controlled Environment program from USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) provides coverage against plant diseases subject to destruction orders for plants grown in fully enclosed controlled environments. Available beginning in the 2024 crop year, the Controlled Environment program provides a risk management resource for urban, specialty crop, and organic producers who often use controlled environments as a major part of their operations.

People’s Garden Initiative

PG Webinar Series


On October 26 at 3:30pm ET, join the next USDA’s People’s Garden webinar, focusing on USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service resources that support child nutrition and the important role community and school gardens can play to make healthy food accessible. Register in advance.



In honor of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, check out these resources to build inclusive gardens for all people. If you’re in the Washington, D.C. area, we welcome you to the Headquarters People’s Gardens where we have built wheelchair accessible garden beds.

Our partners at the Xerces Society are recruiting volunteer ambassadors until Sept. 30. The program mobilizes volunteers to advance invertebrate conservation by participating in community science, organizational tasks, and community engagement. 

What We’re Reading

In Case You Missed It

Harvest 2023


Last but not least, share your harvesting experience for Farmers.gov’s #Harvest2023 campaign! To share your experience on @FarmersGov social media, follow these steps:

  • Collect photos of what’s happening on your operation as you harvest.
  • We’d love to see the people that make it happen, like friends and family.
  • Write an email to FP.Social@usda.gov, attach your photos/video, and tell us:
    • Your name, the location of your operation, and the name of your operation.
    • Your operation’s Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter pages, if you have them.
    • What are you harvesting this year?
    • Where does your harvest go? How is it used?
    • What are your personal thoughts on this year’s harvest season?
  • Please note that by submitting your photo/video, you are granting USDA permission to use these materials for outreach and education purposes. Remember to follow @FarmersGov on Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), and Instagram, and we look forward to sharing your story!

To submit questions or topics for future Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production newsletters, email urbanagriculture@usda.gov.