Coalition of food and ag groups urge congress to fund urban ag programs

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and a coalition of food and ag groups are urging Congress to fund initiatives in the 2018 farm bill that promote urban agriculture.

Nathan Bowen, executive director of public policy, says the groups are asking Congress to fund the newly created Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production at the USDA.

“That office was authorized by the 2018 farm bill and we joined together and recognized that this is an important piece of agriculture and it’s important that we have Congress actually fund this office,” he says.  

The coalition is asking lawmakers to appropriate $25 million for the office and $14 million for the urban agriculture data initiative.

Bowen says it’s critical to support urban agriculture.

“Just as we see in rural communities, agriculture can be very important in driving the local economy,” he says. “That happens in urban areas as well.”

He says urban agriculture can also broaden the conversation around the industry.

“It helps us have conversations and open the door for dialogue,” he says. “We can also do a lot with these programs to work cooperatively with our school systems.”

The coalition sent the letter to Congress on Monday.

Audio: Nathan Bowen, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture

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