As urban agriculture gains momentum in tandem with the movement of knowing where your food comes from, the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) in partnership with USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) have awarded $2 million in funds to 42 conservation districts for urban ag and conservation projects. The goal of the initiative is to help conservation districts and their partners provide technical assistance for ag conversation in areas where the land is predominately urban or urbanizing, especially in underserved communities.
“NACD and the conservation districts we represent work on a scale that no other conservation organization or coalition does,” NACD President Lee McDaniel, who is in his second and final year as president of NACD, told an audience of conservation leaders in Minneapolis on Sunday. “We have the reach we need to engage the 98 percent of folks who don’t necessarily produce our fuel, fiber, and food, but still can make a sizable and positive difference on the landscape. With today’s announcement, NACD is broadening its base and the base of support for conservation in this country. We are going to reward, support, and encourage conservation implemented on every landscape.”
The 2016 grants will help urban farmers, community gardens, other local agricultural partnerships implement conservation practices that support local food production, provide opportunities for education and stewardship, and protect natural resources.
Jason Weller, chief of NRCS and longtime champion of voluntary and incentive-based conservation said of the announcement, “I commend Lee for his leadership and vision, and for emphasizing the importance of urban conservation and urban agriculture. NACD and NRCS are focused on broadening our reach through more partnerships with communities across the country. Awarding this funding is an important step that NACD, state associations, and individual conservation districts are taking along with NRCS – a step that I’m very proud to support.”
Click here for a full list of the 42 award winners and their projects.