- Amend the FOTO subsection to include a program to assist livestock farmers seeking to transition to or diversify with plant crops (the FARMS Act).
- Appropriate $100 million or more per year for the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
- Pay Office of UAIP advisors an annual stipend.
- Offer matching grants for the purchase of health-code compliant food trucks under the Office of UAIP.
Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach “FOTO”
AFA recommends adding a pilot program under the FOTO title to award grants to agricultural producers interested in diversifying into growing fiber-rich food crops using sustainable methods.
For this, AFA proposes the Farmer and Rancher Mobility Solutions pilot program.
The Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production “UAIP”
Created in the 2018 farm bill, the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (UAIP) has received more than 500 grant applications. Unfortunately, only 2% of OUAIP applications have been approved.1
The USDA could request Congress to appropriate an additional $100 million for OUAIP in order to award more eligible grants. This immediate empowerment of local communities could increase local fresh fruits and vegetables production and consumption.
Furthermore, AFA suggests that Congress make UAIP advisorships paid positions. Otherwise, the USDA risks filtering out many experienced urban farmers. The best advisors are those who are so busy building up urban agriculture creations, they don’t have time for free volunteer work.
The USDA could also offer matching grants for the purchase of health-code compliant food trucks so that community organizations can bring more healthy fiber-rich foods to underprioritized communities on a regular basis.