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Michigan Senator Stabenow Announces the Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Most Comprehensive Urban Agriculture Bill to be Introduced in Congress Will Create New Economic Opportunities, Increase Access to Healthy Foods

Website of Debbie Stabenow
US Senator for Michigan
September 26, 2016
(Must Read. Mike)

The Urban Agriculture Act of 2016

reating New Economic Opportunities

Agriculture Cooperatives: Expands USDA authority to support farm cooperatives in urban areas, helping urban farmers who want to form and operate an agriculture cooperative get products to market. Reduces individual financial risk and burdensome paperwork by allowing USDA loans to be managed by agriculture cooperatives.

Rooftops, Vertical Farms & Indoor Production: Makes it easier for urban farms to apply for USDA farm programs and assists producers with information on operating rooftop and vertical farms. Supports access to land and production sites in urban communities through innovative conservation grants.

Cutting-Edge Research: Invests $10 million for cutting-edge research to explore market opportunities for urban agriculture and develop new technologies for lowering energy and water needs. Includes national data collection and a new urban agriculture section in the Local and Regional Foods market report.

Providing New Financial Tools & Support

Loans: Expands existing USDA farm loan programs so urban farmers can cover new farm related activities that improve their business. Now urban farmers can use farm loans to finance food production, marketing, and value-added processing.

Risk Management Tools: Provides a new affordable risk management tool for urban farmers to protect against crop losses, taking into account the risks, food prices and contracts unique to urban farms.

New Urban Ag Office: Creates a new urban agriculture office at USDA to coordinate urban agriculture policies across the Department and provide urban farmers with technical assistance.

Mentorship and Education: Connects urban farmers with rural farmers to provide education and mentorship support.

Increasing Access to Healthy Foods

Community Gardens: Invests $5 million for tools and equipment to develop community gardens that provide community-based nutrition education and donate a portion of the food grown to help feed their neighbors.

Healthy Food: Creates a new pilot program that provides incentives to urban farmers who use sustainable growing practices and commit to supplying healthy food to their neighbors, connecting urban farms with families who need greater access to healthy, local foods.

Creating a Healthier Environment

Soil Remediation: Expands resources for technical and financial support to test and clean up contaminated soils, and invests in new research on the best practices for soil remediation.

Urban Composting: Creates a pilot program to provide urban farmers access to compost while reducing food waste that would otherwise go into landfills.

Read the complete article here.