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Today (March 31), the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) announced $1 million in urban agriculture conservation funding for 20 conservation districts across 14 states.

NACD and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) first partnered through the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to support technical assistance activities related to community-oriented agricultural programs. Including today’s announcement, NACD and NRCS have awarded more than $5.6 million in funding for 122 grants in 35 states.

“The Urban Agriculture Conservation Grants provide opportunities for conservation districts to continue their great work in new and different ways,” NACD President Michael Crowder said. “The projects we’re announcing today will help conservation districts reach new audiences and build new programs to provide technical assistance in a variety of community-oriented settings.”

The projects will enable multiple partners to support each other on topics as varied as soil health, native plants and pollinator health, while making concerted efforts to reach new clients of conservation districts.

In California, the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District (CCRCD) will develop Oye Garden (“coyote” in Coast Miwuk) on the California State University East Bay-Concord campus. The garden will integrate agroecology, indigenous foods and eco-cultural restoration and will act as a training space for students and indigenous tribal members for bridging their own health and nutrition into their work within the broader community.

The Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) in Minnesota will provide public access demonstration gardens, technical assistance and plans for five locally-adapted garden types permanently through the Hubbard County SWCD Minnesota Watersheds Virtual Lab and local partnerships to increase food security and water quality by promoting easy to maintain, sustainable backyard gardens and permaculture.

The Berks County Conservation District (BCCD) in Pennsylvania will provide technical assistance for the Cultivating Communities initiative developed by the City of Readings Victory Garden Task Force to address soil health, stormwater runoff and nonpoint source pollution, climate change resiliency and food security within environmental justice communities.

See the full list of 2021 grantees on NACD’s 2021 Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Recipients webpage and read more about past grantees on NACD’s Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative Story Map Shortlist.