More Urban Farms Sprouting With USDA's Help

More Urban Farms Sprouting With USDA's Help

More Urban Farms Sprouting With USDA's Help

Farming, a largely rural activity, is moving to the cities, as urban farms continue to grow with help from the federal government.

As Business Insider reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture each year provides millions of dollars to rural farmers, but the same is starting to be said for urban farms.

According to greensgrow.org, urban farming is just what it sounds like – growing or producing food in a city or heavily populated town or municipality.

In 2016, the USDA funded a dozen urban farms and in 2017, even more money is expected to go toward rooftop farms, greenhouses and warehouses in urban settings.

One of the USDA’s programs geared specifically for urban farming is the Microloan program, which offers funding up to $50,000. Since 2013, 23,000 loans worth $518 million have been awarded through the program. About 70 percent have gone to urban farmers.

The USDA also published an “Urban Agriculture Toolkit” this year that is full of advice about how to launch a greenhouse or rooftop farm, and tips about how to apply for loans.

While most USDA grants and loans go to rural farms, but is making efforts at giving urban farmers equal opportunities and recently set up an office in New York City – a departure from the norm, as most of the USDA’s 2,200 offices are in rural states like Missouri, Texas and Iowa.

These initiatives, as Business Insider reports, underscore a growing movement within the USDA to support local food systems and look beyond rural agriculture.

Urban farmers provide a way to meet a growing need for a growing global population.

In 2016, Business Insider reports, Aerofarms was launched inside a 70,000-square-foot warehouse in Newark, New Jersey, making it the largest vertical farm. In 2015, Gotham Greens, the world’s largest rooftop farm, was started in Chicag

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