State grant program aims to boost urban agriculture, address food insecurity

The Food Insecure Urban Agriculture Matching Grant will provide about $194,000 to 11 projects across the state, the Missouri Department of Agriculture announced Thursday.

The matching grant program aims to address food insecurity in urban areas by providing up to $25,000 apiece to nonprofit organizations and small businesses.

The agriculture department said the grants are designed to increase food production and availability in urban areas, create local economic growth and provide assistance to the community.

“Our team has been focused on meaningful solutions that bring affordable food closer to our Missouri citizens,” Chris Chinn, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, said in a press release. “These projects tie together non-profit organizations, small businesses and state government to focus in on what each local economy needs.”

The organizations, projects and funding amounts are:

Agape Grow Education Center (Kansas City) – $15,805

Agape is an education center focused on gardening, cooking and canning classes. Funds will help create a kitchen expansion that will allow for the preservation of produce through canning, dehydrating and other methods.

Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture (Columbia) – $12,039

The organization aims to improve the community’s health by connecting people to agriculture. It will use funds for fencing to protect food production areas and a maintenance barn.

EarthDance (St. Louis) – $25,000

The organic farm school will use the funds to create a permanent farm stand where people can buy local produce on a pay-as-you-can basis.

Fit and Food Connection (St. Louis) – $22,200

The organization provides nutritious foods to low-income areas. It will purchase a growing tunnel to expand growing capacity and season length.

Kansas City Community Gardens (Kansas City) – $14,716

The nonprofit helps people grow fruits and vegetables. It’s building 23 raised-bed gardens in parts of Kansas City with low food access.

MO Hives KC (Kansas City) – $22,630

The organization, which works to increase the number of urban bee farms in Missouri, is buying supplies to expand a vegetable and apiary farm.

A Red Circle (St. Louis) – $7,800

Established to promote community betterment through a racial equality lens, A Red Circle will spend the funds growing and improving its current urban garden area.

Saint Francis Foundation (Cape Girardeau) – $15,000

The foundation associated with the Saint Francis Healthcare System will fund a feasibility study for the Cape Girardeau City Farm Project.

Sankara Farms (Kansas City) – $8,809

The produce farm will purchase a high tunnel for seasonal expansion and increased growing and storage capacity.

Springfield Community Gardens (Springfield) – $25,000

The gardening organization works to provide access to healthy foods. It will use the grant to build a washing and packing shed for cleaning grown produce onsite.

Urban Eats Holdings (St. Louis) – $25,000

The local cafe will expand a food production area to assist the preparation of meal kits for a local food pantry.


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