Recipients will use the funding to advance agricultural education and initiatives in Georgia

Throughout the past year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the University of Georgia (UGA) have engaged with hundreds of community members at listening sessions across the state of Georgia to determine how funding from a $1.5 million USDA grant can be used to advance agricultural initiatives and support community garden production in Georgia.

During the listening sessions, UGA Archway Partnership was able to take its time-tested and nationally awarded model of building community engagement to conduct needs assessments of agriculture and community gardens across the state. Archway and other UGA faculty, alongside personnel from the USDA, met with farmers and agricultural producers to understand their underlying needs and determined that they would select six entities in Georgia to receive sub-award funding to create, expand, or enhance large-scale gardens and agricultural opportunities in their communities.

On May 17, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack visited Columbus, Georgia, to recognize the work being done by the USDA and UGA and celebrate the innovative work in agriculture across the state. Secretary Vilsack joined U.S. Representative Sanford D. Bishop (GA-02) for a tour of Turn Around Columbus and announced that this entity, along with 6 other entities, will receive $145,000 in funding as part of the partnership between the USDA and UGA Archway Partnership.

The USDA and UGA are pleased to announce the following entities are recipients of a one-time sub-award funding opportunity of $145,000 per entity: Turn Around Columbus, Rockdale County Administration, Southern Sky Center for Diverse Arts and Culture Inc., Lowndes Associated Ministries to People Inc., Change Church, and Peachtree Farm.

“This historic investment will create and enhance community gardens and improve food system needs across the state of Georgia,” said Arthur Tripp, USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director in Georgia. “We are extremely excited to announce the six recipients of funding, who will enhance their community gardens and programs to increase access to healthy foods and educate their communities on the importance of agriculture throughout the state of Georgia.”

This funding comes as part of the USDA FSA’s investment of $43.1 million through the American Rescue Plan Act for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. These actions support USDA’s efforts to strengthen the food supply chain and transform the food system to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient. These investments will also help assist food-insecure communities and serve producers in areas where FSA historically has not had a presence.