Farm Bill creates Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The recently-passed U.S. Farm Bill creates the USDA Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production which should boost aquaponics, hydroponics, and other sustainable growing methods.

The Bill establishes the Office “to encourage and promote urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production practices.” Related to this new Office, the Bill:

  • Provides for the assignment of a farm number for rooftop, indoor, and other urban farms.
  • Provides authority to award competitive grants to operate community gardens or
    nonprofit farms, educate a community on food systems, nutrition, environmental impacts,
    and agricultural production, and help offset start-up costs for new and beginning farmers.
  • Establishes an Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production Advisory Committee.
  • Establishes pilot projects to increase compost and reduce food waste, and create urban
    and suburban county committees.

In addition to the Office for Urban Agriculture, the Farm Bill also establishes the Urban, Indoor, and Other Emerging Agriculture Production Research, Education, and Extension Initiative. This Initiative does the following:

  • Authorizes competitive research and extension grants to support research, education, and
    extension activities for the purposes of enhancing urban, indoor, and other emerging
    agricultural production.
  • Provides $4 million mandatory for each fiscal year 2019-2023.
  • Requires the Secretary to conduct a census of urban, indoor, and other emerging
    agricultural production.

Unfortunately, there is plenty of bad along with the good: this Farm Bill continues negative policies that stifle smaller growers and wastefully support large industrial monoculture growers. Nevertheless, it is welcome to see the Federal Government acknowledging the need for investment in urban and sustainable growing.

Will these government initiatives improve urban agriculture in Washington, DC?

How can the DC Urban Ag community make the most of this opportunity?

Are you interested in being part of the revolution in urban agriculture? Anacostia Aquaponics is looking for 2019 Team Members / Interns. Learn more: http://anacostiaaquaponics.org/2019-team-member-opportunities/

How Can Aquaponics Help DC’s Food Deserts?

By Eleanor Haworth

Eleven percent of Washington, DC is a food desert. A food desert is when there is little access to affordable food in a city. One in seven individuals in the district suffer from poverty; especially in wards 7 and 8. Even with free and reduced lunch in schools and nonprofits working to provide meals, many children and adults do not have food security.

Aquaponics and hydroponics may be able to combat this. With an increase in research and technology, families can grow fruits and vegetables on their rooftops and in their homes without worrying about large land usage and soil management. Aquaponics can be used to gain extra income for communities by selling produce to restaurants and creating small markets for the community. If a supermarket is introduced to the area, community members can work with store owners to supply produce leading to better food access AND jobs.

DC Candidates Food Forum

Local DC food advocates are holding a Candidates Food Forum next week on Wednesday May 15th to hear from DC Council At Large Candidates on food policy issues.

The forum is sold out, and has a waitlist so the DC Food Policy Council will be hosting a watch party for the livestream of the event. Bring a snack for yourself, or to share for a potluck, and join us to watch the forum!

Wednesday, May 15th, 6:30 to 8:30pm
1100 4th Street SW, Washington, DC 20024
Room 200

About Forum
The Candidates’ Food Forum will bring together candidates for city-wide Council seats to share their ideas and positions on DC food system issues. Candidates will answer questions about food justice and health equity; school food and nutrition; urban agriculture; economic development and more.

Rooting DC this Saturday!

Who: Everyone
What: Rooting DC Urban Agriculture Expo
When: Saturday, March 3, 9:00am – 4:00pm
Where: Wilson HS, 3950 Chesapeake St NW, Washington, DC
Why: Sustaining a happy life on Earth!
Price: FREE

Anacostia Aquaponics will have our Hootie 2.0 Indoor Aquaponic System set up and running in the Vendor Showroom, goldfish and all. [Barring any technical catastrophes]

Anacostia Aquaponics Director Brian Filipowich will present “Aquaponics in Washington DC” at 10:00am in Room 205. There are many many GREAT presentations all day long! See Rooting DC Schedule

It’s always a great time, and there’s lots of foodtrucks, hope to see you there!

Mayor Bowser Signs the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

 

Today, January 25, Mayor Bowser will announce that the District and other American cities will sign on to the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP), a cooperative international agreement to improve food and sustainability in cities all over the world. Mayor Bowser will sign on to the Pact to “build a more sustainable and equitable food system, shaping future patterns of food production and consumption in the District and America.”

Learn more: Milan Urban Food Policy Pact

2 Dans Toiling at Twilight; Thankfulness

Dan and Dan were recently improving the insulation on one of Cultivate the City‘s rooftop greenhouses ahead of the winter.

This greenhouse hosts a hydroponic system with 25 vertical zipgrow towers; stacked-pot drip-line vertical hydroponic systems; and an aquaponic system we will be overhauling in the months ahead.

Controlled environment agriculture gives us the ability to produce food in the middle of Washington, DC in the middle of winter — as opposed to shipping all of our fresh produce thousands of miles for half the year. And vertical growing gives us the ability to produce large quantities of food relative to square land area.

The problem: our nation’s economic structure. We do not charge the true cost of carbon. Big companies have an implicit subsidy to use as much carbon as they want to get their food here from across the planet and compete against efficient local growers. Sad.

So this year I’m thankful for Dan, Dan, and the rest of the Washington, DC urban agriculture community!