Congressman Rob Menendez Introduces the PRODUCE Act
Legislation Would Increase Federal Funding to Support Urban Farming Initiatives
KEARNY, NJ – During a visit to the 4-H Family Learning Garden in Kearny, Congressman Rob Menendez announced the Providing Robust Organics and Diets for Urban Communities Everywhere (PRODUCE) Act. The PRODUCE Act would support the continued growth of urban agriculture in the Eighth Congressional District and across the United States through increased federal funding for urban farming operations.
“The PRODUCE Act will increase access to fresh and healthy food in communities across the Eighth Congressional District by investing in the rapidly growing urban agriculture sector,” said Congressman Menendez. “I am excited to introduce this legislation, which will battle hunger, expand access to nutritious food for residents, and support urban farming efforts in our district, and throughout New Jersey.”
“The 4-H Family Learning Garden at West Hudson Park is a new initiative by Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Hudson County 4-H Youth Development, funded by the Hudson County Department of Health and Human Services with support from Hudson County Parks Department,” said Rutgers University 4-H Senior Program Coordinator & County Extension Department Head Claudia Urdanivia. “The garden is a community resource offering free programs during the growing season for youth and families from Kearny, Harrison, and the larger West Hudson area on a wide range of topics on urban agriculture, the environment and food systems, as well as providing fresh food for under resourced families from the community. Our work and partnerships with community members show that urban agriculture and horticulture is vital resource and appreciate Congressman Menendez’s support for urban agriculture and urban farming operations.”
The 2018 Farm Bill created the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production (the “Office”) within the United States Department of Agriculture to support the growing urban agriculture industry. The Office assists urban farms through Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production grants that help urban farmers initiate or expand operations in urban and suburban areas. The grant program focuses on projects that target a handful of areas, including food access, education, business and start-up costs for new farms, and policy.
This program has been extremely popular. While the Office has received many applications for grants, they are only able to provide funding to 10% of applicants. This bill will help the Office support more urban farming operations by expanding their capacity for awarding grants.
The PRODUCE Act expands the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production’s capacity to assist urban farming operations across the country by increasing discretionary funding to $50 million per year.
The 4-H Family Learning Garden in Kearny’s West Hudson Park is a partnership between Hudson County 4-H and the Hudson County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Children and Youth Services, with support from Hudson County Department of Parks. The 4-H Family Learning Garden was built in April 2022, and serves as an outdoor classroom, creating educational opportunities for youth and families to learn gardening skills they may implement at home and in their communities.
For the text of the bill, please click here