Pa. Dept. of Agriculture fights food insecurity with urban gardening funds

Written by on March 12, 2021

Pa. Dept. of Agriculture fights food insecurity with urban gardening funds

By Hayden Mitman

March 12, 2021

Photo| Dan Charles/NPR

Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture recently opened its urban agriculture grant program which will provide $500,000 to help combat food insecurity throughout the state.

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According to a 2016 study by the United Way of Greater Lehigh Valley, there are 28 communities throughout the Lehigh Valley with limited access to healthy foods. 

This includes eight food deserts, defined as any location where families need to travel a mile or more to access fresh fruits and vegetables. 

But the Department of Agriculture says it will address food deserts statewide with a new round of funding for programs that bring nutritious foods to urban communities. 

“Imagine trying to pull together a healthy dinner with the offerings at a Family Dollar store. You can find a bottle of soda and a bag of chips, but no fresh, green salads. Our aim is to help transform neighborhoods by strengthening food access through urban agriculture,” says Russell Redding, Pennsylvania’s secretary of Agriculture.

In the past, this funding has been used to support urban gardening programs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Erie and other counties. 

But, no funding has yet been delivered to programs in the Lehigh Valley.

Urban gardening programs in our community can apply for this round of funding through April 16. 


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