In a surprising move at the very end of 2018 – Congress came together to pass a reauthorization of the Farm Bill – a national law that manages agriculture and various food programs – school food, and food assistance services. The new law does not cut most food services and it adds a entire section supporting and providing resources for “urban and innovative” agriculture. Innovative agriculture includes growing methods like hydroponics, land-based aquaculture and aquaponics – the hybrid of the two.
Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan has championed specifically creating acknowledgement and support for urban and innovative agriculture for years, to recognize the contribution such farms and farmers are making in the U.S. This new Farm Bill includes this, plus creates an Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production to oversee the new provisions.
Urban and innovative growers all around the country urged their Senators and Representatives to vote for resources to support their farming. In New Orleans, groups like the Recirculating Farms Coalition, the Greater New Orleans Growers Alliance and New Orleans Food policy Advisory Committee led outreach and education efforts, mainly directed at Sen. Dr. Bill Cassidy, who did vote in favor of the new Farm Bill.
With a changing climate and a growing population, more farming throughout the country can provide better access to fresh food for more people. Urban and innovative growers are excited to have new opportunities to learn and grow with their rural counterparts.
See our press release on the issue here.