Urban Agriculture Grants
The City of Cincinnati is offering mini-grants to support urban agriculture in 2017. Funds are available for agricultural production and growing sites as well as aggregation distribution sites. To qualify for funding, the location of the growing site or distribution site must be within the City of Cincinnati. 

Urban Agriculture Grants

Urban Agriculture Grants have been made available through the CDBG-funded Vacant Lot Reutilization (VLR) Program, a new program as of the 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan. The program was created to address vacant lots after demolition occurs with an urban garden or a pocket park in eligible low to moderate income census tracts. The City’s Department of Community and Economic Development Monitoring and Compliance Division manages this program. This year, DCED partnered with Office of Environment and Sustainability to combine $30,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $28,000 in General Funds specifically for Urban Agriculture to focus the VLR on new urban gardens in eligible census tracts.  

This year, the City received 49 applications and was able to partially fund 45 - 7 through CDBG and 29 through general fund dollars (multiple applications were received for some sites).

 2017 VLR Sites Funded Through General Funds
College Hill Farmers Market Walnut Hills (Reinvest Consultants CPI
Peaslee Center DIRT at Findlay Market Mercy Neighborhood Ministries
Happen, Inc. Gabriel's Place Walnut Hills - Concord
Lower Price Hill Community Garden Hughes High School Walnut Hills - Melrose
Madisonville Foraging McKie Recreation Center Our Harvest
Pleasant Hill Academy Eden Urban Gardens Ohio Valley Food Connection
Westwood Community Garden Turner Farms - East End Sidestreams
Winton Terrace Cultivate! Ohio Probasco
Dater Montessori Westwood Northern Urban Greens
Permagenic Camp Washington Farm  

2017 VLR Sites Funded Through CDBG
Turner Farms Community Garden Program Urban Earth Farms/Enright Ridge Eco-Village Jubilee Project
Lighthouse Community School Price Hill Will Verdure Landscaping
  Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation  

Lighthouse Community School

Project Address:  5303 Ward Street
Neighborhood:  Madisonville
Organization:  Lighthouse Community School
Project Description: 
The property at 5303 Ward Street has been acquired through the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority.  Lighthouse Community School has an established garden directly across the street at 6101 Chandler Street.  The Chandler garden started in 2011 and now has 9 raised garden beds and a chicken coop.  The students tend to the gardens and the chickens.  The school plans to continue expanding its role by providing fresh fruits and vegetables for the community by building a community center so the students may grow produce year round.  
The funding request is for soil, materials to construct a picket fence, and funds to establish a water connection.

Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation (WHRF)
Project Address:  2704 – 2706 May Street
Neighborhood:  Walnut Hills 
Organization:  Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation
Project Description:  WHRF currently owns the parcels at 2704 – 2706 May Street.  The project will be planting fruit bearing trees, berry bushes, strawberries, watermelon, and cantaloupe at the request of the community.  WHRF have experience with community gardens, and has already logged volunteer hours and supplies for the garden beds.  The project is requesting funds to remove trees from the property.  

The Jubilee Project
Project Address:  3161 Bracken Woods Lane, 3127 Bracken Woods Lane, 3111 Bracken Woods Lane, 2680 Shaffer Avenue, and 3143 Bracken Woods Lane
Neighborhood:  Westwood
Organization:  The Jubilee Project, Westwood Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (WestCURC) owns the properties
Project Description: 
The Jubilee Project started Jubilee Fresh Farms in 2017.  The Jubilee Project worked with WestCURC to acquire the 5 lots on this short cul-de-sac street.  The idea is to grow crops along the edge of the lots that anyone may pick.  The intent will be to provide the local residents with weekly produce from their other sites.

Price Hill Will
Project Address:  1140 Beech Avenue
Neighborhood:  West Price Hill
Organization:  Price Hill Will (PHW)
Project Description: Price Hill Will owns the contiguous lots across the street from the Seton and Elder High Schools, 1136, 1138, 1140, and 1142 Beech Avenue.  PHW has experience in establishing community gardens.  The plan is to establish this garden as a perennial stock for neighborhood beautification and food production.  PHW is in the process of constructing a nursery and will use a local nursery to propagate their first starts.  PHW also has a program called Grow It Forward and will use these volunteers to assist this project.

Turner Farm/Turner Farm Community Garden Program
Project Address:  956 Purcell Avenue
Neighborhood:  East Price Hill
Organization:  Turner Farm

Project Description: The East Price Hill Community Garden will be a new garden, when completed approximately one fenced acre, providing a location and opportunity for Price Hill residents to grow fresh and healthy food in a collectively managed market-style garden and individual plots. The garden will also provide urban agriculture training to support existing community gardens and their participants as well as home gardeners through gardening classes and experiential in-garden training.

Partners for the project include Price Hill Will, Santa Maria Community Services, East Price Hill Improvement Association, and Tri-Health. Community outreach and classes are also part of the plan.

Verdure Landscaping
Project Address:  4215 Foley Road
Neighborhood:  West Price Hill
Organization:  Verdure Landscaping
Project Description:  The company plans to invest in the site to grow edible and medicinal perennial plants and provide a long-lasting and aesthetically pleasing space for the neighborhood.

Urban Earth Farms
Project Address:  834 Enright Avenue
Neighborhood:  East Price Hill
Organization:  Urban Earth Farms / Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village
Project Description: Urban Earth Farms is a volunteer work-driven organization.  People in the community volunteer their time working on the farm in exchange for fruits and vegetables.  Purchase of this lot will enable Urban Earth Farms to double their production.  A greenhouse is located nearly adjacent to the site. The site will be used to create a perennial farm with fruit trees, raspberry brambles, and companion plantings. Partners include Price Hill Will, Keep Cincinnati Beautiful, and Building Value.

The General funds were available for urban agriculture production/growing sites and aggregated distribution sites located within the City.  Grants are not made to individuals and applicants must be either a non-profit or for profit corporations.  CDBG funds are available only for new sites on vacant parcels in eligible census tracts for acquisition costs and start up expenses.  Equipment is not an eligible use for CDBG funds.  
In 2016, the City’s Urban Agriculture Program dispersed funds to 26 sites with the average grant being approximately $800.00. For the first time, in addition to the urban agriculture funds available through the Office of Environment and Sustainability, the Department of Community and Economic Development has $30,000 for land acquisition or development of new urban agriculture gardens or farms on current vacant or blighted properties.
Attached you will find the program criteria and guidelines, as well as an application for funding. 
Local food production and distribution plays an important role in addressing health, social, economic and environmental issues. This funding provides support to the urban agriculture efforts within the City.
For more information please contact Robin Henderson at robin.henderson@cincinnati-oh.gov or at 513-352-5340.