Urban Agriculture

Co-Chairs:

  • Christopher Bradshaw, Dreaming Out Loud
  • Kate Lee, Department of Energy and the Environment

2020 Priorities:

  1. Expand the Urban Land Lease Program and Urban Agriculture Tax Credit in collaboration with the new Director of Urban Agriculture. In 2019, the District created a crucial new resource for urban farmers: the Director of Urban Agriculture position within the Department of Energy and the Environment. The new Director will need support and guidance to expand the Urban Land Lease Program and Urban Agriculture Tax Credit, as well as provide other key assistance for farmers. The Food Policy Council will convene forums and provide on-going guidance to support the new Director.
  2. Explore funding opportunities for an Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Fund: In collaboration with the new Director of Urban Agriculture and University of the District of Columbia, the Council plans to identify funding to assist farmers with needed infrastructure to make their farms thrive. Common infrastructure needs include hoop houses, greenhouses, water infrastructure, and cold storage. These relatively small investments would greatly increase the amount of fresh, locally-grown produce available year-round to District residents and would promote job creation as farms expand their operations.

Accomplishments:

Urban Land Lease Program: With the FPC’s support and advise, the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and Department of General Services (DGS) are implementing the Urban Land Lease Program within the DC Urban Farming and Food Security Act of 2014 (“DC Farm Bill”) by leasing parcels of government land to farmers for free 5-13 year leases. The FPC is working with these agencies to identify more parcels to be leased.

Urban Agriculture Tax Credit: With the FPC’s support and advise, the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is implementing the urban agriculture tax credit, approved in the DC Farm Bill, which provides a property tax abatement to private landowners that lease their property (including rooftops) for urban agriculture.

Infrastructure Fund: The FPC is partnering with DOEE to apply for federal funding to create an urban agriculture infrastructure fund for farmers in the District.