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Updated: September 8, 2023
By Neith Little

What grants exist for urban gardeners and farmers?

Generally, grants are not a sustainable long-term funding source. But they can be very useful for specific short-term projects. 

Here is a selected list of grants relevant to urban growers. 

Highly recommended: Preparing a grant proposal takes a long time, so note the deadlines from previous years and start outlining your proposal even before the current year's applications open.  

Updated September 2023. Look for new material below. 

Mini-grants relevant to community gardens

Grants relevant to urban farmers

Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission (SMADC)


Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)

  • The Maryland Department of Agriculture offers funding to help farmers adopt cover crops to build healthy soils and protect water quality. Their Small Farm and Urban Agriculture Program offers cost-share programs specifically for urban farmers and farmers with small acreages. 
  • In 2023, they launched a new Urban Agriculture Water and Power Infrastructure Grant​, funded by the MD state legislature. The purpose of the grant is to "help urban farms and community gardens  purchase and install equipment to access water and electricity needed to sustain their operations. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis as long as funds remain available. "
  • In 2022 they launched a pilot Small Acreage Cover Crop Program to enable more urban and small-scale farms to participate. Farmers who plant 5 or fewer acres of a cover crop may be eligible for this new program. Growers will be reimbursed based on paid receipts, up to $1,000 per farmer per growing season. 

Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO)

  • MARBIDCO is primarily a lending institution, but they also offer some loan-incentive and mini-grant programs.
  • In particular, the following are relevant to urban farmers
    • [NEW added 9/6/23] The Maryland Producer Cold Storage Grant Program will "assist farmers and watermen with purchasing cold storage equipment needed for their operations. Matching grants of up to $2,000 are now available. MARBIDCO will match up to 50% of the cost of the project purchase, with a maximum grant award amount being $2,000. The minimum grant award is $500 (meaning therefore, that the minimum project or equipment purchase size is $1,000)…. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and the deadline is November 17, 2023 (electronic submissions are encouraged).” [Quoted text from MARBIDCO press release]. 
    • Maryland urban agriculture commercial lending incentive grant. Providing "an incentive for urban farmers to seek commercial lender financing for the development or expansion of their agricultural enterprise. Maximum incentive grant is $10,000, calculated at no more than 20% of the project’s total cost and no more than 25% of the amount approved by the commercial lender for the project."  
    • Cold storage equipment matching grants for farmers. "MARBIDCO will match up to 50% of the cost of the project, with a maximum grant award amount of $1,000."
    • Local farm enterprise food aggregation grant fund program. "The purpose of the program is to make investments in sustainable aggregation projects to help to grow and strengthen Maryland’s local food system and to create opportunities for small farmers to sell products to wholesale and institutional markets." 
    • Maryland Value Added Producer Matching Grant: provides up to 15% of the matching requirement for an application to the USDA Value Added Producer Grant Program
    • Food Aggregation Projects: Offers small-scale farmer and public-sector grants to assist with developing local food aggregation projects, to enable Maryland farmers to sell to large institutional customers. 

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NE SARE)

  • NESARE has farmer grants for demonstration and education projects. 2023 deadline 5pm EST on Nov. 14.


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

USDA Rural Development

  • Don't let the name fool you, urban farmers can be eligible for programs through USDA Rural Development. 
  • Value-Added Producer Grant. Provides funding "for planning activities or for working capital expenses related to producing and marketing a value-added agricultural product. Examples of planning activities include conducting feasibility studies and developing business plans for processing and marketing the proposed value-added product. Examples of working capital expenses include processing costs, marketing and advertising expenses, some inventory and salary expenses."
  • USDA Rural Energy for America grant “provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.”


USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA)


Horizon Farm Credit [NEW added 9/6/2023

  • [NEW added 9/6/2023] Horizon Farm Credit is primarily a cooperative lender, but they also occasionally offer seed grants. For example, in 2023 they launched a new Jump Start program for beginning farmers. 


Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (MDHCD)

  • The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) through the Neighborhood Business Works (NBW) program periodically offers Opportunity Zone Microgrants ranging from $50,000 to $100,000 to businesses that are expanding within an opportunity zone in Maryland​. When these microgrants are announced, they are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis, so if this is a program that is relevant to your interests, it is important to get on their email list. 

Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC)

Baltimore Community Foundation

Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation

  • Workforce training grant: Matching grant for 50% of employee training costs up to $1,000 per employee for businesses expanding in or relocating to Anne Arundel County. 
  • Arundel Community Reinvestment Fund: zero interest loans up to $100,000, to finance economic activity, investment and improvement in Anne Arundel County’s eleven Commercial Revitalization Districts, the area at inner West Street in Annapolis from Church Circle to Chinquapin Round Road and the county’s one state-designated Enterprise Zone is Brooklyn Park.
  • Inclusive Ventures Program: "The Inclusive Ventures Program (IVP) seeks to help small, minority-owned, woman-owned, and Veteran-owned businesses in Anne Arundel County succeed and grow by offering a robust menu of resources including business education and training, access to capital, and mentorship....  Graduates receive a certificate of completion and a $5,000 operational grant to be used for working capital."

American Heart Association

Maryland Horse Industry Board: 

  • [NEW 9/7/2023] Grants for up to $3,000 for projects that “develop the Maryland Horse Industry [through] research, education, and promotional activities.” 2023 deadline Oct 6.

Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive

  • Offers a grant to "support and build the collective resilience of food and land-justice based cooperatives; led by Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous People of Color."

Emergent Fund

  • [NEW 9/8/2023] Emergent Fund is a “rapid response fund created to explicitly support Black, Indigenous and People of Color-led (BIPOC) social justice movements.”

Liberated Capital

  • Food and Land Justice Fund is a "funding opportunity for Black farmers in the Southeast region of the United States who are working toward food justice." 

Grants relevant to larger organizations (municipalities, aggregators, large non-profits, schools, etc.)

Maryland Department of Agriculture

Maryland Agricultural and Resource-Based Industry Development Corporation (MARBIDCO)


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 

  • Local Food Promotion Program: "funds projects that develop, coordinate, and expand local and regional food businesses that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer to consumer marketing to increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products." 2023 deadline May 3.

  • Compost and Food Waste Reduction program: for projects "led by local governments or other eligible entities...that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans." 2023 deadline June 15.

  • Healthy Food Financing Initiative, Partnerships Program [NEW, updated 9/7/2023]: funds "regional, state, or local public-private partnerships" that "establish, expand, or deepen local, statewide, regional, and other Food Financing Programs (FFP) that serve food retailer and food enterprise projects in underserved areas." 2023 deadline Nov. 3.

  • "The Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) supports the development, coordination, and expansion of direct producer-to-consumer marketing; local and regional food markets and enterprises; and value-added agricultural products." 2023 deadline May 2.

  • [NEW 9/8/2023] Conservation Innovation Grants. Funds research and demonstration of innovative methods to conserve natural resources on farms. 2023 deadline Oct 30.

  • [NEW 9/8/2023] Regional Conservation Partnership Program. Funds public-private partnership projects that conserve natural resources on farms. 2023 deadline August 18.

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

  • Fellows program: A two-year professional development program for agricultural professionals working in outreach programs focused on farmer and rancher education. Participants go on farm study tours across the U.S., with travel funded by the fellowship. 2023 deadline May 8. 

United States Department of Energy

Grants relevant to schools