“As Americans move to urban areas, conservation districts are adapting, with a majority of today’s conservation districts now providing urban technical assistance,” Past NACD President Brent Van Dyke said.
Okanogan CD and Palouse-Rock Lake CD were two of 20 conservation districts across 14 states to receive funding. NACD and NRCS established the Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Initiative in 2016 to help conservation districts and their partners provide much-needed technical assistance for agricultural conservation in developed or predominantly developing areas. Since July of 2016, NACD and NRCS have awarded three rounds of grants, totaling $4 million to 81 conservation district projects across 34 states.
“Every acre counts when it comes to the conservation puzzle, whether it’s on farmland or a vacant lot,” Van Dyke said. “Conservation districts have worked to create opportunities to better assist landowners regardless of landscape, and this year’s awards will help engage communities to become more involved as stewards of their land.”
Read the district’s project description, as well as the other awardees’ project descriptions, on NACD’s 2019 Urban Agriculture Conservation Grant Recipients webpage.
Okanogan CD Seeds to Sow, Kids to Grow: Enhancing School Gardens in Okanogan County
The Okanogan Conservation District in the state of Washington will provide leadership and technical assistance to two schools interested in developing garden education programs for their students. A coordinated effort will help develop the resources of time, money and expertise needed to support these programs. The district will lead this effort toward two outcomes: creating sustainable garden program plans at both schools and initiating a work group of community partners to guide project tasks and support the garden programs.
Palouse-Rock Lake CD Endicott, Wash., Community Garden
Located in a dryland agricultural oasis, the town of Endicott, Wash., lacks ready access to healthy produce and opportunities for technical assistance. The Palouse-Rock Lake Conservation District will provide an urban food-producing space that will also serve as a forum for technical assistance from the district and collaborating partners. In addition to establishing a community garden, the district will sponsor individuals in the Master Gardeners Program, create a bimonthly podcast and conduct urban agriculture conservation workshops/demonstrations.