Micro-grant awarded to support neighborhood gardens

Grant one of dozens made possible through new PA Farm Bill

Earlier this year Rep. Innamorato visited the gardens and the volunteers who maintain them with Russell Redding, Pennsylvania's agriculture secretary.

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 3 – As communities large and small look to create sustainable, healthy environments for their residents, an award from a new round of state mico-grants will support neighborhood gardens in the triboro area of Millvale, Etna and Sharpsburg, state Rep. Sara Innamorato, D-Lawrenceville, announced today.

"Volunteering in my community garden was how I met my neighbors, put down roots, and became active locally,” Innamorato said. “We can create healthy, civically-engaged communities by investing in urban agriculture. These beautiful spaces foster connection, stewardship, and mutual care."

The grant, a $8,600 state Urban Agriculture Grant, was awarded to the Triboro Ecodistrict Partnership. It will be used to purchase supplies and seedling to support the partnership’s community gardens.

"The accessibility of healthy foods in our food desert community is an issue that affects all of us who live here, especially people without cars,” said Brittany Reno, the Sharpsburg Neighborhood Organization executive director. “This grant will allow the Sharpsburg Community Garden to expand its growing capacity into a new community market garden which, in partnership with the Gardens of Millvale and the Etna Community Garden, will be able to sell produce affordably to local residents and businesses. Working collaboratively with our neighbors will allow the gardens to maximize their efficiencies in growing different types of produce, which will help immensely in closing the gaps in our local food system in a sustainable way." 

"The Gardens of Millvale is at the center of Millvale's strategy to reverse its status as a food desert. The support from the state will allow for the Gardens to build stronger partnerships with our neighboring communities as a way to help it take the next step in its growth and development,” said Zaheen Hussain, Millvale sustainability coordinator director of sustainability at New Sun Rising. “As an all-volunteer organization, being able to utilize state investment can help it start to think about infrastructure that can increase revenue generation while also providing healthy produce for those in our communities that need it the most.”

The grant was part of a new grant program made possible by the new PA Farm Bill which was signed into law this July by Gov. Tom Wolf.

“Urban agriculture is about more than just growing food; it’s about growing our communities and our economy, it’s about increasing quality of life,” Wolf said. “In addition to urban gardens providing places to work and learn, they aggregate fresh, local products to combat food insecurity and improve access to healthy, nutritious food.”

For more information on the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, visit agriculture.pa.gov.