Nearly $7,500 to bolster urban agriculture in the Erie curriculum

Compliments prior funding under Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program

ERIE, May 12 – Erie students will benefit from hands-on lessons in urban agriculture, thanks to a $7,478 grant that will support the Erie City School District’s urban greenhouse and garden project, state Reps. Bob Merski and Pat Harkins, both D-Erie, announced today.

The lawmakers said the funding under the state Department of Agriculture’s Ag and Youth Program – the second set of urban agricultural grants to Erie this month – will teach highly practical lessons in an outdoor classroom setting.

“The past year has shown us the importance of equipping the next generation with skills that can empower residents in times of hardship and help our community be better prepared during emergencies and food shortages,” Merski said. “Securing this funding is going to enrich the Erie curriculum by including lessons in urban agriculture that teach these life-sustaining skills.”

Harkins said, “The funding awarded today is going to support the Erie City School District’s Urban Greenhouse and Garden Project, which gives kids hands-on experience in growing food. Lessons like that, which yield real-life results, are the most lasting and powerful ones we can provide because they teach kids self-sufficiency. They also plant a seed of interest that will lead some students into agriculture as a career.”

The 2021-22 Ag and Youth Program funded 57 projects, including 14 for matching reimbursement grant projects of up to $25,000 and 43 for direct non-matching grants of up to $7,500.

The Erie grant comes from the direct grant program, which provides youth organizations direct, non-matching grants of up to $7,500 to defray costs for education or workforce development seminars or field trips; and agricultural safety training.

More about the grants is available here.

Earlier this month, the SSJ Neighborhood Network in Erie was awarded $10,000 to support the organization’s project to convert two vacant parcels into an urban farm, and two Erie farm businesses were awarded nearly $5,000 for growing equipment and refrigeration. Those grants were awarded under the Urban Agriculture Infrastructure Grant Program. More on those grants is available here.