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Home > Grants, Loans & Financing > Grant Opportunities > AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant > Urban Ag Q&A

AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant Questions & Answers


  1. When would funds be awarded?
    Expenses may not be incurred until after a grant contract has been fully executed. Successful applicants should anticipate having contracts available to them around June 1, 2018. Once the grant contract has been fully executed the grantee will receive their approved award advance, if applicable. The remaining award balance will be reimbursed after the project is completed to the State’s satisfaction.
  2. How long would the funding cycle be?
    All expenses must be incurred and paid for by September 30, 2019; applicants may request an extension until June 30, 2021 for approval by the State.
  3. Are grants eligible for renewal, or is it a one-time award?
    This is a one-time award.
  4. Would it be possible to receive funding through this grant opportunity to produce a series of urban agriculture focused educational videos?
    Yes. The production and distribution of urban agriculture focused videos would be eligible for the grant. The videos must be focused on furthering urban youth agricultural education or urban agriculture community development in eligible areas as defined in the RFP.
  5. The RFP is worded where we choose the over 10,000 population OR the 5,000-10,000 where the population meets the income and/or cultural requirements. Is there a way to indicate for those in locations over 10,000 that our demographics also meet the poverty and communities of color prioritization?
    There is no direct question in the RFP that will allow you to indicate that your project is not only located in a city with a population over 10,000 but also meets the smaller population income and/or cultural requirements. If you would like to indicate that your project will impact the underserved populations as addressed in the smaller population requirements, you may do so in the application’s narrative questions.
  6. We are a nonprofit organization providing agriculture education to more than a dozen schools in the Twin Cities. Can multiple of these partner schools write our organization into their AGRI grant proposals?
    Yes, multiple partner schools are allowed to write your organization into their AGRI grant proposals as long as those schools are located in or serve eligible locations as defined by the RFP.
  7. Will requests be declined if the MDA can't fund the full amount of the request or will the MDA potentially provide less than the full grant request?
    The 2018 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant review committee will evaluate and recommend which proposals will be awarded full funding. It will then be up to the review committee to recommend if any proposals will be awarded partial funding. The Commissioner of Agriculture will have the final say on how funds are awarded for the 2018 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.
  8. Am I eligible to apply for grant money to increase production levels for my start-up farm operation to fill demand from larger cities?
    This project would not be eligible for the 2018 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.
  9. Can grant money be requested for livestock purchasing?
    There are no grant funds available from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that would allow for the purchasing of livestock.
  10. Can grant money be requested for feed expenses until like livestock reaches production age?
    There are no grant funds available from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture that would allow for the purchasing of feed for livestock.
  11. I am looking into a startup retail food business that would utilize foods produced from local farmers, bakers, etc. Can I apply for the Urban Agriculture grant?
    You would not be eligible to receive funds to start a retail food business through the 2018 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.
  12. Is there any issue with applying for two grants from two separate MDA grant programs?
    There is no issue with applying for multiple grant programs through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
  13. Would a non-profit partnering with an organization to provide garden kits and educational support to teach local children how to grow their own produce be an eligible grant project?
    Yes, this project would be eligible to apply for the 2018 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program as long as it was located in or served children located in eligible locations as defined by the RFP.
  14. Can we include administrative costs in the grant proposal?
    Administrative costs would be considered to be indirect costs which are listed as an ineligible expense for this grant program. All project expenses must directly support the goals of promoting urban youth agricultural education and/or urban agriculture community development.
  15. What would be the typical award size for distributing the funds?
    The minimum grant award is $2,500 and the maximum grant award is $50,000.
  16. Do you expect to have another grant cycle later this year? Or next spring?
    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture expects to offer funding through the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program at least two times. Currently applications are being accepted for the 2018 grant program. We will be offering the program again during 2019.
  17. Our organization is interested in completing a project with both youth education and community development components; should we submit two separate applications for this project?
    While not required, if you were to submit two separate proposals for urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development, the sum of the grant requests from your organization and/or for your project could not exceed the annual maximum award of $50,000.
  18. Do you have a sense of how competitive this opportunity is in the first year?
    Similar to all of the AGRI grant programs we expect this round of proposals to be very competitive due to community interest and the amount of funding available.
  19. Our project involves seeds that will need to be in the ground before June 1st – would we be able to plant these seeds before June 1st without violating the MDA grant requirement that work on our project not begin before we receive official notice of grant decisions?
    You are not eligible to receive any reimbursement for expenses incurred prior to the full execution of the grant contract. You are allowed to plant your seeds prior to June 1st however they will not be eligible for reimbursement.
  20. Do we need to get two bids if our estimated costs are under $10,000?
    You are not required to get bids if your estimated costs are under $10,000. Bids are only required if you are expecting any materials or services to cost more than $10,000.
  21. We couldn't find our materials at the organizations on the target vendor lists; could some of our bids come from larger chain stores?
    If you are unable to find your materials at the organizations on the targeted vendor lists you are allowed to seek bids from other organizations. We just ask that you avoid vendors who are on the suspended/debarred list in Minnesota.
  22. What are the requirements for Community Partners?
    It is up to the applicant to determine what they define as a Community Partner.
  23. Our project involves the utilization of a site for which we are not the property owner, however we have gotten permission to use the site from the property owner. What documentation should we include in the grant proposal to explain/verify this agreement?
    The RFP does not prescribe any specific documentation to confirm an agreement between a property owner and an applicant. However, a letter of support from the property owner(s) would enhance the quality of the proposal.
  24. Are tribal communities required to meet the eligibility qualification of, "at least 10% of the population is living at or below 200% of the poverty line?"
    Projects serving tribal communities located within the boundaries of federally recognized tribal land are eligible regardless of population size - and are not required to meet the additional eligibility requirements of having at least 10% of the population living at or below 200% of the poverty line.
  25. How does the MDA view or define “urban agriculture community development”?
    The Minnesota Department of Agriculture does not have a specific definition of “urban agriculture community development.” The language of “urban youth agricultural education and urban agriculture community development” was provided in the statute that legislated this grant program. It is up to the applicant to determine if they feel their project meets that criteria.
  26. Are lunch/ food costs an appropriate budget item as it doesn't fall under "equipment" or "staff?"

    Food and lunch costs are an eligible expense for this grant as long as they are reasonable and directly related to the project.
  27. Can equipment include items like garden tools (rakes, shovels, and gloves), gardening supplies (tomato cages, seeds, mulch, stakes, twine, etc.) and small gardening equipment like garden cart, hose, sprinkler, etc.?

    Yes, equipment such as gardening tools, gardening supplies, and small gardening equipment are eligible expenses for this grant program.
  28. Can staff time be invoiced for preparing and delivering gardening lessons?

    Yes, staff time for project activities is an eligible expense for this grant program.
  29. Can consultant funds be used to have a professional deliver some of the curriculum to the children?

    Yes, consultant funds are an eligible expense for this grant program.
  30. Can I request funds through this grant to support an eligible project with a total cost over $50,000?

    Yes, you are allowed to request grant funds to support an eligible project no matter the total cost of the project.
  31. We are interested in applying for funds to reimburse trained young adults to work on our urban farm. Additionally, funds would go to weekly classes for the community at the farm.

    While not outlined as an ineligible expense if you are planning to apply for funding to reimburse staff for their work you will need to clearly demonstrate your organization’s capacity to sustain the project after the grant funding has concluded. Funds to support weekly classes for the community would be eligible as long as the classes offered directly support the goals of the grant program.
  32. For the district information requested: is it where our organization provides services? We provide direct services to many districts. Or are you looking for the district where we are physically based? Or, are you looking for the districts where our grant activities will take place?

    You should select the district in which your organization is located and the districts in which your organization will provide services through your grant proposal.
  33. We have five letters of support! Is there any way we could include all of them (perhaps the extra two via email)? Or is it only possible to include three in our submission?

    You can include as many letters of support as you so choose. To upload more than three letters of support we recommend combining the documents into one file such as a pdf and uploading it to your application.
  34. What if some of the funds we are requesting fit in line with the objective, but other line items do not - would we get a partial grant or would it be denied entirely?

    In your budget, only include the projected expenses that will be eligible for this grant. In the Investment section, you might want to talk about those ineligible expenses to demonstrate your organization’s commitment to the project. It will be up to the review committee and the Commissioner of Agriculture to determine if they would like to fund proposals partially or in their entirety.
  35. What if pricing changes after grant submission?

    We understand that the pricing of some items will change between the time of application and the time of purchase. You will be reimbursed based on the cost of the items at the time of purchase, within reason. You will not be eligible for reimbursement beyond your total grant award which will be determined based on the budget you submit with your proposal.
  36. Must we use the suppliers we listed, or may we look at other sources?

    If you are unable to find your materials at the organizations on the targeted vendor lists you are allowed to seek bids from other organizations. We just ask that you avoid vendors who are on the suspended/debarred list in Minnesota.
  37. What is the turnaround time for decision making on the grant? We're trying to coordinate planning and knowing whether we are awarded a grant would help with our budgeting.

    Applicants, both successful and unsuccessful, will be notified in writing approximately six to eight weeks following the proposal deadline.
  38. How many letters of support are required for the AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant?

    At least one letter of support is required to submit a proposal for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant. Applicants with multiple letters of support are more than welcome to include additional letters along with their proposal. The online application has room for three documents under the Letters of Support heading. If you have more than three letters of support we recommend combining multiple letters into one document such as a pdf before uploading.

As we receive additional questions about this opportunity, we will post the questions and their answers on this Q&A page.


MDA Contact

Erin Connell, State Program Administrator
651-201-6456
erin.connell@state.mn.us