Common questions about the AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant program are listed below. If you have questions that are not addressed in the FAQ, please email your question to the program administrator, Erin Connell at erin.connell@state.mn.us. Questions and answers will be added to the page as they are received.

What are is the matching requirement for this grant?
The AGRI Urban Agriculture Grant does not have an in-kind or cash match requirement. 

We receive regular in-kind donations due to the nature of our organization. Does this make us ineligible for this grant?
No, you are allowed to continue receiving your in-kind donations and still be eligible to apply for this grant program. However, you can not request reimbursement for any of the goods or services you receive as in-kind donations.

I noticed land rental and purchase is listed as an ineligible expense for this grant program. Would partnering with an organization who has access to land be allowable for this grant?
Yes, you are able to partner with organizations who have access to land. Grant funds would be unable to reimburse the organization for the use or rental of the land.

When would funds be awarded?
Expenses may not be incurred until after a grant contract has been fully executed. 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.

How long would the funding cycle be?
All expenses must be incurred and paid for by June 30, 2021; applicants may request an extension until December 31, 2021 for approval by the State.

Are grants eligible for renewal, or is it a one-time award?
This is a one-time award. Successful grantees are eligible to re-apply during future rounds.

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.

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 located in a city with a population over 10,000 and 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.

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.

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 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 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.

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 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.

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.

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.

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 2019 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.

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.

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 2019 AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program as long as it was located in or served children located in eligible locations as defined by the RFP.

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.

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.

Do you expect to have another grant cycle later this year? Or next spring?
There are funds allocated for two rounds of the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program during this biennium.

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.

Do you have a sense of how competitive this opportunity is in the second 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.

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.

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.

What are the requirements for Community Partners?
It is up to the applicant to determine what they define as a Community Partner.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

We have already started planning our project, ex. creating some schematic designs. Does this count as starting our project and make us ineligible?
General planning work such as schematic designs and quote gathering do not count as starting your project. The MDA considers your project started when you begin to make purchases for which you will request reimbursement. Any costs incurred prior to the notification of award and the signing of the contract are not eligible for reimbursement.

Could an event that draws and audience of 10,000 + people meet the eligibility requirement for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program?
No, an event that draws an audience of 10,000 + people does not meet the eligibility requirements for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program. In order to qualify for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program applicants must be located in or serve communities that meet one of the following criteria:

  • Cities with a population over 10,000, or
  • Cities with a population between 5,000 and 10,000, where at least of ten percent of the population is living at or below 200 percent of the poverty line and/or at least ten percent of the population is comprised of people of color and/or Native American tribal community members as determined by the United States Census Bureau, or
  • Located within the boundaries of federally recognized tribal land and serving tribal community members, regardless of population size.

Could multiple cities apply as one applicant?
Yes, multiple cities could collaborate on a project for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program. Each of the cities will still be required to meet one of the following location requirements for this grant program.

  • Cities with a population over 10,000, or
  • Cities with a population between 5,000 and 10,000, where at least of ten percent of the population is living at or below 200 percent of the poverty line and/or at least ten percent of the population is comprised of people of color and/or Native American tribal community members as determined by the United States Census Bureau, or
  • Located within the boundaries of federally recognized tribal land and serving tribal community members, regardless of population size.

I am an urban beekeeper. Could I apply for this grant to upgrade/repair a honey house (place to harvest honey) or to purchase beekeeping equipment?

A project focused on beekeeping would be eligible for an AGRI Urban Agriculture grant so long as it meets the other program requirements. Keep in mind all project expenses must directly support the goals of promoting urban youth agricultural education and/or urban agriculture community development.

What percentage of purchases does the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant reimburse?

The AGRI Urban Agriculture grant reimburses 100% of approved purchases with a maximum award of $50,000.

Can the extension request for funds be made in the initial application? Or is that a request only to be made if the grant is awarded?

Extension requests are only available to projects that have been awarded funding.

Are existing urban ag youth development organizations eligible for funding if they do not initiate new projects?

So long as the project meets the grant’s location requirements and supports urban youth agriculture education and/or urban agriculture community development it is eligible.

In the previous cycle, grant feedback was given that desired funding should have a more central focus on youth. Would a program coordinator for a new urban ag youth development program be a prioritized expense?

The priorities of the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program are the support of urban youth agriculture education and/or urban agriculture community development. It is up to the grant review committee to determine what proposals demonstrate those priorities.

Advertising and public relations is considered an ineligible expense. If a program coordinator is requested to be funded in the grant and is trying to recruit students for a new program (ex: posting on social media and putting flyers around high schools), would this expense still be eligible?

All expenses must directly support the program’s goals of promoting urban youth agriculture education and/or urban agriculture community development.

Would a program meeting for students that includes food as a tool for recruitment be considered an entertainment expense and therefore ineligible?

All expenses must directly support the program’s goals of promoting urban youth agriculture education and/or urban agriculture community development.

Would a program coordinator who supports students' fundraising for sustainability of a new program be considered an ineligible expense? ex: program coordinator is working with students who want to coordinate a bake sale or car wash to fundraise for their chapter.

Fundraising including financial campaigns, solicitation of gifts and bequests, and similar expenses incurred to raise capital or obtain contributions regardless of the purpose for which the funds will be used is an ineligible expense for the AGRI Urban Agriculture grant program.