Check here for the latest opportunities in grants and funding for urban agriculture projects in Chicago. If you have an opportunity to share, please send information to:

Michael Fields Agriculture Institute’s Grant Advising Program provides free grant writing assistance, including clarifying and articulating ideas, assessing which grant program fits needs, and crafting a high-quality proposal. Interested individuals and organizations can also be added to an e-mail list announcing new grant opportunities by making a request to

Funding Opportunities for Growers and Food System Work

AUA’s Capacity Building Grant seeks to contribute to the construction of a stronger and more equitable local food system in Chicagoland by funding farms which are working to expand and scale up their operations, as well as farms working toward stability and sustainability

Live Healthy Chicago seeks to distribute  community-based grants to organizations who are implementing COVID-19 response strategies in Chicago’s black and brown communities.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund – Purpose: Not specified in application portal. Grant and scholarship available.  Amount: varies Deadline: Scholarship May 14th, 2021 and Grant due October 19th, 2021

No Wrong Door Community Infrastructure Grants: Scaling Network Lead Entities – Purpose: The purpose of this initiative is to support the development and enhancement of Network Lead Entities (NLEs) which are providing key access functions within a community such as coordination of information and referral, screening, care coordination, care transitions, eligibility and enrollment, and person centered planning.

USDA grants

Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation For All: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)will invest up to $50 million in cooperative agreements to support historically underserved farmers and ranchers with climate-smart agriculture and forestry.  The Racial Justice and Equity Conservation Cooperative Agreements are available to entities and individuals for two-year projects that expand the delivery of conservation assistance to farmers who are beginning, limited resource, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers.   

CLIF Family Foundation: These grants support daily operating costs. Applications are reviewed three times a year; the deadlines are February 1June 1, and October 1. Grants awarded during one cycle will be announced at the beginning of the following cycle

People, Parks, and Power: This call for proposals seeks especially small and mid-sized urban communities most impacted by park and green space inequities to participate in People, Parks, and Power: A National Initiative for Green Space, Health Equity, and Racial Justice (P3)—a joint effort of RWJF and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, led and managed by Prevention Institute

Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) – BFRDP is a competitive grants program that provides funding for educational, training, and technical assistance programs to assist beginning farmers and ranchers across the United States and U.S. territories. For over a decade, this program has helped aspiring producers to launch careers in agriculture, and beginning producers to maintain and grow successful farm and ranch businesses. Amount: $50,000 – $600,000 Deadline: April 15, 2021 (for FY21 projects) and March 24, 2022 (for FY22 projects).

USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – Sustainable Agricultural Systems Deadline: 7/1/21.

EPA grants

Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving (EJCPS) Cooperative Agreement ProgramPurpose: provides financial assistance to eligible organizations working on or planning to work on projects to address local environmental and/or public health issues in their communities.  The program assists recipients in building collaborative partnerships with other stakeholders (e.g., local businesses and industry, local government, medical service providers, academia, etc.) to develop solutions that will significantly address environmental and/or public health issue(s) at the local level. Amount: $160,000 Deadline: May 7th, 2021 

Environmental Justice Small Grants Program Purpose: Support community-driven projects designed to engage, educate, and empower communities to better understand local environmental and public health issues and develop strategies for addressing those issues, building consensus in the community, and setting community priorities. Amount: Up to $50,000. Deadline: May 7th, 2021

2021 Request for Applicants for Sustainable Materials Management projects  Purpose:  Strategies for Preventing Food Loss and Waste Through Source Reduction and/or Food Rescue in Region 5:  In order to address these challenges, EPA is requesting applications for projects that use the top two strategies of the Food Waste Hierarchy (Source Reduction and Feeding Hungry People) either individually or in a combination, to prevent food loss and waste. Projects should build on the principles outlined in the Food Recovery Hierarchy and demonstrate progress to reaching EPA’s 2030 Food Loss and Waste Reduction goal. Amount: $30,00-$60,00 Deadline: June 1st, 11:59 pm (ET) 2021

Rolling Applications

The Awesome Foundation – Chicago Chapter has been funding awesomeness in the Windy City since the summer of 2011. They’ve funded everything from little free libraries and puppet shows to electron microscopes and a temporary mini golf course on Milwaukee Avenue. The Chicago trustees generally meet on the third Tuesday of every month to review proposals.

Network for Good Awards monthly grants to promote fundraising activities and capacity building that can lead to revenue sustainability to 501(c)3s in any industry. Average grants range in size from $1,000-$5,000. Application deadlines are the 15th of the month, non-profits are encouraged to re-apply monthly.

The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation provides in-kind donations of fruit trees, equipment, volunteer workers, and training to 501(c)3s, public schools, and government entities to create orchards in communal and public places.

Grassroots Exchange Fund grants to grassroots organizations working to promote environmental justice and social change. Priority will be given to small, community-based groups seeking to meet face-to-face with other grassroots organizations, to build collaborative campaigns, and to benefit from technical assistance opportunities.

Imperfect Produces Feed Change Fund provides grants up to $5,000 to nonprofit organizations whose work relates to their mission of eliminating food waste and building a better food system for everyone.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Pioneering Ideas: Exploring the Future to Build a Culture of Health grant is seeking proposals with innovative and intersectional ideas that create long term solutions for health equity.

Clif Bar Family Foundation provides grants to 501(c)3 organizations that meet this eligibility quiz that are working to protect natural resources, strengthen communities and the food system, and enhance public health. Priority is given to applicants that address the funding priorities from a holistic perspective. Applications are reviewed three times a year; the deadlines are the 1st of October, February and June.

The Seabury Foundation provides one time grants to organizations in Chicago with a focus on cultural and civic institutions, educational opportunities and conservation and sustainability. Letters of inquiry are accepted three times a year; September 15, January 15 and June 15.

State and Federal Grant Opportunities

SARE Youth Educator Grants are competitive grants up to $4,000 for educators to provide programming on sustainable agriculture for youth. Application Deadlines: Vary by program.

NCR-Sare Farmer Rancher Grant is a competitive grant that funds farmers and ranchers striving for agricultural sustainability.Proposal due in early December

USDA Community Prosperity resource matrix organizes funding opportunities available for rural and underserved communities. This resource guide includes technical, training and planning assistance as well as financial assistance.

USDA Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program Deadline: ongoing.

Open Enrollment Loan & Financing Opportunities

Kiva provides 0% interest loans of up to $10,000 to entrepreneurs, including urban farm businesses. To promote urban farmers’ access to capital, AUA is a proud Kiva Trustee, which means we help spread the word on these valuable resources and publicly vouch for urban farm entrepreneurs. Kiva trustees do not handle or disburse the loans. To learn more, please review the program overview, step-by-step guide to apply, and reach out to AUA’s Executive Director, Laura Calvert ( with any questions.

USDA Farm Storage Facility Loans provide up to $50,000 in low-interest financing to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store or process agricultural products. Most recently, these loans made available funding for refrigerated vehicles. Funding: Up to $500,000 per loan.

USDA Farm Service Agency Microloans provide up to $50,000 in financial assistance for small, beginning farmer, niche and non-traditional farm ownership or operations. Non-traditional farm operations can include truck farms, farms, direct marketing farmers, Community Supported Agriculture, restaurants and grocery stores, or those using hydroponic, aquaponics, organic, and/or vertical growing methods. Maximum of $50,000.

USDA EZ Guarantee Loans provides $100,000 to help beginning, small underserved, and family farmers and ranchers to purchase farmland or finance agricultural operations. The USDA also added a new category of lenders, including microlenders. Funding: Up to $100,000.

Whole Foods Micro-Producer Loan provides between $10,000 and $100,000 for expansion of farm operations, not to exceed 80% of total project cost. Existing vendor relationship with Whole Foods Market required.