Article - Agriculture
(a) There is an Urban Agriculture Grant Fund.
(b) The purpose of the Fund is to provide grants to nonprofit organizations in Baltimore City to implement the Program.
(c) The Secretary shall administer the Fund.
(d) (1) The Fund is a special, nonlapsing fund that is not subject to § 7–302 of the State Finance and Procurement Article.
(2) The State Treasurer shall hold the Fund separately, and the Comptroller shall account for the Fund.
(e) The Fund consists of:
(1) Money appropriated to the Fund under subsection (g) of this section; and
(2) Any other money from any other source accepted for the benefit of the Fund.
(f) In accordance with this subsection, the Fund shall be used to provide grants to nonprofit organizations that:
(1) Meet the qualifications established in § 2–2004 of this subtitle; and
(2) Distribute the grant money to urban agricultural producers in accordance with this subtitle.
(g) The Governor may include in the annual budget bill an appropriation to the Fund.
(h) (1) The Department shall adopt regulations, subject to the availability of money in the Fund, to provide grants under the Fund.
(2) The regulations shall:
(i) Establish a Review Board to implement:
1. A competitive grant application process that prioritizes applications that will accomplish the goals of the Urban Agriculture section of the 2019 Baltimore Sustainability Plan and historically disadvantaged urban farmers;
2. A system to fairly:
A. Evaluate each grant application; and
B. Award grants from money available in the Fund; and
3. A grant agreement to be used by the Review Board and grant recipients;
(ii) Require the Review Board to include members representing:
1. The Baltimore Office of Sustainability;
2. The Baltimore Development Corporation; and
3. The Department of Planning;
(iii) 1. Require that more than 75% of the Review Board be composed of staff representing an agency of Baltimore City; and
2. Require the remainder of the Review Board members to be appointed by the Department, based on the member’s ability to help achieve the purpose of the Program under § 2–2002(b) of this subtitle;
(iv) Require grant recipients to distribute at least 70% of the amount of the grant to urban agricultural producers to:
1. Secure real property;
2. Maintain safe, environmentally sustainable, and socially responsible practices; and
3. Support viable urban agriculture enterprises;
(v) Require that grant applications demonstrate a measurable impact on improving local food access or other community benefits;
(vi) Require at least 70% of the amount of each grant to be distributed to minority–owned or operated urban agricultural producers; and
(vii) Prohibit grant recipients from using more than 30% of the amount of the grant for operating expenses.
(3) In adopting regulations in accordance with this subsection, the Department shall seek and prioritize input from urban agriculture farms and farmer advocates.
(i) On or before October 15 each year, beginning in 2023 and each year thereafter, the Department shall submit a report to the Governor and, in accordance with § 2–1257 of the State Government Article, the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee and the House Appropriations Committee on the effectiveness of the funding provided under this section.