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CDFA Urban Ag Program Grant Adds IE Region

For Release – Friday, September 29, 2023

From:  World Be Well Organization

Phone:  951-640-3868


Contact: Gurumantra Khalsa


Subject:  CDFA Urban Ag Program Grant Adds IE Region

The California Department of Food and Agriculture announced the addition of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties to the list of regions eligible to receive a Systems Builder Community-Based Block Grant. These block grants, worth up to $800,000, are targeted for urban and regional food systems planning.

A second tier of funding is also available. The Urban Agriculture Practitioner Grant is to directly fund urban agriculture projects, providing awards from $75,000 – $300,000 for eligible applicants.

Inland SoCal was not listed as a qualifying region when the grant was first announced. Gurumantra Khalsa of World Be Well and Seth Wilson of Healing Living Systems petitioned the CDFA to reconsider, bringing to their attention the inconsistency with their own criteria.

Inland SoCal is 1st in tribal populations, 2nd in disadvantaged communities (behind the seven-county Bay Area), 3rd in low-income residents, and 3rd in cities over 50,000 in population. Inland SoCal is the 12th largest metro statistical area in the U.S. and the fastest growing area in the State.

The CDFA made a rare and justified correction when they announced the inclusion of Inland SoCal, a region described by the Little Hoover Commission as historically under invested in. Philanthropy in Inland SoCal averages $31 per capita, while Orange County receives $139, Los Angeles $272 and the Bay Area $745.

“Initiated by listening to the needs of the Inland Empire community, the California Department of Food and Agriculture added San Bernadino and Riverside counties as areas eligible for funding through the 2023 Urban Agriculture Grant Program Track 1: The Systems Builder Community-Based Block Grant because they align with the requirements used to identify urban agriculture projects led by or serving priority populations,” stated Joshua Bingham, Public Information Officer II, CDFA.

The $600 million California Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) is another welcome regional investment. The lack of financial capital by necessity has strengthened regional social capital. This is demonstrated by network building and resource sharing which are attractive local assets for social impact investors. In addition, Inland SoCal regional CERF collaborative is the only region in the State that includes an Equity Council as a component of project approval.

“Our capacity as a region to connect and collaborate is the source of our collective wellbeing. Thrive Inland SoCal is reimagining community resilience and a regenerative economic future,” stated Gurumantra Khalsa, Executive Director, World Be Well Organization.

For more information contact Gurumantra Khalsa, 951-640-3868