Urban BIPOC Farms Mentoring Program

Project Overview

Project Type: On-Farm Research
Funds awarded in 2023: $29,966.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Kentucky Black Farmer Cooperative
Region: Southern
State: Kentucky
Principal Investigator:
Tiffany Bellfield
Kentucky Black Farmer Cooperative


Not commodity specific


  • Soil Management: soil quality/health

    Proposal abstract:

    Good soil management remains critical to continued agricultural success even after an urban farm has been put into production. Therefore, the proposed research will conduct community solutions for BIPOC urban farmers. The farm cooperators will research to eliminate traditional barriers that may have hindered a greater number of sustainable practices and organic soil build-up. This research will deliver technical support planning and equitable mentoring. The BIPOC urban farming communities will learn the following

    • Natural Resource Conservation Service Soil Science classification and education
    • Organic Crop Management
    • Have Access to Soil and Plant Analysis
    • Chemical Resistance Solutions
    • Less Pollution


    Many BIPOC urban farms have no knowledge or limited interaction with Natural Resource Conservation Service. Limited engagement from agriculture entities also limits Soil Science classification and education. For this project, we have included the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Services as a project cooperator to assist farmers in soil research and bridge a gap. This will also give BIPOC farmers a comprehension of soil and plant lab analysis and chemical resistance solutions. 

    We have included the Organic Association of Kentucky as a project cooperator to assist farmers in creating an organic soil management plan for BIPOC farmers with limited access to create natural organic barriers to reduce pollution that may affect soil and healthy plant life. 

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The project is a mentoring program that will conduct research and education for the BIPOC urban farm community in soil health management and various sustainable agriculture practices in Kentucky. The research aims to improve soil and crop health in BIPOC urban agriculture communities and provide education on the benefits of utilizing natural resources to increase sustainable agriculture and organic soil science.

    Workshops will evaluate the need and educate on the research variables, the benefits of organic elements added to soil to change the soil matter for healthy, sustainable farming, and what elements BIPOC farmers need to implement findings from the research for their urban farm to plan a sustainable soil management plant and crop production. There is a need to process adequate research to enrich organic soil variables and to increase existing sustainable practices. Participating agriculture cooperators will work and assist farm cooperators' in evaluating agriculture conditions.  

    Each participating urban farmer will designate a plot for research. The farms will begin the study by addressing common challenges with urban soil and soil containments. Next, the farms will learn the history of the area's soil to consult with the state's environmental agency and the Cooperative Extension office to determine soil tests to assess the soil's condition accurately. Samples will be collected in different depths, leading farmers to create urban soil science management plans to mentor BIPOC farmers. Finally, plant testing will be conducted to include in the soil science management plan to improve practices for existing sustainable urban farmers. The overall objective of the proposed solution is to promote soil biological activity by increasing organic soil carbon components, which is the preface for sustainable agriculture to enhance crop health.

    Farm cooperators will document their research, practice methods, and assistance from project cooperators. A quarterly report will be sent to the principal investigator from participating farmers.

    By implementing the above research, the intention of this project will provide urban BIPOC farmers with a broader agriculture spectrum and the knowledge of implementing new practices such as plant breeding. Plant breeding is productive, provides nutrition, and is adaptable to changing climates. Overall, the research will determine the importance of BIPOC urban farmers and how proactive research can contribute to diverse, sustainable agriculture.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.