Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture

Welcome!

Are you interested in starting an urban farm?  Seeking details on how to raise backyard chickens and bees? Looking for information on laws, zoning and regulations that relate to urban agriculture? We offer resources on small-scale production, including soil, planting, irrigation, pest management, and harvesting, as well as information on the business of farming, such as how to market urban farm products. 

After you explore the site, please complete our survey! We’d like to know if you found what you were looking for and hear your suggestions.

Benefits of urban agriculture
Urban agriculture can positively impact communities in many ways. It can improve access to healthy food, promote community development, and create jobs. A number of cities in California, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have recently updated municipal policies to facilitate urban agriculture, due to strong community interest. If you’d like to learn more about some documented impacts of urban agriculture, see Research.
 
Challenges of urban agriculture
Despite the benefits associated with urban agriculture, there are many challenges. Urban farmers routinely face issues related to zoning, soil, water access, and profitability, as a few examples. At the community level, noise and nuisance issues can come into play. This site is intended to share the research on both benefits and challenges, and best practices on how to address those as a farmer or local decision maker. 
 
Who we are
UC ANR is part of the nation’s land grant university system, with more than a century of experience providing research-based knowledge to California farmers. This site offers resources that we’ve identified as most useful for urban farmers and local decision makers and stakeholders. Additionally, we are identifying gaps where resources need to be developed. Our team includes more than 15 experts, ranging from UC farm advisors, to agricultural economists, to urban planners and policy makers.

WOW Farm, Richmond, CA below BART commuter line

What is urban agriculture?
It means different things to different people (See our working definition here). From backyard chicken-raising and beekeeping, to small-scale commercial farming on the edge of cities, urban agriculture is increasingly popular and is often in the news.

UC ANR Urban Agriculture Blog

The Case for Removing Weeds From Growing Areas

London Rocket Flowering Stem

One point I always make is that the sooner you control annual weeds, the better. This reduces crop-weed competition, along with a host of other issues caused by weeds (we'll save that for another blog). But the real key to forward-looking weed management...

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2:18 PM

Santa Clara County Considers Establishment of Urban Agriculture Incentive Zones

Non-profit group Garden to Table hopes that AB551 will allow it to start more urban farms like its Taylor Street Farm in San Jose.

Santa Clara County is among several California counties and cities now considering local implementation of AB 551, the Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone Act, which became state law in 2014. Once enacted at the local level, AB 551 offers a potential tax...

Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 10:18 AM

Production Places: Evaluating Communally-managed Urban Farms as Public Open Space

FIGURE 1 CommunallyManagedUrbanFarms

Communally-managed urban farms are one of many formal typologies of urban agriculture (UA) gaining popularity in U.S. cities. They are spatially distinct from the more common allotment farming forms (community gardens being the one of the most common...

Posted on Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 2:08 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Two Northern California Workshops for Retail Nursery and Garden Centers

Retail nursery employee and customer. [C. Reynolds]

Attend one of two Northern California Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM Workshops this January! UC IPM is offering two hands-on, train-the-trainer workshops designed especially for retail nursery and garden center employees, managers, owners, and...

Posted on Monday, November 28, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Seven tips for enjoying holiday meals

UC pro tips you can use to enhance holiday meals.

Before you gobble down that Thanksgiving turkey and pumpkin pie, take a moment to maximize your enjoyment. The University of California has experts on every topic imaginable, including food and the science of taste and sensory experience. Here are their...

Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 9:30 AM
  • Author: Alec Rosenberg

Citizens Concerned about Sudden Oak Death in San Luis Obispo County

From the ANR News Blog Central Coast residents, officials, ranchers and representatives of conservation organizations came out in force to a November UC Cooperative Extension meeting sounding an alarm about the recent detection of Sudden Oak Death (SOD)...

Posted on Tuesday, November 22, 2016 at 9:27 AM

Let's Talk Turkey!

wild turkeys in landscape. [K.Windbiel-Rojas]

When people think of Thanksgiving, they often think of spending time with family, expressing gratitude for the fall harvest and other things, and for many, turkey. Most people aren't thinking about pests, but UC IPM always is! The pests we are thinking...

Posted on Monday, November 21, 2016 at 2:33 PM

New life for tea in the San Joaquin Valley

A syrphid fly hovers over a blossom on a tea plant at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Fifty-five years ago, Thomas J. Lipton Inc. funded a tea study at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, which is piquing the interest of scientists today. For 18 years, researchers pampered and coaxed 41 tea clones to...

Posted on Friday, November 18, 2016 at 8:24 AM
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