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

Innovative Programs in the San Francisco North Bay Help Urban Farmers and Backyard Gardeners Legally Sell Their Harvest

Produce Flowers JVanSoelen 9-10-14

Many urban farmers and gardeners are not aware that in order to legally sell their produce, they need to be an “approved source.” According to the California Retail Food Code (CalCode), "an approved source operates using current public...

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2014 at 11:17 AM

What exactly is IPM? - a conceptual framework for proponents and practitioners of urban agriculture

IPM Screenshot

Pests are an unavoidable part of growing plants or raising animals. Many times, pests are not considered until infestations/infections have become damaging. At such late stages, pesticides may be used to manage these pest issues. Pesticide...

Posted on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 2:50 PM
  • Author: Andrew M. Sutherland, Ph.D, BCE, UCCE Advisor, SF Bay Area Urban IPM

Community gardens help stretch food dollars

Weighing Harvest in San Jose Community Garden

Fresh fruits and vegetables are essential foods in a nutritious diet, but not everyone can afford or easily buy produce. As part of the local food movement, more and more people are growing food in neighborhood community gardens. While these gardeners...

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:40 AM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Farmers market prices compare well with the supermarket produce aisle

Farmers market prices are competitive with supermarkets.

Many shoppers believe they can buy cheaper produce at supermarkets than at local farmers markets. A new UC Cooperative Extension study dispels that common misperception. In Placer and Nevada counties, UCCE received a CDFA Specialty Block Grant to...

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 8:21 AM

Sighting swarming termites?

Western drywood termites.

After the subterranean termite, the western drywood termite, Incisitermes minor, is California's second most important termite pest. Drywood termites are difficult to detect. They live deep inside wood and except during periods when they swarm or when...

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 4:14 PM

Are Farmers' Market Prices Really More Expensive?

Price Graph-OG

Are Farmers' Market Prices Really More Expensive? That was one of the questions we set out to explore this year with the Eat Local Placer-Nevada project. Why are we concerned about cost when it comes to local produce? One of the goals of the Eat Local...

Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 11:34 AM

A disheartening new pest invades California vegetable gardens

Bagrada bugs feeding on a tomato. (Photo: Jennifer Evangelista, San Luis Obispo)

California gardeners harvesting their summer produce may encounter a new pest – the bagrada bug. The native of Africa made its first California appearance in Los Angeles County six years ago and has been moving eastward and northward ever...

Posted on Friday, September 12, 2014 at 9:28 AM

About that lemoncello

Open date

One of the hazards of contributing to a shared blog, is that one forgets to post. So in this case, while I said in my last post that we would re-visit the lemoncello in mid-May, here it is September.  Time flies. The lemoncello is a huge success,...

Posted on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 2:57 PM
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