Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture


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

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Life stages of the western blacklegged tick. [CA Dept Public Health]

May is Lyme Disease Awareness month, so what better time to tell you about the updated Pest Note: Lyme Disease in California. This updated publication, by authors Robert S. Lane and Anne Kjemtrup, contains new information on incidents of Lyme disease in...

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 10:42 AM

Inspiring youth leaders to cultivate health

Students practice culinary skills.

What are sixth-graders interested in these days? “Cooking!” “Growing food!” “Learning how to be healthier.” “Exercising.” “Meeting new friends!” These enthusiastic answers came from...

Posted on Tuesday, May 24, 2016 at 9:46 AM

Downy Mildew on Ice Plants

Healthy red apple ice plant. [H. Schenk]

[From the April-May 2016 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin] A downy mildew caused by the fungus Peronospora mesembryanthemi has recently been confirmed by the USDA-APHIS from a red apple ice plant (Aptenia cordifolia) sample collected in San Diego....

Posted on Thursday, May 19, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Tour of Urban Ag Sites in Sacramento, May 21

ag tour image

Register now for a youth-led bus tour of urban agriculture sites in Sacramento on Saturday, May 21, 2016. Youth from four urban agriculture projects in Sacramento will share their work and their stories with visitors at sites around the city....

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 9:18 PM

Heirloom tomatoes are a delicious treat and provide a market niche for small growers

Heirloom tomatoes are a farm-to-fork favorite.

In recent years, heirloom tomatoes have become a farm-to-table favorite. Some consumers are willing to pay a hefty price at trendy restaurants, farmers markets, roadside stands, and even local grocery stores for tomatoes with irregular shapes, vivid...

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2016 at 10:33 AM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu