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

Now Hiring: Pests, Pesticides & IPM Project Coordinator

Pests, Pesticides, and IPM

The University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is seeking a Project Coordinator (Academic Coordinator II) to provide scientific and administrative leadership for a CDPR/UC IPM project while maintaining the day-to-day...

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 12:53 PM

How to make something sweet even sweeter

Honey bees in the process of making honey. This photo was taken through a bee observation hive. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Honey, they say, is the "soul of a field of flowers." It's more than that if you're a beekeeper. It's your pride and joy. Whether beekeeping is your livelihood, your leisure activity, or something you do to help the declining bee population, that...

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 10:15 AM

Solutions to Top 5 Tomato Plant Problems

Tomato leaf roll. [R. Wallace agrilife.org]

From the UC Master Gardener Statewide Blog The tomato is one of the most versatile and rewarding plants to grow in a summer edible garden. According to a 2014 study by the National Gardening Association, 86 percent of homes with vegetable gardens grow...

Posted on Friday, July 15, 2016 at 3:23 PM

Economic Impact of Local Food Marketing in the Sacramento Region

Sacramento region counties

Consumers often say that they buy locally produced foods because they want to support their local economy. Our newly released report confirms that buying locally produced foods does support the local economy. Our University of California Cooperative...

Posted on Thursday, July 14, 2016 at 3:51 PM
  • Author: Shermain Hardesty

Tackling childhood obesity: A systems change approach

Murals in schools visually reinforce key healthy lifestyle messages. The above mural is at Sierra House Elementary School in Lake Tahoe.

On paper, the charge was clear: launch a statewide effort to integrate the nutrition education programs of USDA SNAP-Ed funded partners. Address childhood obesity and food insecurity holistically, yet specifically. Do this through policy, systems and...

Posted on Wednesday, July 13, 2016 at 8:30 AM
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