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

Pines, Drought and Beetles

Figure 1. Tree roots often grow near the surface when soil is compacted, or when the only water available comes from shallow irrigation.

[From the August 2015 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin] Although pine trees are comparatively drought tolerant, there comes a point where even hardy trees become stressed by lack of water. Stressed pines frequently exhibit symptoms such as thin,...

Posted on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Nurturing culinary skills in 4-H

Julianna Payne's cupcakes were a big hit at the Solano County Fair. From left are Gloria Gonzalez, superintendent of McCormack Hall; Julianna Payne; Sharon Payne, assistant superintendent; and Angelica Gonzalez, staff. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey).

Many young adults entering the workforce know little about meal preparation. Not so for those enrolled in the foods and nutrition program in UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' (UC ANR) 4-H Youth Development Program. Youths as young as five learn...

Posted on Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at 8:10 PM

Bug Outbreaks in Kern County high desert

Immature bugs develop on native plants in the desert and migrate into urban areas as adults with wings. [Photo by D. Haviland]

Over the past few weeks there have been numerous reports of bug invasions near Ridgecrest, Inyokern, and other cities in the high desert of eastern Kern County, California.  Residents and business owners have reported large aggregations of bugs...

Posted on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 9:22 PM

How are you helping bees on Aug. 22, National Honey Bee Day?

Figure 1. Honey bee on tidytips. [K.K. Garvey]

August 22nd is National Honey Bee Day so we thought we'd repost one of our previous articles that discussed ways gardeners can help protect honey bees. Author: Dr. Eric Mussen, UC Cooperative Extension Apiculturist Most people have heard about the...

Posted on Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 3:28 PM

It's Time to Prune Apricot & Cherry Trees

Cluster of ripe apricots [J.K.Clark]

Although most fruit trees are pruned during the dormant season, in areas with wet winters, apricots and cherries should be pruned in late summer to allow time for the pruning wounds to close. Pruning apricots and cherries during the rainy season could...

Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 1:48 PM
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