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

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

Composting and Water Conservation

Composting

At this time of year, biodegradable organic matter such as tree and shrub leaves are often in big supply. Whether passively allowed to decompose or actively managed to speed up the composting process, and use the compost, we often turn to our backyard,...

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 12:03 PM
  • Author: Rob Bennaton
  • Author: Adapted from an article by the Alameda County Master Gardeners Help Desk

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

6 ways local officials can encourage urban farming

City Slicker Farms' community market farm in Oakland

We know that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is key to a healthful diet, but not everyone has ready access to a grocery store or can afford to buy fresh produce. One approach to the problem is to bring the farm closer to people's homes by making...

Posted on Monday, March 30, 2015 at 10:52 AM

Monkey bread: It's more fun than a barrel of....

Second-year 4-H'er Maya Farris, 9, of Vacaville, answers questions about her monkey bread display at the Solano County 4-H Presentation Day. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

The skills learned in the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources 4-H Youth Development program last a lifetime, but in the case of a really good, quick-and-easy recipe for Monkey Bread, the skills last but the bread doesn't. Okay, who ate the last piece?...

Posted on Friday, March 20, 2015 at 8:22 AM

Farmer Interview: Ashley Votaw from First Rain Farm

IMG 0733

What is something you are enjoying eating from your farm right now? We are still eating our potatoes from the 2014 crop, and we love potatoes! What is especially exciting is that we are getting the first of the goat's milk for the season. We are also...

Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 12:41 PM

Seven ways to eat green on St. Patrick's Day

Green leafy vegetables can be added to any smoothie ingredients.

Chugging green beer and savoring a green milk shake aren't the only ways to eat green on St. Patrick's Day. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) nutrition expert Patti Wooten Swanson has a plan for celebrating the holiday that revelers won't...

Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2015 at 6:41 AM

Tell the USDA that water should be first for thirst

UC ANR's Nutrition Policy Insitute is calling for the USDA to add water to MyPlate.

Nutrition scientists issued their findings to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last month on the proposed 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. During the open comment period, which ends...

Posted on Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 3:18 PM
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