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

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

San Francisco Establishes California’s First Urban Agriculture Incentive Zone

tenderloin peoples garden tomato Sergio Ruiz

On August 7, San Francisco officially became the first city in California to establish an urban agriculture incentive zone. Following passage of a law introduced by Supervisor David Chiu and unanimously supported by the Board of Supervisors and Mayor,...

Posted on Monday, August 18, 2014 at 3:40 PM

Selling at CA Certified Farmers Markets: First Steps for Urban Farmers

Farmers Market Credit Nicholas Efron-Cultivate LA

It's National Farmers Market Week! And here in California, we're celebrating and enjoying our 764 farmers markets-more than any other state. Since many of these markets are in cities, they are an option that urban farmers often consider...

Posted on Thursday, August 7, 2014 at 4:28 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Weekly food dispatch

California Healthy fast food coming to CaliforniaA pair of celebrity chefs plan to open healthy fast food restaurants in L.A. and San Francisco communities where there is limited access to affordable, healthy food options. “Don't tell me we...

Posted on Friday, August 29, 2014 at 8:52 AM

The Good Side of Pruning

Fig. 2. Anthracnose on sycamore twigs.

In the December 2013 issue of the Green Bulletin, we looked at “Pruning and Tree Physiology: The Bad and the Ugly” for pruning and maintaining ornamental trees as well as some pruning pitfalls. However, pruning can also be highly beneficial...

Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2014 at 10:46 AM

UC Davis tomatoes provide year-round healthful eating for college students

Chef Bob Walden, right, and Arnulfo Herrera, a cook, show off roasted tomatoes at UC Davis. (photo: Gregory Urquiaga / UC Davis)

Today's dorm food is far superior to the tasteless, over-processed foods of decades past. No more mystery meat or mushy vegetables. Campus dining services across the country are providing a diversity of fresher and healthier foods, much to the delight of...

Posted on Wednesday, August 27, 2014 at 11:11 AM

Managing Weeds Under Drought Conditions

Fig. 1. Some weeds thrive in drought conditions.

[From the August 2014 issue of the Green Bulletin, a newsletter for landscape and structural professionals] While one of the best methods to reduce weeds is to not water them, there are some that survive even in drought conditions (Fig. 1). As we...

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 1:00 PM

San Diego farmers: Help plan California Small Farm Conference

Attendees of the local planning meeting hear from CSFC President, Karen Rich Firestein.

Do you live or work in the San Diego area and have a passion for small farms? We need your connections and expertise to help plan the 28th California Small Farm Conference! The conference will be March 7 - 10, 2015 at the Marriott Mission Valley in San...

Posted on Tuesday, August 26, 2014 at 11:37 AM
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