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 and School Gardens in Marin County

School Garden - ANRphoto SPaisley

Marin County's waitlists for community gardens can be up to four years long. Exacerbating that problem is the fact that it can take up to seven years to launch a new garden. Clearly, the demand for community gardening is not being met in the county.*...

Posted on Tuesday, November 25, 2014 at 10:16 AM

Cultivating urban farms through community support

Baltimore Farm

If you were to start an urban farm in a neighborhood, what would be your first step? Obtaining a lease for the land? Testing for soil contamination? Clearing out the accumulated trash? These are important steps. But an additional step should be...

Posted on Thursday, November 6, 2014 at 11:26 AM
  • Author: Melissa Poulsen, MPH (PhD Candidate, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

Urban gardens contribute significantly to vegetable intake and food security of residents in San Jose

San Francisco TI Job Corps Farm - Purple Cauliflower

A high vegetable intake is associated with a better quality diet that is lower in calories and higher in fiber, and yet, access to fresh vegetables is a major public health problem in the United States. As a result, national health surveys indicate...

Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2014 at 4:39 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Excluding Migratory Birds from Buildings

Figure 1. Damage caused by cliff swallows and their nests.

[Article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of the Retail Nursery & Garden Center IPM News] Although urban areas are important habitats for migrating birds, birds can also quickly become a nuisance or economic issue when they begin...

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Five ways NOT to poison friends and family during the holidays

Guacamole and salsa shouldn't be left out for longer than 2 hours.

‘Tis the season for gathering with friends and family and eating. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus for the rest of us, many of us invite people to our homes during the holidays and leave food out to graze. Leaving food...

Posted on Wednesday, December 17, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Job openings with UC IPM

UC IPM home page

Want to be a part of the University of California Division Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program? Now is the time to apply! The UC IPM Urban & Community team has two position vacancies currently...

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Food Safety Modernization Act Comments Due December 15, 2014

Table A

The Food Safety Modernization Act In late September, 2014, the FDA released a modified set of draft regulations for the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA) Produce Rule and the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule; they had been revised...

Posted on Wednesday, December 10, 2014 at 5:34 PM
  • Author: Shermain Hardesty

Taste a colorful rainbow of citrus at UC research facility

Hundreds of different citrus varieties are available for tasting at last year's citrus tasting event.

The UC citrus research center swings open its doors this week to give farmers and the public the opportunity to view and taste dozens of mandarin varieties - which in recent years have emerged as Americans' favorite citrus – as well as sweet...

Posted on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM
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