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

National Mosquito Control Awareness Week

Aedes aegypti mosquito. [USDA]

This week is National Mosquito Control Awareness Week (June 26-July 2nd). The goal of the campaign is to remind people to protect themselves against mosquitoes especially in the summer months.

In the past, information about...

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 3:40 PM

Keep your 'Fourth' independent of food safety issues

It's barbecue season! Remember food safety. (Photo: USDA)

Happy Fourth of July! It's time to get your barbecues grilling, and your potlucks and pool parties started. So, Independence Day is also a great time to remember to keep “free and independent” of foodborne illnesses all year long. Food...

Posted on Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 9:43 AM
  • Author: Teresa O'Conner, assistant editor, UC Food Observer, toconnor@ucop.edu

Protecting pollinators around the home and garden

Adult honey bee.

In observance of National Pollinator Week, we thought we'd share how you can manage pests around your home, garden, and landscape and still protect pollinators. Natural enemies (predators, parasites, and pathogens) reduce pest populations and help...

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2016 at 10:52 AM

As Americans struggle with obesity and diabetes, help is on the way

Introduction of new nutrition facts labels will provide more information to consumers.

The iconic black-and-white Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods in the U.S. is getting its first makeover in two decades. The federal government's decision last month to update the food label means that for the first time, beginning in 2018,...

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2016 at 8:09 AM
  • Author: Alec Rosenberg

Leaffooted Plant Bug

Adult leaffooted bugs. [D.R. Haviland]

If you've noticed some odd-looking bugs in your garden or landscape recently, you might have leaffooted bugs. These medium to large sized insects feed on certain fruits, fruiting vegetables, nuts and ornamental plants. Life Cycle Adult females can lay...

Posted on Friday, June 17, 2016 at 9:29 AM
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