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

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

Flies are Pollinators!

Adult syrphid fly [J.K.Clark]

Will all the pollinators please stand up! Or do a fly-by like the Blue Angels or a crawl-by like babies competing in a diaper derby. Bees--there are more than 4000 of them in North America--are the main pollinators, but don't overlook butterflies,...

Posted on Thursday, October 8, 2015 at 1:39 PM
  • Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey

Sudden Oak Death Moving to Urban Areas; 3 Steps to Protect Oaks

Doug Schmidt, standing, and Matteo Garbeletto examine a bay laurel on the UC Berkeley campus.

Drought is decreasing but not defeating the pathogen that causes sudden oak death, according to a citizen science-assisted survey conducted this spring by a UC Agriculture and Natural Resources forest pathologist. Results of the 2015 Sudden Oak Death...

Posted on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 10:04 PM

It's time to get serious about food waste

Poster from the collection of the Museum of Ventura County. (Credit: Aysen Tan)

Here's my take on food waste. It goes back in part to lessons I've learned from studying World War I, when the American government set food conservation goals (along with goals for local food production via Liberty - later Victory - Gardens). I'm a big...

Posted on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 11:01 AM

Fostering changes one #healthyselfie at a time

Pictured above are (clockwise, from upper left) Brenda, Cheyenne and Mercedes who showcase their #healthyselfie with goals for food safety, eating more leafy greens and being more physically active.

A group of participants in the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education program will graduate next week ready to use the knowledge and skills they have acquired to make healthy choices for themselves and their families. Let's find out what healthy changes...

Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 at 7:54 AM

UC IPM's urban program now on Facebook!


UC IPM's Urban and Community Program is now on Facebook! 'Like' us so you can be updated about new and updated resources, helpful tools, news stories, and other useful information to help manage pests around homes, gardens, landscapes, and...

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2015 at 10:35 AM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu