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

Thankful for Beneficials

Jumping spider

Thanksgiving is a time to gather together with family and friends. The occasion is usually centered around a big meal followed by pumpkin pie, and hopefully some time to let each person share a list of what they are most grateful for that year. Here at...

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 2:03 PM

The science of sensory evaluation

Mouth-watering anticipation of holiday food is part of the science of sensory evaluation. (Photo: Pixabay.com)

Holidays fan the flames of our love affair with food. As soon as summer melts into fall, our thoughts leap ahead with mouth-watering anticipation to family gatherings around a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast with all the trimmings. Months before the...

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 at 8:37 AM

Rodent Awareness Week

House mouse. [J.K.Clark]

Did you know that this week (November 15-21) is Rodent Awareness Week? The goal of the week is to bring awareness about the risks that rodents can pose to your health and the problems they can cause to your home and garden. In and around the home,...

Posted on Friday, November 20, 2015 at 2:40 PM

New Seasonal Checklist to Help Combat Landscape Pests

Toyon shrub. [J.K.Clark]

UC IPM has a brand new resource called the Seasonal Landscape IPM Checklist (or SLIC). The checklist is a regional decision-making tool designed to help guide landscape professionals and home gardeners through a yearly list of activities to prevent,...

Posted on Tuesday, November 17, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Have a Happy Thanksgiving without unzipping

A typical Thanksgiving meal has more calories than many people need in a whole day. (Photo: Satya Murthy, Flickr)

For many of us, Thanksgiving is truly a feast, and we are preparing our appetites for large servings of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. In fact, the majority of people consume more than 2,000 calories in their Thanksgiving meal, including appetizer,...

Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu