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

The health impacts of sugary drinks

Refined sugar (Photo: Ann Filmer)

Americans consume nearly three times the recommended amount of sugar every day, and about half the U.S. population consumes sugary drinks on any given day. Excess sugar consumption contributes to obesity, tooth decay, early menses in girls, and chronic...

Posted on Tuesday, July 28, 2015 at 8:23 AM

IPM Pest and Weed Wheels Available for Purchase

Pest Wheels

The very popular IPM Pest and Weed Identifier Wheels are now available for purchase! The Pest Wheel helps the user identify and manage 12 common pests, including ants, snails, powdery mildew, and scale insects. The Weed Wheel covers 12 common garden and...

Posted on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 3:11 PM

UC Global Food Initiative has fast start in first year

The UC Global Food Initiative has been a galvanizing force for bringing people together in new collaborative efforts. Credit: Elena Zhukova

In its first year, the University of California's Global Food Initiative launched food security efforts on every campus, held statewide conferences on sustainable fisheries and food justice, and appointed more than 50 student fellows to pursue...

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 7:30 AM

The Eat Local Project - Making a Difference!

mkt38

Over the past three years, the Eat Local Project has been hard at work! Despite a vibrant local foods movement in Placer and Nevada Counties, only 2% of residents buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Funded in part by a California Department of...

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Encouraging students to eat their vegetables

Asparagus poster made by the student leaders

Which end of an asparagus do you eat?  I am not going to eat that, it's too spicy! Pink milk cartons (non-fat) are only for girls. These and many other questions and comments came from students and staff at schools in the Santa Maria-Bonita...

Posted on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 at 10:09 AM
  • Author: Shannon Klisch
  • Contributor: Lisa Paniagua
  • Contributor: Melissa LaFreniere
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