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

Food safety in the Great Outdoors

Potato Salad

Summer's warm weather makes it a great season to spend some time outside, but it also means that there are some risks with the higher temperatures. There is a greater risk of food poisoning during the summer because of harmful bacteria that can grow in...

Posted on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 at 8:55 AM

Recently Passed Legislation Related to Direct Marketing and Food Safety

csa photo

I erroneously referred to requirements in some recently passed legislation related to direct marketing as "regulations". So I am posting an edited version of the blog. It also includes some additional information.   Recently Passed Legislation...

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 3:00 PM
  • Author: Shermain Hardesty

New research director at the Nutrition Policy Institute inspires positive change in human health

Children get UC CalFresh training.

"Not changing is risky," said Pat Crawford, the senior director of research for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) Nutrition Policy Institute. "The United States – along with Mexico – has the highest...

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 8:58 AM

Spring Monitoring for Turf Insects-- Info for Landscape Professionals

Figure 4 Masked chafer larvae (white grubs).

[From the May 2015 issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin] For landscape professionals: Turf areas, such as residential lawns, commercial landscape features, municipal rights-of-way, sports fields, and golf courses, can be challenging to manage since they...

Posted on Tuesday, May 19, 2015 at 12:22 PM

One-stop shopping for healthy food and nutrition education

A mini farm stand in front of Vang Pao Elementary School in Fresno offers farm-fresh produce to children and families.

For the rest of the school year, families can get farm-fresh fruit and vegetables at Vang Pao Elementary School in southeast Fresno on Thursdays when they pick up children or stop by after school. The site hosts a weekly farm market until June 4 plus...

Posted on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 7:46 AM
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