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.

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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

Start Smarter Part 1: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Farming

Image of children with harvest

When I started farming, I thought I was going to be a fantastic farmer due to my business background, personal savings, maturity, family support, and work ethic. I did benefit from those things and am farming successfully now. However, I was woefully...

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 9:23 AM

Urban Farms: Seed Starting Diseases

Seedling on right has damping off disease. One on left is healthy.

It's beginning to look a lot like spring, so many small growers try to save some money by starting seeds in growing systems and then plant the transplants to get a jump on weeds and other pests like slugs that can decimate a direct-seeded crop. But...

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 8:37 AM

Are your birds safe from avian influenza?

41549 original

Are your birds safe from avian influenza? Take UC's biosecurity survey to see how you score Outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in January 2017 killed birds at commercial poultry farms and backyard flocks in the UK, China and South...

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 6:43 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Reduce Clutter to Reduce Pests

Female German cockroach with egg case. [J.K. Clark]

Most of us have clutter we've hidden away in closets, drawers, garages, or in other storage space. Although you may not have the time or energy to go through these excess “stuff” and cluttered areas, we have an incentive for you: pest...

Posted on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 9:38 AM

Beneficial Predator Spotlight: Lacewings

Green lacewing life cycle. [J.K. Clark]

Last week, we discussed some common beneficial predators that help control pests on garden and landscape plants. One such predator you might find, is a lacewing. In fact, you...

Posted on Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 7:00 AM

Retailers Attend IPM Workshops on Invasive Pests and More

Attendees from Retail IPM Workshop. [A. Schellman]

[From the May 2017 issue of the UC IPM Retail Newsletter] Retail nursery and garden center employees play an important role in communicating pest management information to gardeners and the public. The UC Statewide IPM Program (UC IPM) strives to help...

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2017 at 8:58 AM

Flies Spoiling Your Cherry Season?

Ripened cherry with sunken oviposition sites of spotted wing drosophila. [L. Strand]

As cherries begin to ripen on backyard fruit trees, you'll want to monitor the fruit for pests, especially an invasive species called the spotted wing drosophila (Drosophila suzukii). The spotted wing drosophila (SWD) is a new pest to California (since...

Posted on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at 1:19 PM

Beneficial Predators Fight Garden Pests

Lady beetle life cycle (clockwise) eggs, larva, pupa, adult.

You're probably familiar with lady beetles (aka lady bugs), common beneficial insect predators that prey on aphids and other soft-bodied insects. However, lady beetles are not the only beneficial predators that can be found in your garden and...

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 9:06 PM
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