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

Evaluating Regional Food Resilience in the San Francisco Bay Area

SF Bay Area Development Patterns

While the provision of clean water, removal of wastes, and infrastructure for other basic human necessities are considered in the planning of modern development in the United States, the provision of food is rarely a consideration. More often,...

Posted on Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 5:49 PM
  • Author: N. Claire Napawan, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
  • Author: Ellen Burke, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture California Polytechnic Institute, San Luis Obispo

August 19th is National Honey Bee Day: Dr. Elina NiƱo reminds us to help honey bees cope with pests

rooftopbeekeeping

National Honey Bee Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of every August. This year it falls on Saturday the 19th. If you use integrated pest management, or IPM, you are probably aware that it can solve pest problems and reduce the use of pesticides...

Posted on Thursday, August 17, 2017 at 1:02 PM
  • Author: Stephanie Parreira, UC Statewide IPM Program

Urban Farming and Water Conservation: A Way of Life on the City Farm

Raised Bed Irrigation - Treasure Island Job Corps Farm

Reyna Yagi (ryagi@ucanr.edu), Northern California Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator, University of California Cooperative Extension - Alameda and Contra Costa Counties It has been a banner year for water in California. The above-average...

Posted on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 1:45 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Winter Weeds

Chickweed leaves and flower. (Jack Kelly Clark)

Weeds can be a real nuisance in gardens and landscapes, and even during the colder winter months, some kinds of weeds continue to grow and thrive. These are called winter annual weeds. Most weeds are classified as annuals, biennials, or perennials....

Posted on Monday, December 4, 2017 at 1:51 PM

Visit mountain mandarin orchards for tasty treats

Highland

Nestled in the rolling foothills of Placer County, just northeast of Sacramento, are more than 35 beautiful small family farms growing mandarin oranges. The warm days and cool nights in Penryn, Newcastle, Loomis, Lincoln and Auburn make this area a...

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2017 at 9:34 AM

Speaking of Turkeys...

Wild turkeys foraging in an urban community. (Belinda Messenger-Sikes)

Many people this week are talking about turkeys. But not in the same way as us here at UC IPM. Wild turkey sightings have gone from being a rare occasion to becoming a common event in recent years, as their populations have exploded in some urban areas...

Posted on Tuesday, November 21, 2017 at 10:48 AM

Marsupials in your Backyard

Adult female opossum, with young on her back. (Alden M. Johnson, California Academy of Sciences)

Opossums are the only marsupial native to North America and are quite interesting animals. Female marsupials may be seen carrying their young in an abdominal pouch or sometimes on their back. But opossums can also be pests. This nocturnal animal can...

Posted on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 10:19 AM

Vibrant purple sweet potatoes are a healthful Thanksgiving surprise

The Stokes sweet potato, right, has better color than the L-14-15-P experimental cultivar.

Candied sweet potatoes – dripping with butter, brown sugar and pecans – or a casserole of mashed sweet potatoes smothered with toasted marshmallows are common sides on the Thanksgiving table. These rich dishes belie the true nature of sweet...

Posted on Monday, November 20, 2017 at 8:49 AM
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