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

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

Composting and Water Conservation

Composting

At this time of year, biodegradable organic matter such as tree and shrub leaves are often in big supply. Whether passively allowed to decompose or actively managed to speed up the composting process, and use the compost, we often turn to our backyard,...

Posted on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 12:03 PM
  • Author: Rob Bennaton
  • Author: Adapted from an article by the Alameda County Master Gardeners Help Desk

On-Farm Food Safety Study Looking for Volunteers

Chickens on Farm

A University of California-Davis research team is enrolling organic and conventional farms to participate in a research opportunity for small to medium size farms. The researchers are looking for volunteers to participate in the study to identify...

Posted on Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 11:07 AM
  • Author: Alda Pires

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

California Invasive Species Action Week

Giant reed invading a waterway. (Credit: Joseph M. DiTomaso)

Did you know that every 60 days, a new and potentially damaging invasive species enters California? California residents can help in the fight against invasive species by learning and participating next week (June 2-10) in the California Invasive...

Posted on Thursday, May 31, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Strawberry stands sell berries fresh from the field

Nathan Punh, left, talks with UCCE farm advisor Margaret Lloyd, who works with about 60 Mien farms in the Sacramento area.

Slugs, snails, ants, aphids, spider mites and inclement weather conspire against strawberry growers harvesting perfect red berries to sell. 

“Farming is hard work,” said...

Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at 2:09 PM

Nutgrass Can Drive You Nuts

Mature yellow nutsedge plant. (Credit: Jack Kelly Clark)

Nutgrass, also called nutsedge, could easily be one of the top 5 nuisance weeds gardeners deal with in the garden and landscape. While we don't know that for sure, we do know that nutsedge is a very challenging weed to control. Yellow and purple...

Posted on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 1:05 PM

A Sacramento coalition wants to serve 1 million healthy meals to children this summer

UC ANR's EFNEP program staffed a booth along with the UC Master Food Preserver Program at the Million Meals Summer picnic for Sacramento youth.

When school's out, many children who live in poverty no longer eat nutritious meals like they do during school as part of the free and reduced-cost school lunch program. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources' Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program...

Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 1:19 PM

Curling Leaves on Plants

Plant problem diagnostic tool menu.

If you are puzzled by curling leaves on plants in your garden or landscape, you may need to do some detective work to figure out the cause. Curling leaves can be caused by many problems, including insect damage, disease, abiotic disorders, or even...

Posted on Monday, May 21, 2018 at 1:16 PM
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