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

CA Youth Share Experiences with Urban Agriculture

Urban farmer Mia talks about crops at the Community Services Unlimited Expo Farm in South Los Angeles.

Urban agriculture provides an excellent opportunity to integrate community development and youth empowerment while sharing information about growing food in diverse urban settings. In 2015 and 2016, staff from UC SAREP and UC Cooperative Extension...

Posted on Friday, December 9, 2016 at 11:32 AM

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

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Managing Weedy Grasses

Fig 1. Large crabgrass. (Credit: Clyde Elmore)

[From the Spring issue of the UC IPM Retail Nursery & Garden Center News] “I hate crabgrass!” is a common lament I've heard from residents during my 35 years as a UCCE Weed Science Farm Advisor. However, four out of five times, the weed...

Posted on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Using Seaweed to Kill Argentine Ants

Fig 1. Argentine ants feeding on green or red hydrogels to demonstrate liquid bait uptake. (Credit: J-W Tay, UC Riverside)

[From the Spring issue of the UC IPM Green Bulletin]

Argentine ants can be a damaging ant pest species in...

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 8:00 PM

Growers get labor-saving ideas at UC Grape Day

Labor costs about 7 cents per vine for managing the “touchless” vineyard, compared to $1 in the conventional vineyard, says Kaan Kurtural, UC Cooperative Extension specialist.

Will machines replace the romance of the hand-cultivated wine grape vineyard? A “touchless” vineyard was among the latest research on labor shortages, weeds and pest management by UC...

Posted on Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 2:57 PM

Summer-it’s a time for swimming, BBQs, camping, and eating invasive species

If you've got a great recipe for invasive brown garden snail, the webiste Eat the Invaders wants to know! Don't bring snails and other animals into California for food. That's how the brown garden snail ended up here in the 1850's. (Credit: Jack Kelly Clark)

During California Invasive Species Action Week (June 2 – June 10), we highlighted several pests, but there are many more invasive species out there. Now that you know about them, share your knowledge of invasive species with others. And no matter...

Posted on Monday, June 18, 2018 at 9:14 AM

Vegetable Pest Book and Card Set on Sale!

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 9.56.26 AM

Now until June 17, you can purchase Pests of the Garden and Small Farm together with the Vegetable Pest Identification for Gardens and Small Farms and save a bundle! Use this link http://anrcatalog.ucanr.edu/Items.aspx?search=specials. For detailed...

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 1:32 PM
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