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

Are your birds safe from avian influenza?

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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

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

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Building trust in food systems – here and in Cambodia

UC Davis researcher Karen LeGrand with Thort Chuong, in front of another farmer's nethouse in Cambodia built after they helped connect scientists, farmers, and marketers with technologies from the Horticulture Innovation Lab.

What is the role of trust in our food system? Here in the United States, our trust in food is often implicit. We can generally trust that the fruits and vegetables we buy at a grocery store or farmers market are safe to eat — and we are often...

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 at 8:50 AM

It's Time to Spray for Peach Leaf Curl in Wet Winter Climates

Foliage damaged by peach leaf curl. [J.K.Clark]

Winter slows down many garden pest problems, but it's also a key time for gardeners to take actions to prevent certain pest problems that occur in the spring. One of the most important of these preventive practices is application of dormant treatments...

Posted on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 12:45 PM

Changes in breast milk sugars impact babies’ health and growth

UC research in The Gambia has revealed microbial changes in breast milk characteristics during the country's two distinct seasons - when food supplies differ significantly. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

When it comes to nursing moms and their babies, an elegant web of cause and effect connects climate, breast milk, gut microbes and infant health. That web was clearly illustrated by a recently published study involving 33 women and their babies in the...

Posted on Wednesday, February 8, 2017 at 8:33 AM

A super bowl of chili: Something to crow about

Evaluator John Vasquez Jr., (right foreground) talks to the Lil' Peppers. From left are  Elijah and Maleah Desmarais, and Jessie Means. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Life is just a bowl of…ch...no, not cherries! Chili! Make that chicken chili. When the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons square off at Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 5 in Houston, odds are that feathers will fly and football fans will...

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 11:38 AM

Mushrooms and Other Nuisance Fungi in Lawns

Newly emerged inky cap mushrooms, Coprinus comatus. [R.M.Davis]

Wet weather is favorable to mushrooms, which are sometimes called toadstools. Mushrooms are the visible reproductive (fruiting) structures of some types of fungi. Although the umbrella-shaped fruiting body is the most common and well known, mushrooms...

Posted on Monday, January 30, 2017 at 11:30 AM
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