Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture


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.

WOW Farm, Richmond, CA below BART commuter line

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.

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.


UC ANR Urban Agriculture Blog

Grow Your Urban Agriculture Dreams with the CDFA Urban Agriculture Grant Program - Applications Open Until October 23, 2023!

The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Urban Agriculture Grant Program, 2023  is an exclusive and competitive funding opportunity designed to support and elevate agriculture in urban areas across California. This one-time grant...

Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 2:39 PM

Growing Food & Land Access/Security with Urban and Peri-Urban Farms on Faithlands

Interfaith Food and Farms Conference

On August 25th, UCCE's Urban Ag & Food Systems Program tabled, paneled and supported the 8th Annual Food, Faith and Farms Conference in San Rafael, CA, hosted by Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative. The national Faithlands Conference,...

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 2:54 PM

Upcoming Agroecological City Conference to Focus on Food Sovereignty, Food Justice

FFAR 2021 Instagram

What does it mean to build a just and sustainable Agroecological City? Over this past year, the pandemic, climate disruptions and ongoing harm caused by racial violence have challenged our urban communities and food systems in unprecedented ways....

Posted on Friday, February 5, 2021 at 2:35 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

New UC study estimates costs for growing coastal organic strawberries

About 13% of all strawberries produced on the Central Coast are organically grown. UC-bred Monterey variety strawberries shown.

A new study that can help growers and other readers estimate costs and potential returns for Central Coast organic strawberries was recently released by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension and the UC Davis Department of...

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 1:49 PM

A U.S.-China trade war would cost California farmers

If China’s Permanent Normal Trade Relations status were to be revoked, crops that rely heavily on China for exports, such as tree nuts, would be more severely impacted. Photo by Andy Li, Unsplash

Loss of China's preferred trade status could hurt crop, dairy and livestock exports The Biden administration recently announced large, increased tariff rates for Chinese electric vehicles, solar cells, semiconductors, and aluminum and steel...

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 9:40 AM
  • Author: Ria DeBiase, Communications Director, Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics

Maggots in your food waste bin?

A kitchen food waste bin. Photo by Lauren Fordyce, UC IPM.

Indoor food waste bins (also known as kitchen bins or compost bins) have become a popular addition to Californian homes. They are a great way to collect food scraps and divert food waste from landfills, but they can sometimes attract pest insects like...

Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2024 at 9:12 AM

Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week 2024

Adult emerald ash borer on a US penny for size comparison. Photo by Howard Russell, Michigan State University, Bugwood.org.

The emerald ash borer (EAB) may be beautiful, but it is the most destructive forest pest ever seen in North America. Hundreds of millions of ash trees across 36 states and 5 Canadian provinces have been killed by this invasive insect. Fortunately, EAB...

Posted on Monday, May 20, 2024 at 8:44 AM

What are “Good Bugs”?

Four syrphid flies around a poppy flower in a garden. Photo by Belinda Messenger-Sikes, UC IPM.

There are many types of “good bugs” commonly found in the garden or landscape. In integrated pest management (IPM) we refer to “good bugs” as “natural enemies” or “beneficial organisms”. Natural enemies can...

Posted on Tuesday, May 14, 2024 at 8:49 AM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu