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

Does Urban Agriculture Improve Food Security?

Student Farming WOW Farms, Richmond CAcr

A newly published literature review in the Journal of Sustainability conducted by a team of Berkeley Food Institute researchers has found that while many studies cite the potential food security benefits of urban agriculture (UA), there are few that...

Rat Management in School and Community Gardens.

Rat trap management

It is important for food-safety reasons to manage rats in school and community gardens. Rats and other wildlife can carry a number of diseases that can be deposited in the form of urine and feces on fruit, vegetables, and in the soil. Rats can also...

Posted on Friday, July 13, 2018 at 6:08 PM

Urban Farm Story: Sacramento’s Yisrael Family Urban Farm

Chanowk Yisrael 4 14 18

Yisrael Family Urban Farm is located on a double lot in the South Oak Park neighborhood of Sacramento, at the home of owners Judith and Chanowk Yisrael. South Oak Park is one of Sacramento's underserved communities; it has been called a “food...

Posted on Friday, July 6, 2018 at 2:37 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Two UC graduate students chosen to assist UC ANR Global Food Initiative efforts

Melanie Colvin, left, and Maci Mueller.

Two University of California graduate students have been selected by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources as UC Global Food Initiative (GFI) fellows for 2018-19. Graduate students Melanie Colvin at UC Berkeley and Maci Mueller at UC Davis will work with...

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 3:43 PM

Dark Rover Ant: Current Status in California

Figure 1. Dark rover ant (Credit: Siavash Taravati, UC IPM)

[From the Fall 2018 issue of UC IPM's Green Bulletin newsletter] The dark rover ant (Brachymyrmex patagonicus) is an invasive species which is increasingly being noticed in Southern California. It is a nuisance species that invades structures as both...

Posted on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 at 10:42 AM

Updated Landscape Weed Info

Mallow (cheeseweed). [Credit: Jack Kelly Clark]

Controlling weeds can be challenging to landscape professionals or home gardeners since landscapes often include a mix of turfgrass, annual plants, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and trees. The newly revised publication Pest Notes: Weed Management in...

Posted on Wednesday, October 3, 2018 at 10:53 AM

Sticky mess on plants

Feeding by aphids created this sticky honeydew on crape myrtle leaves. (Credit: Belinda Messenger-Sikes)

Are you seeing cars, sidewalks, driveways, or other plants covered in sticky stuff, especially those under trees? This sticky substance, called honeydew, is produced by certain insects that excrete it when they feed on plants. Plant leaves look shiny and...

Posted on Monday, September 24, 2018 at 3:06 PM

What is a pesticide?

Pesticides on shelf. (Credit: Anne Schellman)

When you hear the term “pesticide,” what comes to mind? Do you understand what pesticides are and, more importantly, how to use them correctly? A pesticide is any material (natural or synthetic) used to control, prevent, kill, suppress, or...

Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 9:19 AM
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