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

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

Backyard livestock and peri-urban agriculture


The urbanization of society has long since pushed people far away from producing their own agricultural products and into relying on imported goods from rural areas. However, there is an increasing trend in recent years to have livestock and poultry in...

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Nearly 70% of private label avocado oil rancid or mixed with other oils

A UC Davis study finds most private label avocado oils are either rancid or adulterated. No enforceable standards for avocado oil exist yet. Photo from Getty Images

Researchers identify key markers to help professional retail buyers choose authentic products Avocado oil has become a popular choice for many people in recent years because of its heart-healthy benefits and versatility in cooking. However, not all...

Posted on Wednesday, May 24, 2023 at 9:45 AM
  • Author: Tiffany Dobbyn, UC Davis

Invasive Pest Spotlight: Emerald Ash Borer

Two adult emerald ash borers on a leaf. Photo by Stephen Ausmus, USDA.

The invasive pest spotlight focuses on emerging or potential invasive pests in California. In this issue we are covering the emerald ash borer. Emerald Ash Borer Facts The emerald ash borer is a small (roughly 3/8 to 5/8 inches long) beetle with...

Posted on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 at 9:22 AM

Weird Worms: Land Planaria

Shovel-headed garden worm, Bipalium kewense. Photo by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State, Bugwood.org

What is that weird wormlike thing in your garden? A slug? An earthworm? It may be neither—it it might be a land planarian. Land planaria are also called terrestrial flatworms and hammerhead worms. They are often colorful, such as the blue garden...

Posted on Monday, May 22, 2023 at 2:33 PM

Look Out for the Jumping Worm!

A jumping worm on top of its coffee-ground like castings. Photo by M. Bertone, NCSU.

The jumping worm, Amynthas agrestis, is an invasive earthworm capable of harming native forests that has been recently reported in some areas of California. This pest devours leaf litter and other organic matter, changing soil texture and nutrient...

Posted on Thursday, May 18, 2023 at 10:46 AM

Winter atmospheric rivers gave pathogens, diseases path to infect crops

UC Cooperative Extension specialist Florent Trouillas examines a cherry tree in Lodi for potential pathogens. Photo by Jael Mackendorf, UC Davis

Outbreaks similar to El Niño-influenced issues of the...

Posted on Monday, May 15, 2023 at 1:15 PM
  • Author: Emily C. Dooley, UC Davis
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