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

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...

Smoke and ash from wildfire may have lingering impacts in food production

A summer of smoke and ash in many parts of California has raised questions about the safety of produce growing on farms and in the garden, eggs laid by chickens who peck around in ash-laden areas, and remediation needed to safely and effectively grow...

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 4:55 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Aphid-eating Insects

Aphids on roses (Credit: K Windbiel-Rojas)

“Aphids are really bad this year!” This is what we've been hearing on social media and from many home gardeners. Aphids can curl leaves, stunt plant growth, and make a mess by the sticky honeydew they exude. Some aphid species create galls...

Posted on Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 9:41 AM

Good Bug Scavenger Hunt for Picnic Day 2021

Adult convergent lady beetle. (Credit: Jack Kelly Clark)

  The annual Picnic Day celebration at UC Davis is going virtual! Most years, the UC IPM urban & community team participates by giving out ladybugs to kids and families at our educational booth to teach people about the “good...

Posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 4:26 PM

Fighting hunger and building planet health go hand in hand

NASA created a three-dimensional portrait of methane concentrations around the world. Methane is the second largest contributor to greenhouse gases warming the earth, after carbon dioxide.

University leaders, faculty and students from across the U.S. and around the world are working together to tackle a complex set of challenges that prevent millions of people from getting enough of the right foods. In March 2021, UC Davis, the UC Global...

Posted on Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at 9:06 AM

Bats: Friend or Foe?

Pallid bat in flight with grasshopper. (Credit: MD Tuttle)

Are bats good for the environment or are they pests? How about both? Almost all of the 25 species of bats in California eat lots of flying insects during their night flights, making them an important part of the ecosystem. But when they roost in...

Posted on Monday, April 5, 2021 at 2:31 PM

How do you feel about gene editing in livestock?

Cosmo, a bull calf was born in April 2020 at UC Davis. Scientists successfully genome-edited him as an embryo to produce more male offspring. Male cattle are more fuel-efficient than females and produce more meat with fewer cattle. Photo courtesy of Alison Van Eenennaam

Participate in a genome-editing webinar and survey April 17 The health and well-being of animals can be improved with genome-editing technology, but only if people trust and accept the methods. “A number of breeding methods, including...

Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 1:14 PM
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