Urban Agriculture
University of California
Urban Agriculture

Welcome!

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.

UPCOMING EVENTS

UC ANR Urban Agriculture Blog

Backyard livestock and peri-urban agriculture

Sheep

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

Urban Farms, Food Safety, and Food System Resilience During COVID-19

Urban Farm Produce

As our world grapples with the containment of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), essential services including food provisioning remain vital to the health and well-being of our communities. Yet, many small farms are struggling as they face rapid decline...

Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 3:47 PM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

‘UC Wolfskill’ walnut will allow earlier harvest

“UC Wolfskill can be harvested 12 to 14 days earlier than Chandler and provides consistently light to extra light color,” says UC Davis breeder Chuck Leslie. Photo by Janine Hasey

UC Davis researchers have bred a new walnut variety designed to provide growers a way to harvest earlier and boost the harvest efficiency of California's $1.6 billion walnut industry. The new “UC Wolfskill” walnut has yield, quality...

Posted on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 10:33 AM
  • Author: Amy Quinton, UC Davis News and Media Relations

Californians get advice to stop bed bugs

Adult bed bugs are oval, wingless, about 1/5 inch long, and rusty red or mahogany in color. (Credit: Dong-Hwan Choe)

Bed bugs can hitch rides on secondhand furniture, luggage, backpacks and other personal items to invade homes and attack people. While we rest and sleep on sofas and beds, the insects come out to feed. They want to suck our blood. A new web-based,...

Posted on Wednesday, January 20, 2021 at 2:50 PM

Small-scale growers meet virtually to discuss organic agriculture

Lavender grower Carol Hamre spoke about her trials and successes regarding vertebrate pest control and drip irrigation.

Over 150 current and prospective organic growers gleaned practical information shared by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources experts at the “Introduction to Small-Scale Organic Agriculture” workshop held virtually on Dec. 15, 2020. While...

Posted on Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 7:04 PM

New avocado study outlines costs and returns of high-density plantings

For the high-density planting study, avocado trees were spaced 10’x10’ or 430 trees per acre. Traditional plantings of avocados are spaced 20’x15’ or 145 trees per acre. Photo by Ben Faber

Growers considering producing avocados in San Diego County with high-density plantings now have help to determine the economic feasibility. A new study on the costs and returns of establishing and producing avocados in San Diego County has been...

Posted on Monday, January 4, 2021 at 1:58 PM

Elders need food and family for the holidays

In his spare time, Max Fairbee volunteers to deliver food to elderly Alameda County residents.

In the U.S., the holiday season of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year seems to be a nonstop race to the end of the year. Gathering to exchange gifts and eat special food and bountiful meals are common ways we celebrate. But the...

Posted on Wednesday, December 23, 2020 at 12:56 PM
  • Author: Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County
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