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.

UPCOMING EVENTS

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

Start Smarter Part 2: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Farming

In my first Starting Smarter blog post, I talked about hands-on education, business planning, market research, and crop selection (Starting Smarter Part 1). I could write a book on what I didn't know when I started farming. In Part 2, I will summarize...

Posted on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 at 12:08 PM
  • Author: Aleta Barrett
  • County: UCCE Placer/Nevada

Start Smarter Part 1: Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Farming

Image of children with harvest

When I started farming, I thought I was going to be a fantastic farmer due to my business background, personal savings, maturity, family support, and work ethic. I did benefit from those things and am farming successfully now. However, I was woefully...

Posted on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at 9:23 AM
  • Author: Aleta Barrett
  • County: UCCE Placer/Nevada

Urban Farms: Seed Starting Diseases

Seedling on right has damping off disease. One on left is healthy.

It's beginning to look a lot like spring, so many small growers try to save some money by starting seeds in growing systems and then plant the transplants to get a jump on weeds and other pests like slugs that can decimate a direct-seeded crop. But...

Posted on Friday, April 21, 2017 at 8:37 AM

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

What Are Those Big White Bugs on Citrus Trees?

Figure 1. Mealybug colonies on citrus leaves. (Credit: Jack Kelly Clark, UCIPM)

[This post has been modified from the article originally published in the Fall 2018 issue of the Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM News.] As a home gardener, you may find big white bugs clinging to the twigs and...

Posted on Thursday, February 28, 2019 at 7:30 AM

How to Prevent Weeds in Landscapes

Mixed planting of woody and herbaceous perennials. (Credit: Petr Kosina, UCIPM)

[Originally published as "Managing Weeds in Landscapes" published in the Fall 2018 issue of the Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM News.] Nurseries and garden centers often sell a wide range of plants for use in gardens and landscapes. As a...

Posted on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 2:54 PM

U.S. honey industry contributes more than $4.7 billion to economy, according to Ag Issues Center report

In 2017, the honey industry employed more than 22,000 individuals across the U.S. in production, importation and packing jobs. (Photo: USDA)

The U.S. honey industry is thriving, according to a new study from the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (AIC). The research found that the U.S. honey industry in 2017 was responsible for more than 22,000 jobs and...

Posted on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 at 8:31 PM
  • Author: Kylie Banks, National Honey Board, Kylie.Banks@porternovelli.com, (310) 754-4126

Food policy councils are emerging as a model to address gaps in local policies

LAFPC farmersmarket-resolution

In a growing number of communities, food policy councils (also called “food system alliances”) have emerged to address gaps in local policies that focus on food. Most communities have transportation, housing or land use policies, but food...

Posted on Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 10:50 AM

What Do These Pesticide Terms Mean?

A retail shelf showing various pesticide containers. (Credit: Cheryl A. Reynolds)

[Originally published as “Pesticide Briefs: What Do These Terms Mean?” in the Fall 2018 issue of the Retail Nursery and Garden Center IPM News.] Last summer, we defined what a pesticide is and gave a few examples. Here, we...

Posted on Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 10:24 PM
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