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

Lucy Diekmann, Ph.D. joins UCCE as Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties

Lucy photo

I am delighted to be joining University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) as the Urban Agriculture and Food Systems Advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Silicon Valley's culture of innovation, diverse culinary traditions, fertile...

Posted on Monday, November 26, 2018 at 10:22 AM

Gopher Management in School and Community Gardens

Pocket Gopher: Ag Natural Photography by Ed Williams

Pocket gophers, more commonly known as gophers, are one of the most common vertebrate pests found in school and community gardens. They are known for their extensive burrow system through the soil and also for the damage that they can cause to plants...

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...

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

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

Citrus: Preserve it now to serve it safely later

Canned wedges of grapefruit and oranges.

Winter is the time when many backyard citrus trees and roadside fruit stands are laden with mandarins, lemons, navel oranges and limes. A UC Cooperative Extension expert is traveling the state to teach how the fresh taste of citrus can be preserved for...

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 8:26 PM

Pests and pathogens place global burden on major food crops

On a global scale, pests and pathogens are significantly reducing yields of rice (shown), wheat, maize, soybeans and potatoes.

Farmers know they lose crops to pests and plant diseases, but scientists have found that on a global scale they are reducing crop yields for five major food crops by 10 percent to 40 percent, according to a report by a UC Agriculture and Natural...

Posted on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 11:11 AM

4-H member is a winner from curly haired cavies to chocoflan

Celeste Harrison with her prize-winning chocoflan dessert. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

From cavies to chili to chocoflan... Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harrison, a fourth-year member of the Sherwood Forest 4-H Club, Vallejo, shares her expertise about chili and cavies (guinea pigs), but she's also a pro in the kitchen and at making a...

Posted on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 2:11 PM
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