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

After 22 years of serving Riverside County residents, UCCE nutrition advisor Ganthavorn retires

Left, Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Tribe members plant vegetables in the A’Avutem (Elders) Garden. Right, Chutima Ganthavorn observes the planting.

After serving Californians for over 22 years as a UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Riverside County, Chutima Ganthavorn retired from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources July 1. Ganthavorn credits her success...

Posted on Monday, July 12, 2021 at 10:31 AM
  • Author: Liana Wolfe

Abiotic Problems of Tomato

Horn/nose development on tomato fruit (Credit: N Volesky)

  Originally published in the Summer 2021 issue of Utah Pest News.  Many problems that gardeners experience with tomato plants are not related to insect pests or diseases. Rather, they are associated with adverse growing...

Posted on Sunday, July 11, 2021 at 9:00 AM
  • Author: Nick Volesky, Utah State University Vegetable IPM Associate
  • Posted by: Elaine Lander

Poison Oak: Leaves of Three, Let Them Be

Poison oak showing 3 leaflets.<br>(Credit: J DiTomaso)

Poison oak is a common native plant in California, growing everywhere from oak woodlands to urban parks. Chances are, you or someone you know has suffered from a rash due to poison oak at some point. The best way to avoid exposure to poison oak is...

Posted on Thursday, July 8, 2021 at 7:00 AM

New WeedCUT online tool to manage invasive weeds in wildlands without herbicides


California has abundant wildlands — forests, rangeland, open areas, wildlife refuges and national, state, and local parks — that need protection from invasive plants. Invasive plants affect all Californians by increasing wildfire potential;...

Posted on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 at 2:58 PM

Dairy’s Net Zero Initiative gets boost with $10 million research grant

The new Net Zero Initiative project will examine the effects of value-added dairy manure products. Composted dairy manure used as fertilizer shown in an almond orchard. Photo by Sat Darshan Khalsa

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research has awarded a $10 million grant to support U.S. dairy's Net Zero Initiative as a critical on-farm pathway to advance the industrywide 2050 Environmental Stewardship Goals set through the...

Posted on Thursday, July 1, 2021 at 3:01 PM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu