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

Grow Your Urban Agriculture Dreams with the CDFA Urban Agriculture Grant Program - Applications Open Until October 23, 2023!

The California Department of Food and Agriculture's (CDFA) Urban Agriculture Grant Program, 2023  is an exclusive and competitive funding opportunity designed to support and elevate agriculture in urban areas across California. This one-time grant...

Posted on Wednesday, September 6, 2023 at 2:39 PM

Growing Food & Land Access/Security with Urban and Peri-Urban Farms on Faithlands

Interfaith Food and Farms Conference

On August 25th, UCCE's Urban Ag & Food Systems Program tabled, paneled and supported the 8th Annual Food, Faith and Farms Conference in San Rafael, CA, hosted by Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative. The national Faithlands Conference,...

Posted on Tuesday, October 19, 2021 at 2:54 PM

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

UC Food and Agriculture Blogs

Can I Use Vinegar to Control Weeds?

The potential health hazards of concentrated vinegar. Photo from the National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC).

Acetic acid, also known as vinegar, is used in products for weed control. Many people choose it because it is natural. However, acetic acid can damage skin and eyes, especially at concentrations commonly found in weed killers. What is the difference...

Posted on Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 1:19 PM
  • Author: National Pesticide Information Center (NPIC)

Paper highlights how climate change challenges, transforms agriculture

Of the farmers surveyed, roughly two-thirds agree climate change is occurring and requires action. Farmers said they are managing water resources, maintaining soil health and using renewable energy sources to adapt to the changing climate.

As the climate continues to change, the risks to farming are only going to increase. That's the key takeaway from a recent paper published by a team that included UC Merced and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers. The paper dives into...

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2024 at 10:10 AM
  • Author: Patty Guerra, UC Merced

Almond crop yields threatened by disease new to California

Advanced symptoms of red leaf blotch (RLB) include large, yellow-orange blotches (roughly 1/2

Detection of fungus causing red leaf blotch spurs call for grower vigilance Symptoms of red leaf blotch (RLB), a plant disease caused by the fungus Polystigma amygdalinum, have been observed for the first time in California across the Northern San...

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 at 12:55 PM

What are exotic and invasive pests?

Glassy-winged sharpshooter adult. Photo by Jack Kelly Clark, UC IPM.

Exotic and invasive pests threaten California's natural environments, agricultural production, structures, landscapes and gardens.  Exotic pests are organisms introduced into an area beyond their natural range and become pests in the new...

Posted on Tuesday, July 16, 2024 at 8:22 AM

Urban Pesticides, Fertilizers, and Water Quality

Urban parkway next to a large canal. Photo by Larry L. Strand.

Pesticides and fertilizers applied around homes, residential or commercial landscapes, school sites, and other areas can enter our creeks, rivers, and oceans, degrading water quality. While pesticides and fertilizers can be useful in controlling pests...

Posted on Sunday, July 14, 2024 at 1:21 PM
Webmaster Email: vtborel@ucanr.edu