Urban agriculture in California: Lessons learned from an urban farmer workshop series
California Agriculture 77(2):57-62. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2023a0010
Published online September 08, 2023
Urban farming is an important component of California agriculture, but lack of agricultural census data or common definitions makes it difficult to track and understand. In 2017–2018, a team of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) researchers and extension professionals developed a workshop series for urban farmers in California based on results of a prior needs assessment. After conducting 16 workshops in the state's largest urban centers, the team evaluated what participants learned and how they put their knowledge into action. The evaluation highlighted urban farmers' ongoing challenges and found that economic issues such as profitability and land access are some of the greatest barriers for urban farming in California. An unexpected positive outcome was the opportunity for participants to network and meet other farmers. Urban farmers expressed the need for more opportunities for mentoring and building partnerships with other farmers and organizations. Evaluation results suggest that California's urban farmers may be more diverse than California farmers as a whole, and that they are often beginning farmers.