Santa Clara County
University of California
Santa Clara County

University of California Cooperative Extension

Urban Agriculture and Food Systems

Urban agriculture has taken root in Silicon Valley. Examples include the county’s many community gardens and backyard chickens; the rooftop farm at Levi Stadium; as well as the farms and gardens that are springing up at local schools and universities.

Urban agriculture produces more than fresh fruits and vegetables. For the surrounding community, it can provide access to affordable produce, opportunities to learn about growing food, and a space for community gatherings.  Yet, urban farms and gardens also face a variety of challenges, which can threaten their long-term viability and ability to achieve these goals.

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Often urban agriculture aims to help address food insecurity in our communities. With the assistance of volunteer gardeners and community partners, the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) has studied how much food urban gardens in Santa Clara County produce. Half the gardeners in the study were members of La Mesa Verde and Valley Verde, two programs that help families who may be food insecure grow their own food. Over two summer months, the median harvest by gardeners in these programs was 59 pounds of fresh produce, which was worth $231 and was equivalent to roughly 200 cups of vegetables—more than enough servings for an individual adult to meet the USDA MyPlate recommendations for vegetable consumption. 

Urban agriculture and food systems is a new research, education, and extension program for Santa Clara County. For more information or to engage with the Urban Agriculture and Food Systems program, please contact  Lucy Diekmann

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