Urban Agriculture and Natural Resources

Urban Ag Overview

Ohio agriculture is essential to the state’s economy and social fabric of our communities. As part of Extension’s commitment to equitable engagement throughout Ohio, a robust urban agriculture team of faculty, staff, students, and volunteers serve in the state’s Metropolitan Statical Areas (MSAs). Two primary areas of urban agriculture focus include:

  • Urban Agriculture and Food Systems
  • Urban Environmental Horticulture and Urban Forestry

Urban Context
Population density in metropolitan areas
presents both opportunity and challenges.

Diverse producers, workforce, clientele,
and community leaders interact through urban agriculture.

Policies and agricultural ordinances vary across multiple jurisdictions.

Urban-Suburban-Rural Interface
The flow of the agricultural value chain
extends across Ohio's diverse landscape.
Addressing the distinct urban context creates connection rather than divide in the urban-rural interface.

This encompasses urban, indoor, and other emerging agricultural production, harvesting, transportation, aggregation, packaging, distribution, and markets in and around cities. In urban communities, interest in agriculture continues to grow. Many Ohioans engage in aspects of urban agriculture including those growing at home, in community gardens, or through commercial operations. It’s more important now than ever to address issues of food security, food safety, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, cultural influences, workforce development, policy implications, social impacts, and other concerns. With multiple jurisdictions and diverse stakeholder perspectives, Extension serves in an important role to convene, educate, and engage in respectful community participatory research to advance urban agriculture. Addressing the distinct urban context creates connection rather than divide along the urban-rural interface.

OSU Extension embraces a broad scope of urban agriculture based on shared interests in urban contexts that influence:

  • Production, including soil and water quality, pollinators, pests, weeds, safety, and waste.
  • Workforce, markets, and policies for those engaging in commercial operations.
  • Community impacts of agriculture in urban communities, including economic, social, cultural, and other factors in the dynamic agricultural ecosystem.
Urban Agriculture TEAM

Working Urban Ag Definition - Urban agriculture is the production of food and other agricultural products in urban, peri-urban settings. This includes in-ground and raised-bed production as well as aquaponic and hydroponic production systems. Additionally, urban agriculture also includes the rearing of honeybees, fish, and small livestock and where permitted. PDF with more details.

The Ohio State urban ag working group meets bi-monthly. To participate in the group meetings contact Michelle Gaston.6@osu.edu.

Urban Agriculture Highlights

Sampling of Ohio State urban agriculture highlights.

You can view Urban agriculture blog articles here. 

National Urban Agriculture

Ohio State hosted the 2024 Urban Food Systems Symposium in Columbus.

National Association of County Agricultural Agents

There is an Urban Agriculture Collaboration Network hosted by Extension Foundation. To be involved in conversations, follow this link to the Connect Extension network and choose “Join this Subgroup.”

Case Studies

-The Promise of Urban Agriculture (2019, Cornell)
-Planning for a Resilient Urban Food System: A Case Study from Baltimore City, Maryland (2018)
-Urban Agriculture, Findings from four city case studies (The World Bank, 2013)

Business Planning

-Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook
-Ohio Small Busines Start-Up Guide
-Urban Farm Recordkeeping (recording)
-BeginningFarmers.org - Farm Business Planning Resources
University of Maryland Urban Agriculture Guidebook (2019)

National Resources & NEWS

-USDA Announces Inaugural Federal Advisory Committee on Urban Agriculture (2022)
-Urban Agriculture and Innovation Production (USDA) Website
-Connect Extension Urban Agriculture Collaboration Network
-Connect Extension Urban Sustainability
-North Central IPM Center
-Urban Agriculture: Needs, Opportunites, and Actions (ECOP, Dec 2020) Webinar recording  Slides
-Urban Agriculture and Regional Food Systems (journal)
-Urban Forestry & Urban Greening (journal)
-Growing Urban Ag Outreach in USDA (podcast, Jan 2021)
-USDA Urban Agriculture
-USDA Urban Ag At-A-Glance (2022)
-Urban Farm Business Plan Handbook
-Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture Sourcebook (2022)
-Enterprise Budgeting and Urban Farm Record Keeping (Penn State, Nov 2020)
-History of Urban Agriculture (Aurora University, Oct 2020)
-The Promise of Urban Agriculture (Aug 2019)
-Urban Agriculture State Legislature (NCLS, Aug 2019)

Ohio Resources & News

-Urban Agriculture in Ohio (Feb 2019)
-Urban Agriculture, Capstone project (2014)
-Environmental Professionals Network
-Knowledge Exchange
-Ohioline (search urban, small farm, or any topic of interest)
-Ohio Urban Forestry
-Ohio Agribility
-OSU Ag Safety & Health Program
-Ohio Small Business Start-Up Guide
-Tree University: Why Urban Foresters Do The Things They Do


-Urban Agriculture Strategies for the State of New Jersey Report (2022)
-Where Do U.S. Cities Stand On Urban Agriculture? (2021)
-Urban Agriculture as a Keystone Contribution Towards Securing Sustainable and Healthy Development for Cities in the Future (2020)
-Understanding Urban Food Producers’ Intention to Continue Farming in Urban Settings (2019)

-Metropolitan Universities Journal Urban Food Networks Issue (2017)
-A Guidebook to Community Engagement Involving Urban and Low-Income Populations in an Environmental Planning Process (2014)
-Benefits of Urban Forests and Determining Their Value (2021)
-Planning for Equitable Urban and Regional Food Systems, Built Environment Journal Special Edition (2017)
-Global Urban Agriculture (2017)
-Urban Agriculture of the Future: An Overview of Sustainability Aspects of Food Production in and on Buildings (2013)
-Urban Agriculture and Local Government Law, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change (2013)
-Urban Agriculture: Definition, Presence, Potentials and Risks, Main Policy Challenges (1999)