Urban Ag

Project Lead: Anu Rangarajan

In the shadow of New York City’s Hell Gate Bridge, Cornell Cooperative Extension urban agriculture specialists Yolanda Gonzalez, left, and Sam Anderson, center scout for harlequin bugs and consult with farmers at Randall's Island Urban Farm in New York City.
R.J. Anderson / Cornell Cooperative Extension

Are you an existing or aspiring urban farmer?  

Urban farms can not only be commercially viable and economically self-sufficient small  farm businesses, they also offer a multitude of quality of life benefits for community residents. These farms serve to build community cohesion, teach about food and farming, connect urban and rural producers, and generate fresh produce (and sometimes meat) for local eaters. 

Building a successful commercial urban farm requires careful consideration of unique issues created by farming in the urban environment.

Learn about success stories as well as resources to build your urban farm.

The Promise of Urban Agriculture Curriculum

Understand the practices and policies that support successful urban farming endeavors.

Our work on Realizing the Promise of Urban Agriculture (RPUA), started in October 2020, to create trainings and educational resources for multiple audiences engaged in urban agriculture and, specifically, commercial urban agriculture. Based on the 2019 report, “The Promise of Urban Agriculture,” RPUA draws on the evolution of 14 urban farms, and insights from over 150 policy-makers, urban planners, funders, and nonprofit and community organizers engaged in local food systems and urban farming to uncover the policies, resources, and future research and development needed to support the successful development of commercial urban farms.

The project engages 10 advisors from across the country, and piloted trainings in 2021 and 2022 for an urban ag curriculum that we launched in the summer of 2024. These courses provide critical information for building or supporting successful urban farms.

Our introductory enrollment offer allows free access to these courses until December 31, 2024.

Courses for Growers & Planners

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News and Updates

In the News: How We’re Imagining the Future of Urban Agriculture

By Talia Isaacson | April 6, 2021

In 2019, our director Anu Ranjarajan, and Molly Riordan, now an urban agriculture specialist with our program, published a report titled “The Promise of Urban Agriculture.” This report was drawn…

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Healthy Soil for Urban Farm Production: Building from Scratch

By Kyle Rittenburg | January 11, 2021

Thanks to a SARE-funded grant, a nonprofit Urban Farm in Binghamton, NY, was able to experiment with new ways of creating a vegetable production field from scratch.  As we all know, a…

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Urban Ag Project Developing Curriculum to Support Producers, Planners and Policymakers

By Kacey Deamer | December 10, 2020

Our Urban Ag project has partnered with USDA-AMS Marketing Services Division and Rooted, the Madison, WI-based center for urban agriculture enterprise and education, to collaborate and develop classes for commercial…

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About Urban Ag

More details about this emerging new project is coming soon...

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Anu was appointed director the Cornell Small Farms Program in 2004. At the same time, she opened a U-pick strawberry farm in Freeville, NY. The experience of operating a small farm changed her entire approach to research and extension, and deepened her commitment to NY farms and local food systems.

Read Articles by Anu Rangarajan


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