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Urban Agriculture

Urban AgricultureCornell Cooperative Extension's Urban Agriculture program provides support for urban agriculture in all five boroughs of New York City. With an emphasis on growing for market, we serve urban farmers through educational programming, technical assistance, and research. Our program areas include production, marketing, regulations, food safety, and urban agriculture's social and environmental impacts.

The Cornell Cooperative Extension Urban Agriculture Program offers an email publication,
NYC Market Growers Update. This occasional publication is focused on production-oriented resources for NYC urban farmers who are growing for market or growing at a similar scale. 

Join the NYC CRAFT Google Group to stay informed on all Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training events happening in our area. NYC CRAFT is a cooperative model encouraging enhanced educational and networking opportunities for farmers across the NYC region.

For more frequent updates on our work:

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Beneficial Insects on NYC Farms Pocket Guide

Sam Anderson, Urban Agriculture Specialist
Harvest New York

Last Modified: November 8, 2022
Beneficial Insects on NYC Farms Pocket Guide

The Beneficial Insects on NYC Farms Pocket Guide provides information on beneficial insects commonly found on New York City farms as well as how to recognize and identify them.

Beneficial insects in this guide refers to natural enemies of pests as well as pollinator insects, like bees.

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Esta guía brinda información sobre los insectos benéficos que se encuentran comúnmente en las granjas de la ciudad de Nueva York, así como también cómo reconocerlos e identificarlos.


Guide to Farming in New York State Available in English and Spanish

Yolanda Gonzalez, Urban Agriculture Specialist
Harvest New York

Last Modified: April 22, 2022

For nearly two decades, the Guide to Farming in New York State has been the Cornell Small Farms Program's go-to resource for those looking to start a farm business, and has been referenced by both new and experienced farmers alike! As a living document, the guide is regularly updated and is a valuable reference material for CCE educators, ag service providers, and farmers throughout New York State and beyond. The guide includes straightforward and readable fact sheets that summarize key information, and points readers toward other local and state resources, to leverage opportunities and answer key questions for farmers. 

It is important to make this information accessible to all farmers, including our Spanish-speaking farm owners, supervisors, and employees, whose contributions are vital to NYS agricultural sectors and will define the future of the NYS food system. The decision to create a Spanish language version of the guide, called "Guia para Granjas en Nueva York," is part of a larger effort to promote greater access to agricultural information and opportunities and support new and beginning Latino/a/x farmers to overcome challenges to access land and create successful farm business. 


Vegetable Planting Guide for the New York City Area

Yolanda Gonzalez, Urban Agriculture Specialist
Harvest New York

Last Modified: July 28, 2020
Vegetable Planting Guide for the New York City Area

This handy table lists common vegetables grouped by the approximate planting times in the New York City area. Find out what crops will fare well in early Spring plantings, late Spring or early Summer plantings, or that are hardy enough to be planted in late Summer or in the Fall.


NYC Agricultural Soil Survey

Sam Anderson, Urban Agriculture Specialist
Harvest New York

Last Modified: February 10, 2020
NYC Agricultural Soil Survey

In order to better understand the unique soils used in New York City's urban farms, Cornell Cooperative Extension's (CCE) urban agriculture program is conducting the NYC Survey of Agricultural Soils. 


Expanding Specialty Mushroom Production on Urban and Rural Farms

Yolanda Gonzalez, Urban Agriculture Specialist
Harvest New York

Last Modified: July 8, 2019
Expanding Specialty Mushroom Production on Urban and Rural Farms

As a response to the growing demand for both mushrooms and technical production knowledge, Yolanda Gonzalez, Urban Agriculture Specialist from Harvest NY, and the Cornell Small Farms Program, along with partners Farm School NYC, Just Food, and Grow NYC, were recently awarded two multi-year grants.  The first grant is the USDA NIFA Grant "Expanding Specialty Mushroom Production on Urban and Rural Small Farms," which will engage growers, service provider organizations, and industry partners to enhance the collective knowledge base and capacity of farmers to grow specialty mushrooms and sell them profitably to local and regional markets within 250 miles of New York City.  The second grant is the Northeast SARE Professional Development Program "Spawning a network of northeast mushroom educators serving urban and rural farmer audiences," increasing the educational capacity through a network of Community Mushroom Educators throughout the region.


NYC Urban Agriculture Website

Last Modified: January 30, 2019
NYC Urban Agriculture Website

The City of New York created a website in 2018 devoted to urban agriculture resources and questions. The website summarizes New York City programs and regulations urban farms and gardens and provides key contacts within city government and for other service providers. 


Cornell High Tunnels

Last Modified: January 29, 2019
Cornell High Tunnels

Soil-based urban growers around the country are increasingly adding high tunnels to extend the season, expand which crops they can grow, and ramp up production in small spaces. The Cornell High Tunnels site includes excellent resources on buying and building the structures, figuring out the economics of adding a high tunnel, and guides for growing vegetables, fruit, and flowers. 


Controlled Environment Agriculture

Last Modified: January 3, 2018
Controlled Environment Agriculture

Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is an advanced and intensive form of hydroponically-based agriculture. Plants are grown within a controlled environment so that horticultural practices can be optimized.

CEA techniques are not simpler than older systems for growing plants. Indeed, they demand sound knowledge of chemistry, horticulture, engineering, plant physiology, plant pathology, computers and entomology. A wide range of skills as well as a natural inclination to attend to details are necessary for a person to operate a successful CEA production in either a research or commercial setting.

Guide to Urban Farming in New York State

Last Modified: January 3, 2018
Guide to Urban Farming in New York State

Are you interested in or currently farming in a city? Do you wonder how to access land, how to reclaim a contaminated site, how to maximize use of a small growing space, or how to most successfully target your urban market?

The 
Guide to URBAN Farming in NYS, produced by the Cornell Small Farms Program, answers these and many other common questions about farming in urban environments, and can help you launch, continue, or expand your urban farm business.

Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities

Last Modified: January 3, 2018
Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities

The Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities project is a research and education partnership with New York's urban gardeners and others interested in healthy gardening. We help people make more informed decisions to address concerns about lead and other contaminants in gardens, farms, and other community spaces.

The Healthy Soils, Healthy Communities website includes information on soil contaminants (including soil testing), healthy gardening practices, compost (at home and in gardens, schools, and other community spaces), and other resources. 

USDA's Urban Agriculture Toolkit

Last Modified: December 22, 2017
USDA's Urban Agriculture Toolkit

USDA's Urban Agriculture Toolkit is an electronic document that helps urban and small farms navigate more than 70 helpful resources, including technical assistance and financing opportunities. It focuses on some of the most pressing challenges confronting urban producers such as land access, soil quality, water resources, capital and financing, infrastructure, market development, production strategies, and applying for federal, state or private foundation grants. University extension service partners in Chicago and Indianapolis helped develop cost estimates for starting urban farms and the toolkit includes information on best practices and check lists for start-ups and early-stage producers planning outdoor or indoor operations.



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The NY Food Hub Collaborative Takes Root!

Cornell Cooperative Extension has received a USDA Regional Food Systems Partnership Planning and Development grant for the NY Food Hub Collaborative. This is a 2-year project.


The NY Food Hub Collaborative brings together 29 local food system stakeholders representing 21 organizations to realize the long-term goal of improving the economic viability of mid-tier value chain partners targeting local markets by improving efficiencies, maximizing profits, and increasing demand for NY food products. Three objectives guide the project tea toward that goal:

1. Establish a Collaborative of interdependent food hubs designed to work collaboratively to efficiently, affordably, and effectively market NY food products to institutional markets.

2. Identify the potential for small, mid-size, and socially disadvantaged producers to be competitive in state agency and institutional contracts.

3. Develop strategic business relationships between mid-tier value chain partners including food hubs, producers, processors, distributors, and markets that emphasize organizational interdependence, trust, and transparency and equitably distribute responsibilities and rewards.

Objectives will be met through strategic planning amongst Collaborative partners, virtual field trips to learn best practices from national partners, business-to-business development opportunities, producer and market partner training, and a series of outputs. Outputs include an interactive local food system asset map, a procurement guide on selling NY food products to various institutional markets, an analysis of existing procurement policies across institutions and recommendations for improvement, market analyses of key institutional market partners, a NY Collaborative product guide, and an implementation plan that provides a framework to operationalize the NY Food Hub Collaborative.

Project Partners:

  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Harvest NY
  • Cornell Cooperative Extension Broome, Oneida, Essex, and Saratoga Counties
  • Farm Fare
  • Syracuse University
  • Upstate Growers & Packers
  • Eden Valley Growers
  • Capital Roots
  • Farm Fresh First
  • 607CSA
  • Hub on the Hill
  • Headwater Food Hub
  • Syracuse Onondaga Food Systems Alliance
  • Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corp.
  • Center for Agriculture Development and Entrepreneurship
  • NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets
  • Buffalo City School District
  • Syracuse City School District
  • NYC Citywide Administrative Services
Additional project partners will be identified as the project takes root. If you're interested in learning more or getting involved, please reach out to Project Director, Cheryl Bilinski, cbt32@cornell.edu.