Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly updates

Milkwood Blog

Urban Farming Guidebook: new resource

January 23, 2013 | Farming, Gardening, Grow It, Market Garden, Publications, Resources, Urban Permaculture | 25 comments | Author:

urban farming guidebook5

The Urban Farming Guidebook is a free pdf resource for helping local governments to plan the growing of food in their cities. Given that we’re all about bottom-up action, we feel that it’s best placed in the hands of potential growers, so they can get on with creating local food systems!

And that means you. This guide was written for Canadian councils in BC, but that doesn’t make it any less interesting, or useful, for the rest of us. There’s 4 case studies of successful urban farms in BC, and plenty of inspiration and workable ideas for more…

urban farming guidebook6

urban farming guidebook3

“Verticrop (above) is a technology that utilizes suspended hydroponic tray systems on a conveyer system to grow leafy greens. This system is being built on the top of a parking garage roof in downtown Vancouver under the name of Local Garden

urban farming guidebook4

(above) “Nuisances: Given that most nuisances from urban farming will be identified through complaints, education about the role and value of urban farms and growing spaces is essential.

Also, developing good neighbor policies and guidelines that lay out the behaviors and practices both farmers and their neighbors need to adopt will help to mitigate problems and build overall awareness.”

urban farming guidebook1

“Urban farming has emerged at the frontier of a burgeoning trend in local food and community resiliency. Local food retailers, restaurants, and consumers are responding as partnerships with chefs and even mainstream grocers are being established. Vegetables farmed in the city are finding their way onto menus, food carts, and produce stands.

As a result, linkages in the local food chain are becoming stronger in concert with a growing consumer demand for local and sustainably grown food.

Although it is not expected that these farms will ever feed a whole city, they have great potential for increasing community health through providing secure access to fresh food in the face of rising food prices, as well as stimulating community wealth with new sources of jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities…”

There’s some great stuff in this guide – apart for the case-studies of existing urban farms and a good overview of other workable models for sustainably growing food in cities, there’s many suggestions about the brass tacks aspects of farming…

Yields, zoning, how to get soil, and all the seemingly  small details that are so often make or break for an urban farming enterprise…

You see statues everywhere to politicians, poets, bishops, but none to cooks or bacon-curers or market gardeners” – George Orwell

** Also, thanks to Kate Gillett of Food Skil, a local food focussed social enterprise in Geelong, here’s a link to a complimentary guide put out by Vic Health in Australia – Food-sensitive planning and urban design…

Lastly, we’re running a fantastic Urban Permaculture Design Certificate in Hobart this April with a super team of Australia’s best urban permaculture designers and doers, if anyone is interested in skilling up for urban abundance.

>> More posts about urban permaculture + farming

LIKE 182
+1 0


  • latebloomershow January 23, 2013 at 7:06 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on latebloomershow and commented:
    Before I even read this myself, I’m reblogging for you! Milkwood Permaculture is a great resource (even if it is down under!). :) – Kaye

  • eremophila January 23, 2013 at 7:24 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on Eremophila's Musings and commented:
    Spreading the word; just like spreading compost to make the ground more fertile.

  • Craig January 23, 2013 at 7:30 am | Reply

    An excellent resource providing plenty of ideas for my large provincial city in Victoria!

  • Katie Gillett January 23, 2013 at 7:44 am | Reply

    A similar document was produced by VicHealth around planning and growing food using examples from around the world and Australia. Would be good to highlight some of the great stuff being done here i.e. the city farm in Brisbane, Ceres, Food_Skil etc.

    1. milkwoodkirsten January 23, 2013 at 9:13 am | Reply

      Do you have a link for that guide, Katie? Would love to see it and share it on… The more of these sorts of guides out there in the public sphere the better.

      1. milkwoodkirsten January 23, 2013 at 9:30 am | Reply

        Wait, got it, have added it to the post above, with thanks :)

  • David & Diana Pink January 23, 2013 at 10:52 am | Reply

    Developed in my own back yard and I heard about it from the other side of the world. Thanks for posting. As brand new permies and growers it will be most useful.

  • athena millay January 23, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Reply

    Up north in Minnesota the city destroys gardens in peoples
    front yards, so tell people to check first with the city before
    they plant gardens in the front, unless they have a fence that
    completely hides the garden.

  • fraseroldmillroad January 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply

    Thanks, great resource. Will be taking this further in our own regional area in order to hopefully get across that we need these issues taken into consideration before we lose all our primo peri-urban growing ground. In small towns like ours there is no reason at all why we cant feed the population of 7000 people from land within bicycling distance. Cheers.

  • Emma Bowen January 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm | Reply

    Awesome resource, thanks for the link Kirsten!

  • walrissa January 24, 2013 at 2:42 am | Reply

    Reblogged this on Green Momma Adventures.

  • […] and food growers (or potential growers) to create urban resources for local food. If you click here, you can read about it and even download a free PDF for you and/or your local government. […]

  • narf77 January 24, 2013 at 6:04 am | Reply

    The local garden link doesn’t work :(

    1. milkwoodkirsten January 24, 2013 at 7:41 am | Reply

      does now! sorry don’t know what happened there…

  • […] and food growers (or potential growers) to create urban resources for local food. If you click here, you can read about it and even download a free PDF for you and/or your local government. I’ve […]

  • kinnearjulie January 25, 2013 at 4:29 am | Reply

    Thank you for the link. I think this book is a great step for the Canadian urban farmers. It´s great to know that the government cares. I hope this guide can make the councils more interested and open to the idea. I also wondered, are you familiar with the Maurice J. Hladik theories about Urban farming? My friend introduced me to his books and I found them very useful and his theories are quite inspiring. I´ve especially got interested in his section dedicated to the myths in urban farming. And I think that not only councils, but also ordinary people should download this guide, so more of them can get interested.

  • Urban Farming Guidebook « Na Raiz January 28, 2013 at 10:31 pm | Reply

    […] Read more about this book […]

  • Zoe January 29, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Reply

    The ACT government issued a discussion paper last year on Community Gardens, pdf at

  • […] Urban Farming Guidebook: new resource ( […]

  • Caitlin Moore January 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Reply

    Thanks for posting this! Reblogged at

  • urban farming | living earth adventure February 4, 2013 at 4:27 am | Reply

    […] A post from our friends at Milkwood with a handy guidebook on urban farming. […]

  • […] here to visit the original article and be sure to click on the image to download your free copy of the […]

  • […] FUENTE […]

  • Pedro Di Girolamo April 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm | Reply

    It’s a pity, but the Link to your “Urban Farming Guidebook” free pdf seems broken :(

    1. Kirsten April 22, 2014 at 4:45 am | Reply

      Thanks for the heads up Pedro! Just switched to Scribd for the hosting so it should work fine now – try again?


Blog Categories

Related Courses

Permaculture Design Course

April 21st - May 4th, 2015

Otford, Govinda Valley Retreat

A Milkwood Permaculture Design Course teaches you the skills and knowledge to design and implement fundamental and life-changing resilience into your everyday home, community and beyond.

Serious Backyard Veggies

May 9th-10th, 2015

Sydney, Alexandria Park Community Centre

Get serious about vegetable growing in your backyard using organic, permaculture techniques. Two days full of expert knowledge about planting, growing, nutrient cycling, harvesting and integrated pest management.

Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

May 16th-17th, 2015

Byron Bay, The Farm

Join us for two jam-packed days of hands-on skills in edible mushroom propagation. Learn how to grow delicious oyster, shiitake and many other mushrooms at home, organically!

Gourmet Mushroom Cultivation

June 6th-7th, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Join us for two jam-packed days of hands-on skills in edible mushroom propagation. Learn how to grow delicious oyster, shiitake and many other mushrooms at home, organically!

Backyard Aquaponics

August 8th-9th, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Does growing water-wise organic herbs, leafy greens and vegetables at your back door sound good to you? How about growing fresh fish while you’re at it? Join us for a practical aquaponics workshop on how to build your own aquaponics … Continued

Serious Backyard Veggies

August 22nd-23rd, 2015

Sydney, 107 Rooftop Garden

Ready to get serious about vegetable growing in your backyard using organic techniques? Here's two days of expert knowledge to get you growing.