working in house definitions from Five Borough Farm project, 
with the Design trust for Public Space

Urban Agriculture:
For the purposes of this research, urban agriculture is defined as a network of activities

within the urban environment including 1) growing plants and raising animals for food
and other uses within and around cities and towns, 2) related activities such as the
production and delivery of inputs, and the processing and marketing of products, 3) the
operation of farm stands and farmers’ markets that connect urban consumers to their local
and regional food system, and 4) the development and operation of educational programs
that increase knowledge and use of skills and techniques related to the production,
processing, sale, distribution and consumption of produce and products linked to local
and regional agriculture. The Five Borough Farm project focuses specifically on urban
agriculture projects within New York City that have a practical growing component
linked to any of these activities.

Management Structures:
1. Community Gardens
Sites including gardens, hives, and infrastructure for animal husbandry and composting
that are tended by individuals or households within a community to produce food and
other agricultural products. These sites may support community based educational and
cultural programming, marketing programs, and environmental stewardship programs
such as composting and rainwater harvesting.
2. Community Farms
Decentralized or contiguous production areas with gardens, hives, infrastructure for
animal husbandry, composting and market facilities that are managed by communitybased
non-profit organizations. Community farms often support diverse programming
that includes agricultural sales or donation of produce, community development activities
and educational programs on site or in surrounding neighborhoods.
3. School Farms
Farms located on or near school grounds and operated by school affiliates (e.g., teachers,
students) with a significant focus on food production, in addition to education. The food
production and related programs operated by school farms are are linked to, and are
designed to support the school’s missions, including education of the institution’s clients
or participants and broader systemic change.
4. Institutional Farms
Food production areas located on the grounds of or near public institutions such as
hospitals, museums, and prisons, with a significant focus on food production. The food
production and related programs operated by institutional farms are are linked to and are
designed to support the institution’s missions, including healing and/or education of the
institution’s clients or participants, as well as broader systemic change.
5. Commercial Farms or Commercial Beekeepers
Either decentralized or contiguous production areas, or beehives, managed by business
owners for the purpose of selling food and agricultural products, and related services, for
profit. These may also incorporate educational programs.
6. Educational Gardens/Farms
Gardens located on the grounds of educational institutions (e.g., schools) and/or off-site
gardens managed by educational institutions and used primarily for curricular or afterschool
education (e.g., science, nutrition education). Educational gardens may or may not
produce food, but the main focus is student education.
7. Demonstration Gardens/Farms
Gardens used primarily to demonstrate agricultural methods, local crop varieties, animal
breeds, etc., mainly for public audiences. Demonstration Gardens/Farms may or may not
produce food, but the main focus is on raising public awareness about agriculture.

references consulted:
van Veenhuizen, R., 2006. “Introduction: Cities Farming for the Future.” In Cities
farming for the future: Urban agriculture for green and productive cities. Edited by van
Veenhuizen, R. Ottowa: RUAF Foundation, IDRC, IIRR.
Kimberley Hodgson, Marcia Caton Campbell, and Martin Bailkey. Urban Agriculture:
Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places. American Planning Association Planning Advisory
Service Report Number 563. Forthcoming.

urban agriculture  from Growing Better Cities by Luc J.A. Mougeot IDRC
In very general terms, urban agriculture can be described as the growing, processing, and distribution of food and nonfood plant and tree crops and the raising of livestock, directly for the urban market, both within and on the fringe of an urban area. It does this through tapping on resources (unused or under-used space, organic waste), services (technical extension, financing, transportation), and products (agrochemicals, tools, vehicles) found in this urban area and, in turn, generates resources (green areas, microclimates, compost), services (catering, recreation, therapy), and products (flowers, poultry, dairy) largely for this urban area (UNDP 1996; Mougeot 2000). The very close connection in space that UA entertains with the ecology and economy of cities makes this very distinct from but complementary to rural agriculture. This description, however, fails to convey the extent of the practice, or the almost infinite variety and sheer ingenuity of techniques employed by urban farmers.
Urban agriculture is typically opportunistic. Its practitioners have evolved and adapted diverse knowledge and know-how to select and locate, farm, process, and market all manner of plants, trees, and livestock. What they have achieved in the very heart of major cities, and dare to pursue despite minimal support, and often in the face of official opposition, is a tribute to human ingenuity. One survey by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP 1996) identified over 40 farming systems, ranging from horticulture to aquaculture, kitchen gardens to market gardens, and including livestock as varied as cattle, chickens, snails, and silkworms!
Where does all this agriculture take place? Apart from farming in backyards, there is crop and animal production on rooftops, in window boxes, on roadsides, beside railroads, beneath high tension lines, within utility rights of way, in vacant lots of industrial estates, on steep slopes and banks of rivers, and on the grounds of schools, hospitals, prisons, and other institutions. There is aquaculture in tanks, ponds, and pens in rivers. Also, as cities expand, they frequently engulf nearby villages and, in these peri-urban areas, some of the residents continue to farm whatever land is left to them. Some city dwellers even maintain small plots of land on this urban fringe, shuttling out weekly or leaving some family members there to tend the crops during the growing season.
In short, urban agriculture is anywhere and everywhere that people can find even the smallest space to plant a few seeds.
A regular supply of homegrown food can make a considerable difference to the lives of the urban poor. It not only contributes to improved nutritional health but also may free up some of a family's cash income for nonfood expenses such as education.
Not all urban agriculture is carried on at the subsistence level as a temporary necessity by recent immigrants from rural areas. It also includes commercial operations producing food in green-houses and other spaces, but is more often small-scale and scattered around the city. The produce is usually processed and marketed by the producers and their families.