Your visual guide to Urban Agriculture types

There are so many inspiring food projects working and innovating successfully in urban and urban fringe areas. We were asked to have a go at creating a ‘typology’ of urban agriculture that showcases best practice models and projects, can help decision makers to understand more about what is out there that they could enable to happen in their area.

By using this typology as a tool and following its inspiration wherever it leads you, you will discover the unparalleled positive impact that moving to a localised food system can bring, and why this is so urgent. Food is where health, equity, land justice, wellbeing, land use planning, ecological recovery and climate change mitigation and adaptation, converge and intersect. Here is a treasure trove of solutions. You can download the image from here as a pdf – in Adobe or equivalent, the links are clickable from within this page and take you to sub-pages on this website.

A Guide to Urban Agriculture & Case Studies
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A Guide to Urban Agriculture & Case Studies

Thanks to the brilliant Ellie Shipman for creating this with us.

This is a work in progress and can evolve over time, so we’re happy to get your feedback, additional case studies, and ideas for future versions.

The key features of successful Urban Agriculture
Further information on


We must never underestimate the power or the necessity of a shared vision behind any food strategy or individual urban agriculture project or business.

When created by those who will be delivering and/or impacted by it, a vision acts as a maypole to which projects, practices and processes can align and around which people can dance! It is a frame and a reference point that describes the kind of world which you are trying to bring into being. We have a Vision of a world in which…


Siloed ways of working are, bit by bit, breaking down. This is because we live in dynamic systems, like an ecosystem where all the parts respond to and interact with each other. If we are seeking to create resilient, healthy, beneficial systems we must recognise that the way we work together is one of the most important systems.

New structures and ways of working are springing up in response to the need to a) make the most of funding, b) develop mutually beneficial relationships and build communities of practice and communities of place, c) avoid duplication of effort d) act ethically and transparently.

Frameworks such as Sociocracy or Prosocial give us tools and processes as well as deeper understanding about how humans are capable of, and innately inclined towards, doing amazing things together when we can rise above our competitive conditioning.


Access to Land and security of tenure is a key issue in setting up new food production initiatives. Land negotiations can be adversarial, but they needn’t be if approached in the right spirit and with the cooperation of local authorities and landowners. Seek to establish a constructive dialogue with the local council and landowners. It is possible to set up new projects on land owned by local authorities, the NHS or universities, and in direct arrangements with private landowners.

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Access to training
You will need all sorts of skills – some you’ll be aware of, some you won’t. From food growing to management plans, from advertising to food distribution. But there are lots of organisations out there that can offer help. Don’t reinvent the wheel – ask for help.

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Access to Finance. Ways to raise money include bank loans, grants & donations, share issues, & crowd-funding & Community Supported Agriculture.

Business planning is an essential starting point – it’s much easier to raise money when you know what you need and when you need it by.

Seek advice from:


Your local council is vital in developing urban food production initiatives: if there is a local food partnership in your area it’s a good idea to ask them for advice as they will have a dialogue with the council. If not, set one up.

As the major elected local institution, the local council will be vital in developing urban food production initiatives: not only will they have land that might be used, but they also control the planning agenda and land use policies. With increasing numbers of councils declaring a climate emergency, and in the wake of Covid, now is a good time to seek a dialogue to try to embed policy support for an upscaling of urban agro-ecology.

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Procurement & Distribution
Getting your produce to market is a major concern for small scale producers. Various platforms and initiatives are out there to support and provide practical routes to market.
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Somewhere in the transition from locally produced food to our current global supermarket culture, we’ve lost track of one critical factor: nutrition. Lots of food in long supply chains, both fresh and processed, has less nutritional value than fresh, locally grown crops with short supply chains. It’s even worse with ultra-processed convenience foods which might fill you up with sugar, salt, fat and fibre, but contain little nutritional value.

We will be working with partners to develop a simple guide to how local food production and distribution, coupled with agroecological farming methods to build soil health, can reverse this trend and focus on the many benefits of nutrition-dense foods.