This is a list of resources for materials related to urban agriculture available in San Francisco. Listing does not condone official sponsorship or support from the City of San Francisco. If you know of a resource that’s not on here and should be, please contact the Urban Agriculture Program Coordinator. Dig in!
- Soil and Compost
- Plants and Seeds
- Animal Resources
- Construction and Irrigation
- Mulch and Woodchips
- Books, Magazines, and Legal Resources
- Other Related Organizations
Soil is critical to your garden’s health, whether you are growing in ground or in raised beds. You can get soil off Cragislist, Broadmoor Landscape Supply, Lynsgo or American Soil. Always inquire to the origin of the soil and the quality before you purchase it.
Testing your soil can be done through a number of groups, including University of Massachusetts, Micro Analytical Laboratories, Cerco Analytical, and Soil and Plant Laboratory. Your local garden center will sell soil tests, but they are not as accurate or comprehensive as these. Information about lead in soil can be found on the DPH’s website. Local garden centers in San Francisco include Sloat Garden Center and Flowercraft.
Compost is a much needed resource for your garden. You can make it yourself (classes offered at the Garden for the Environment monthly) or buy it. It is available at your local garden centers, and at many of the same locations you would buy soil. Recology has an ongoing compost giveaway program. Bayview Greenwaste compost as well.
The new Urban Agriculture Resource Centers host monthly pickup for materials like compost, mulch and soil. See the Urban Ag Resource Center page http://sfrecpark.org/park-improvements/urban-agriculture-program-citywide/urban-agriculture-resource-centers/ for updated hours of operation.
- In addition to local garden centers mentioned in Soil and Compost, you can also find native plants at Bay Natives and succulents and other supplies at Flora Grubb. Seeds can be found locally at the above named shops, as well as organic seeds through Seed Savers Exchange, Peaceful Valley Farm Supply, or Johnny’s Seeds. Seed Libraries in the Bay Area include BASIL, Richmond Seed Library, and SF Seed Library (at time of writing, undetermined future). Plant sales are another good source of material at the SF Botanical Garden, Occidental Arts and Ecology Center or Plant Exchange.
- Manure can be found at Mar Vista Stables.
- A great SF Examiner article on chicken raising can be found here .
- The San Francisco Beekeeper’s Association offers trainings and assistance.
- Cole Hardware, Vermicomposters.com and Urban Worm are good resources for worm and verimculture supplies (always call ahead to make sure they have what you need in stock).
- You can rent tools from a number of local companies, and also from the Tool Lending Library through the Clean City Coalition. Remember to always use non-pressure-treated wood if you’re making raised beds for vegetables. Building Resources usually has a great wood supply.
- The Urban Farmer stores have the expertise, materials and classes to get going on your drip irrigation system.
- SF PUC offers gardening tips, low water plant lists, and integrated pest management approaches to gardening.
Books and Magazines
- Golden Gate Gardening by Pam Peirce and Western Garden Book by Sunset Magazine are two mainstays of San Francisco gardening literature.
- Modern Farmer, Rodale’s Organic Gardening, and Urban Farmer are three good magazine sources of information.
Many gardens, especially on private property, will need some basic liability insurance. Look at these three resources for more information on garden insurance.
If your garden would like to apply for grants or accept donations, you could consider becoming your own nonprofit or becoming fiscally sponsored. SF Parks Alliance sponsors many gardens in the city and this great resource from Community Law Center helps talk about the process.
- Mycological Society of San Francisco knows everything mushroom-related.
- Education Outside (SF specific) and Edible Schoolyard have lots of good schoolyard greening and garden resources.
- San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance promotes the growing of food within San Francisco and the associated goals of the member organizations, through advocacy, education and grassroots action. It also has a great guide to starting a farm or garden in SF. Monthly meetings on the 2nd Tuesday of each month are open to the public.
- Permaculture resources can be found through the Urban Permaculuture Institute of San Francisco.
- City College of SF, Laney College, and Merritt College all offer non credit and credit-level classes in environmental horticulture, floriculture, and agriculture.
- Garden for the Environment offers classes, a demonstration garden, and a great list of other gardening resources in the Bay area.
- CUESA, Friends of the Urban Forest, Nature in the City and California Native Plant Society are all associated with advocacy or greening in SF.
- The Institute of Urban Homesteading, City Slicker Farms, Ecology Center, and Urban Tilth all work on issues related to urban gardening in the East Bay.
- The American Community Gardening Association is a bi-national nonprofit membership organization of professionals, volunteers, and supporters of community greening in urban and rural communities.
- Master Gardeners of San Mateo and San Francisco Counties offer classes, plant clinics, and other opportunities to get involved.
- UC Extension and the National Gardening Association provide great pest control and other resources.