The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) owns many vacant properties that while currently distressed can be made available for productive reuse, including farming. The Farm-a-Lot Program streamlines the potential for farmers to access and activate this land for sustainable urban agriculture.
The URA defines urban agriculture sites as urban land gardened for personal use or for the sale of agricultural products, including fruits, vegetables, herbs, legumes, nuts, grains, flowers, and other products as permitted by applicable local, state, and federal laws.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, urban agriculture “has the potential to nourish the health and social fabric of communities, improve the physical landscape and create economic opportunities for farmers and neighborhoods.”
The goal of the Farm-a-Lot Program is to unlock this potential for City of Pittsburgh neighborhoods by:
- Converting URA-owned vacant properties into farmer-stewarded urban agricultural sites
- Preparing local farmers to acquire land from the URA
- Helping small urban agriculture businesses and residents to support the inclusive and healthy growth of neighborhoods
- Promoting community investment and land recycling strategies that build a more equitable Pittsburgh
- Re-imagining diverse space activation projects and fostering neighborhood interactions
- Supporting efforts to develop urban food systems that are just and sustainable in their benefit to City of Pittsburgh communities
Eligible Activities & Uses
The Farm-a-Lot Program supports proposals that include the following eligible activities:
Edible gardens, rain gardens, community gardens, flower gardens, pollinator gardens, or bee farms
All requested uses may be subject to URA staff review.
Bee Farm Guidelines: This use permits two beehives on lots with a minimum lot size of 2,000 square feet and permits two additional beehives for every additional 2,000 square feet of lot space up to 10,000 square feet. The applicant must provide a flyway barrier of at least six feet in height. More information can be found here.
On-farm infrastructureHigh tunnels, fencing, cold storage, solar energy, efficient irrigation systems and other physical structures are subject to review by the URA’s Quality Control & Inspections unit. An occupancy permit may also be required. More information can be found here.
Farm-a-Lot projects must be located on a URA-owned vacant parcel within the City of Pittsburgh. Available URA-owned properties can be found here.
All project parcel(s) may be reviewed for eligibility by the URA's Property Inquiry Review Committee.
Applicants can apply for land access for up to three years at a time.
- Prior to access: Soil must be tested to determine if the parcels are eligible for urban agriculture.
- Year 1: Entrance into a three-year license agreement
- Year 2: Review of the property to determine if it is eligible for sale to the applicant through the Pittsburgh Land Bank’s disposition process
How to Apply
Applicants should complete the online URA Farm-a-Lot Intake Form, below. A staff member will contact you within 5-7 business days.
If you require assistance to complete the intake form, please email email@example.com.
Homewood Parklet Pilot Project
For more information, please email our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.