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When people think about farming or gardening, cities like Denver or Detroit do not typically come to mind. But thanks to the rise of urban farming initiatives, underserved communities in these cities are bringing the classic tradition of farming back to their urban homes. Whether you live in Los Angeles or Pittsburgh, urban farming can provide numerous benefits to your community. 

If you do a quick Google search on “urban farming,” you’ll find some articles that use the terms “urban farming” and “urban gardening” interchangeably. However, these terms refer to two different practices. In our latest article, The Mount of Olives will help you learn how to distinguish between the two. 

Urban Farming vs. Urban Gardening

Let’s review the main differences between these two practices

man holding basket of vegetables
People who are not familiar with urban farming tend to mix it up with urban gardening. However, there are several distinct differences between the two that are worth acknowledging. 

Before diving into the differences between urban farming and gardening, let’s rewind and review their general descriptions. 

Overview of Urban Farming

Urban farming involves the process of growing and cultivating food for a city or a heavily-populated town. Urban farmers can grow anything from peppers to potatoes. The ultimate goal is to sell the vegetables and fruits grown in the garden. The recipient could be a restaurant or soup kitchen. Either way, the end goal is to sell the food and move it from a grower to its customer. 

Urban farming offers numerous benefits for communities, including the:

  • Ability to bolster local economies
  • Chance for people to make more friends and grow closer to their communities
  • Opportunity to purchase cheap and healthy foods
  • Chance to have a greater appreciation for food and the work it takes to grow different crops

Anyone can start an urban farm. You don’t have to build your own corporation. Many people in the past have started urban farms with a couple of friends. That said, some urban farms in the U.S. do receive outside support from other organizations.  

Overview of Urban Gardening and Community Gardens

Community gardens are collectively managed by different people. Anyone from the community can participate! 

With most community gardens, participate can focus on their individual plot of land. Whether they want to grow some tomatoes for a salad or rosemary for seasoning, they can plant whatever they want in their designated spot. Once the plants are finished growing, they can enjoy the fruits of their labor for themselves. They do not sell anything they grow. 

Community gardens are typically managed by local governments or nonprofit organizations. Like urban farms, they also offer numerous benefits for communities such as:

  • Increased sense of community
  • Nicer and more attractive surroundings
  • Improved food education

Main Differences Between Urban Farming and Urban Gardening

At a glance, urban farming and community gardening appear to be interchangeable. While they do share a number of similarities, there are some distinct differences between the two. 

In general, they differ in their:

  • End goals
  • Number of participants
  • Systems

For instance, urban farms tend to be more business-oriented than community gardens. After all, their end goal is to sell the food that they grow. Community gardens typically have more people involved. Because numerous people are given space on smaller plots, they can accompany more participants. Urban farms also tend to be more technology-oriented. Many of them incorporate hydroponics systems and greenhouses to help take care of their plants. As a result, they tend to grow their plants on a much larger scale than community gardens.

That said, both urban farming and community gardens offer their own distinct benefits. Many experts see both as critical players in a community-based food system. In fact, many urban farms and community gardens are beginning to incorporate aspects of the other in their operations. 

How Urban Farming is Already Making a Difference

How Urban Farming Can Help Underserved Communities in Pittsburgh and Abroad

aerial view of pittsburgh
Thousands of people in the U.S. and abroad live in urban food deserts. Urban farming gives them access to inexpensive and healthy foods necessary for living a healthy life. 

Both urban farms and community gardens are popular solutions for people living in food deserts. Underserved areas can benefit from improved food education, easier and cheaper access to nutritious foods, and growth in community bonding with their neighbors. Urban farms in particular present a great opportunity for people to learn essential business practices and skills. 

Anyone can start an urban farm or community garden. That being said, there are still many financial and operational obstacles that new farmers have to deal with. That’s why it’s important for people to work together to help make these resources available to their communities. 


In cities like Pittsburgh, urban farming is already starting to make a huge difference. Are you looking to help underserved communities in Pittsburgh and abroad? Consider donating to the Mount of Olives. Our goal is to raise $50,000 for farming equipment, hydro and aquaponic systems, and operation costs. Each donation brings us one step closer to achieving our goal. Contact us today for more information.

What can you do to help?

There's a lot of things we need you for.

Our fundraising Goal is:

$50,000

The money will be going towards:

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Farming Equipment

New and used farming equipment.

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Urban Farming Initiative

Hydro and Aquaponic system.

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Operation and Maintenance

Cultivating and developing designated land.

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Donate now

Donations start from $25 USD. 
You decide whether it's a single donation or a monthly donation.

Take action

Create an opportunity for individuals to start making a difference in their lives.

Follow us

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