Getting Access to City-Owned Land in Pittsburgh

The City’s Adopt-A-Lot process provides legal access to City-owned lands for greenspace projects such as community gardens and urban farms.

The City requires all Adopt-A-Lot gardens to be have liability insurance. Grow Pittsburgh and NexTier Insurance have created a group liability insurance policy for community gardeners.

Commercial Agriculture

Check out the Urban Growers Guide: How to Sell the Food You Grow in Pittsburgh for a ton of information, useful even to those outside the city.  This document outlines the nuances of the $10,000 limit on the sale of produce off City-owned lots. (Long story short: You can sell way more than $10K worth of produce!)

urban agriculture policy

Pittsburgh Zoning for Greenhouses and High Tunnels

Before building a semi-permanent structure for season extension, check into these City of Pittsburgh zoning requirements.

Livestock in the City

Farm animals can be integrated into an urban grower’s plan depending on local zoning law and the space available. The City of Pittsburgh has an updated urban agriculture zoning code, which makes keeping honey bees, chickens, ducks, and goats permitted by right.

Among many other items, the code now permits as follows:

  • Keeping of up to 5 chickens or ducks with 2,000 sq. ft or more of land (this includes the footprint of the home), and for each additional 1,000 square feet, you are permitted 1 more chicken or duck.
  • Housing of up to 2 beehives with 2,000 sq. ft and a minimum 10 feet from a neighboring property line; for each additional 2,000 sq. feet, you are permitted 2 additional beehives
  • Keeping 2 miniature goats with 2,000 sq. ft of land; at 10,000 sq. feet, residents are permitted to keep 2 adult goats
  • Sale of produce on vacant land with permission from the owner

For the code itself click here.  For a detailed break-down of the code, see this Simplified Zoning Code and FAQ, also translated into Nepali and translated into Spanish.

Apply for a permit through the Urban Agriculture Zoning Code here.

Local Organizations Working to Support Responsible Animal Husbandry In and Around Pittsburgh

Burgh Bees
Promotes bees and beekeeping in the Pittsburgh area

Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
A stakeholder group representing a broad spectrum of the food system

Pittsburgh Poultry Association
Educates others and shares information about keeping chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys in the Pittsburgh area

Support backyard chickens and bees in Pittsburgh!
A facebook group for people keeping chickens and bees.

Allegheny GoatScape
Allegheny GoatScape improves community ecology by clearing overgrown land with a friendly herd of goats.