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raleigh urban farming

Raleigh is a really popular city for urban farming. Recently voted a top 10 urban farming city in the US, it probably doesn't come as a surprise to those of us who have lived here a while. Farms and local markets are hugely popular, the city's regulations are very friendly to urban farmers, and every year the city hosts a Tour d' Coop where residents can visit the farmsteads of local city chicken keepers to learn about and admire their chicken containment systems. 

In my opinion, Raleigh is the most lenient and accessible urban farming city of all Triangle cities. If you are interested in growing some of your own food at home, keep in mind the following city ordinances. Also, your property may have an HOA regulation or restrictive covenants that supersede city ordinances. Even if your property is not located in a subdivision, restrictive covenants may still apply. 

Animal Housing

  • Stables or housing for any and all livestock must be at least 200 feet from neighboring residences.
  • Any part of the lot used for livestock must be enclosed. In other words, you cannot tether or free range your animals.
  • Livestock stables must comply with local zoning ordinances.
  • Stables must be constructed and maintained in conformity with the Wake County Board of Health


Poultry is allowed with no maximums, limitations or permits needed.

  • No sale of baby chickens, ducks or rabbits inside the city limits unless you are a licensed hatchery.
  • No animals running at large.

Click to see Urban Farms for sale

urban farms raleigh cary nc


Properties under 1 acre

One head of livestock, including cattle, horses,& non-pygmy goats may be kept on properties of less than one acre. Pygmy goats are defined as a domesticated goat weighing no more than 85 pounds and standing no higher than 21 inches. Pygmy goats may be kept in pairs on properties less than an acre. Keep in mind that although single full sized goats are allowed on lots under one acre, and a single dairy goat may provide more than enough milk for a family, goats are very social creatures and require the companionship of another animal, preferably another goat, to be well adjusted. A goat kept without a companion will likely express her displeasure rather loudly. An unhappy goat’s bleating can be as or more disturbing as a barking dog.

1 – 5 Acre Lots

Properties with 1-5 acres may have a total of 3 head of livestock per acre, may be kept. So if your property is .99 acres and has no other subdivision restrictions, you are allowed 1 head of livestock. If your property is 1 acre with no other restrictions, you are allowed 3 heads of livestock. If 2 acres, you could have 6 goats, cows or horses. 3 acres, could support 9 animals and so on.

Properties over 5 acres

Properties over 5 acres may have up to 10 head of livestock per acre.

Urban Farming Educational Resources

If you are interested in urban farming but want to learn more, consider accessing these local organizations to learn more.

Triangle Area Gardeners and Homesteaders (TAGAH) is a local group dedicated to helping residents learn more about self sufficiency. 

Triangle of NC Organic Edible Gardeners is an online discussion group (Facebook) that provides a resource for local gardeners to learn how to grow food in our climate. 

If you are a local gardener or homesteader, I would love to connect with you! Shoot me an email to say hello!

About the Author Ellen Pitts

Ellen is the founder of Harmony Realty, a socially conscious realty company. Ellen believes in empowering her clients through education and open communication. Ellen is a number-cruncher at heart and takes great pleasure in following and analyzing the trends of the housing industry. She loves communicating the big picture to her clients and helping them to understand how the market affects their sale or purchase. Her honest and down-to-earth approach allows her clients to make informed and intelligent decisions to get the most out of their offers and negotiations.

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