Ecological Design, Urban Planning, Program Development, Food Systems, Project Management & Fundraising in Pittsburgh, PA

Project Summary: Hilltop Urban Farm is a nonprofit, community-centered farm in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop community. Located on over 100 acres of land this multi-use facility was designed to produce locally-grown crops, provide agriculture-based education, generate entrepreneurial opportunities, and strengthen communities. Through its continuing development and core programming, given its size, scope and reach, Hilltop Urban Farm will ultimately become the largest urban farm in the United States setting a precedent for urban farming initiatives across the globe.

Central to our mission are three core programs: youth-centered education; a workforce training program for new adult urban farmers; and an active, accessible farmers’ market. Learn more about the direction of each core program, and how Hilltop Urban Farm will ultimately act as a dynamic asset for local communities.

Partners: Hilltop Alliance, Sota Construction, Common Ground, InSite Design, Lighthouse Cathedral, Grow Pittsburgh, Penn State Extension Allegheny County, Allegheny Land Trust, City of Pittsburgh Department of Planning, Urban Redevelopment Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, American Chestnut Foundation

Special Projects: Master Plan (2015), Soil Rebuilding Plan (2015), Operations Plan (2015), Tree Inventory Report (2016), Implementation of the Youth Farm (2018), Nonprofit formation (2018)

Fundraising: Henry L. Hillman Foundation ($650,000), PNC Foundation ($40,000), Grable Foundation ($35,000), Pittsburgh Foundation ($15,000), Whole Foods Markets Pittsburgh ($17,000)


Master Plan

In 2015, the Master Plan for Hilltop Urban Farm was completed in just 5 months time. This process was led by Project Manager, Sarah Baxendell, and was built upon the findings of the original feasibility study, authored by GROW Pittsburgh and Penn State Center Pittsburgh.

Operations Plan

The Operations Plan for the Hilltop Urban Farm was completed in conjunction with the Master Plan in 2015. This document was authored by Project Manager, Sarah Baxendell, with contributions from consultants Nick Lubecki of Butter Hill Farm and Michael Sands of Prairie Crossing.

Soil Rebuilding Plan

The Soil Rebuilding Plan for the Hilltop Urban Farm was completed in conjunction with the Master Plan in 2015. This document guides the rehabilitation of urban soils into healthy, organic, urban farming acreage. The first stage of the Soil Rebuilding Plan was implemented in Summer 2017.

Tree Inventory Report

In May 2016, Sarah Baxendell and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy performed a Tree Inventory of the existing site. This document is authored by Sarah Baxendell, based on the inventory findings.



Fresh Divide: Could an urban farm help those marooned in Pittsburgh’s Hilltop?, The Incline

See what’s growing in the City during the Pittsburgh Urban Farm Tour, Next Pittsburgh

Growing Farmers, East End Food Co-Op

Hilltop Urban farm sets goals and launches volunteer days, Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh to be the site of America's largest urban farm, VOA News

Pittsburgh to have largest urban farm in US, Pittsburgh Green Story

Unique Urban Farms across the US, Subculture, Subway

Pittsburgh Urban Farm Aims to Combine Housing and Healthy Eating, Next City

This New Housing Complex has a bonus, a 23-acre farm, Fast Company

Post-Industrial Pittsburgh to host America's largest urban farm, Reuters

Pittsburgh's Serious Commitment to Urban Farming - St. Clair Village, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Up on the Farm: Ambitious urban agriculture in the city's Hilltop, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

One of the country's largest urban farms is underway to St. Clair Village, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Hilltop Urban Farm in South Pittsburgh is set to become the largest urban farm in the country, Next Pittsburgh

Urban Farm planned for former housing project site, Trib Live

City takes steps to make urban farming dream come true, CBS Pittsburgh

Latest Hilltop Farm Plans explained at Mt Oliver City Block Watch, South Pittsburgh Reporter

Updates Hilltop Farm Master plan to block watch meeting, South Pittsburgh Reporter

Diana Nelson Jones' Walkabout: Opportunities grow in old St. Clair Village, Pittsburgh Post Gazette

Alliance aims to transform vacant parcel in St. Clair to include townhouses, urban farming, Trib Live

One of the largest urban farming communities in the country might be created where a public housing complex once stood, Inquisitr 

Pittsburgh's St. Clair neighborhood to get an urban farm and new housing, Pittsburgh City Paper

Plan announced for Hilltop Urban Farm, Pittsburgh City Paper

Possible options discussed for St. Clair Village site, South Pittsburgh Reporter