Farming in the heart of the city has its pluses and minuses.

On the plus side, density helps create a slightly milder microclimate. "We're a little more protected from really bad storms," said farmer Stefan Meyer of Growing Lots Urban Farm.

"It's a little warmer in the city," said Danny Schwartzman, owner of Common Roots Cafe, which has maintained a kitchen garden across the alley for the past two growing seasons. The cafe's garden is a barometer of crops to come from other growers, he said. "We know when our tomatoes are starting to hit [ripen], that we're a week or two away from getting lots of tomatoes."

But small urban growers don't have easy access to some ag supplies, Meyer said. "There are a lot of resources we need that we don't have, like good sources of compost and manure. I have to go to rural areas and ship it in."

And urban farms are ripe targets for thieves and vandals, although several farmers said they haven't experienced either themselves. Schwartzman said people warned him about theft, but so far, it hasn't been an issue.

Julia Aponte of Uptown Farmers said she has three challenges as an urban gardener: "Squirrels and rabbits. And I need more land."