A growing literature under the heading of urban agriculture extols the virtues for urban food security and poverty reduction of farming in urban areas of developing countries. This paper critically examines this literature, with particular reference to the spread of food production in and around sub-Saharan African cities and towns. The paper sets out a disaggregated view of food production in urban areas, emphasizing the analytical and policy importance of rural-urban interactions in resource and output markets as well as in income transfers. The scope and limits of useful policy intervention in this area are considered. The paper concludes that food production in urban and peri-urban areas certainly has a role to play in the food security of a proportion of urban dwellers, but its contribution to the welfare of the poor in developing countries should not be exaggerated, nor therefore should its claims for scarce development resources.