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Rob Bennaton

Bay Area Urban Agriculture Advisor
University of California Cooperative Extension-Alameda County
224 West Winton Ave., Suite 134
Hayward, CA 94544
rbennaton@ucanr.edu Create VCard

Also in:
Santa Clara County
Master Food Preservers
UC Master Food Preserver Program



What is Urban Agriculture?? Let's Grow Together!!
UC Cooperative Extension's Urban Ag Program conducts applied research and educational programs that support healthy food and lands access and security for low income residents of Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties.
Program staff provide free technical assistance and agricultural resources to low income-oriented urban farms, community and school gardens, faith based, institutional, residential and therapeutic food growing groups as able.  Collaborative sharing includes partnering with local non-profit organizations, community based volunteer groups, policy makers and governmental agencies to leverage in-kind resources, grants and donations.
The program monitors and evaluates program impacts in terms of knowledge, behavior and condition changes through an equity lens focused on food security, resource conservation, environmental quality, youth, human, social and economic development, food as medicine, growing food together as a way to grow community resilience and horticultural therapy.  

Rob Bennaton is the University of California Cooperative Extension Bay Area Urban Agriculture Advisor, supporting small scale food growers, extending knowledge on urban soil quality/resource management and urban ag policy. Rob teaches on urban soil management and heavy metals exposure prevention, is working with local groups on mapping urban food growing sites in the East San Francisco Bay Area, and specializes in providing technical assistance on urban ag/community garden-site governance.

Based in Alameda County, he addresses urban ag related questions and can be found on the UC ANR Urban Ag Website, with many presentations and short fact sheets available via 2017-18 Urban Ag Workshop materials online.

Three UCANR Websites You will Enjoy Checking Out Are:

ANR Strategic Initiatives:        http://ucanr.edu/sites/StrategicInitiatives/ 

UCANR Urban Ag Website:      http://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/  

UCANR Urban Ag Workshops:  https://ucanr.edu/sites/UrbanAg/Urban_Ag_Workshops/Bay_Area_Workshop_Series/ 

Bennaton has over 26 years of experience in horticulture/community development, habitat restoration and youth programming. Prior to UCCE, he was a Community Coordinator at the NYC Housing Authority’s Garden & Greening Program where he increased program participation to over 3,000 members supporting 743 gardens citywide, leveraged >$4.5 million in-kind resources, and spearheaded the capital project installation of NYCHA’s first rainwater harvesting system and bio-swales.

Previously, he was a Forester for NY’s Department of Parks and Recreation on frontline ecological restoration of the Bronx River, Pelham, Van Cortlandt and Inwood Hill deciduous forests, rivers and salt marses. Working with various non-profits, he has also taught youth/adult staff/volunteers stream bank/forest restoration, led AmeriCorps teams in organic vegetable production for donation to the homeless, homebound AIDS/HIV patients and managed a farmer’s market. He also spent 16 years supervising programming and staff on weekends at an interactive organic children’s farm called the Howell Family Garden at the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx.


Certificate Horticulture Therapy Certificate Candidate, The New York Botanical Garden. 2021
Certificate Commercial Horticulture: Plant Production, The New York Botanical Garden. 2012
M.S. City & Regional Planning, Focus: Environmental Planning, Pratt Institute. 2007
Certificate Commercial Horticulture: Landscape Management, The New York Botanical Garden. 2003
B.S. Major: Biological Sciences, Minor: Economics, Fordham University. 2000


Small Scale Food Production and Soil Quality/Resource Management ; Food and Land Access and Security

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