Rob Bennaton

County Director/Bay Area Urban Agriculture Advisor


Rob Bennaton is the University of California Cooperative Extension Bay Area Urban Agriculture Advisor, supporting small scale food growers and 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 also specializes in providing technical assistance on urban ag/community garden -site governance. He is the County Director in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, overseeing programming in all five ANR Strategic Initiatives 

through applied research & educational programs conducted by local UCCE Advisors, Specialists and Program Managers/Coordinators. Answers to many urban ag related questions can be found at the: UCANR Urban Ag Website:                                   ,

and many presentations and short fact sheets are available through the Urban Ag Workshops completed in 2017 at: .


Bennaton has over 23 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 3000 members supporting 743 gardens citywide, leveraged >$4.5 million in-kind resources, and spearheaded the installation of NYCHA’s first rainwater harvesting system. Previously, Bennaton worked as a Forester for NY’s Department of Parks and Recreation on frontline ecological restoration of the Bronx River and local deciduous forests. 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/AIDS 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.


Certificate Horticulture Therapy Certificate Candidate, The New York Botanical Garden. 2014
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 NY Botanical Garden. 2003
B.S. Major: Biological Sciences, Minor: Economics, Fordham University. 2000

edible landscaping urban soil urban soil quality site governance urban ag policy