California Agriculture
California Agriculture
California Agriculture
University of California
California Agriculture

Rob Bennaton

Photo of Rob Bennaton
County Director in Alameda/Contra Costa and Bay Area Urban Agriculture Advisor
University of California Cooperative Extension-Alameda County
224 West Winton Ave., Suite 134
Hayward, CA 94544
510-670-5621 Create VCard

Also in:
San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
Santa Clara County
Master Food Preservers
UC Master Food Preserver Program



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.

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, with many presentations and short fact sheets available via 2017 Urban Ag Workshop materials online.

Three UCANR Websites You will Enjoy Checking Out Are:

ANR Strategic Initiatives: 

UCANR Urban Ag Website:  

UCANR Urban Ag Workshops: 


Bennaton has over 24 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.


Certificate Horticulture Therapy Certificate Candidate, The New York Botanical Garden. 2019
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

Areas of Expertise (click to see all ANR academics with this expertise)



Peer Reviewed

  • Sowerwine, J.; Oatfield, C., et al. (2018). California Urban Agriculture Food Safety Guide: Laws and Standard Operating Procedures for Farming Safely in the City. UC Berkeley, UC Cooperative Extension, and the Sustainable Economies Law Center. 113.
  • Diekmann, L., Bennaton, R., Schweiger, J., Smith, C. “Involving Extension in Urban Food Systems: An Example from California.” Journal of Human Sciences and Extension. 5(2): 70-90. June, 2017.

Non-Peer Reviewed

  • Fox, J. M., Havas, K., Bennaton, R., Hogan, M., Jacobsen, J., Meadows, L. J., Robson, E., Miller Jr., J. F. (2016) Urban County Extension Director Competency Framework.

    Extension Competencies Identified for the City: 

  • “Extension’s Role in Urban Agriculture” by Lucy Diekmann, Julie Dawson, Jacqueline Kowalski, Brian Raison, Marcia Ostrom, Rob Bennaton & Connie Fisk. May, 2016 – Community, Local & Regional Food Systems (CLRFS) Community of Practice

  • Bennaton, Rob. “The Value of Urban Agriculture.” 2014 Contra Costa Agriculture Dept. Crop Report. Pages 16-17. July , 2015. Web.

  • Pallana, Esperanza; Dekovic, Ariel; Bennaton, Rob. “Cultivating Resistance, an Urban Ag ToolKit to support Oakland’s Independent Food System!”. Oakland Food Policy Council. 2015. Web.

  • Bennaton, Rob; Dronkers, John. “Composting and Water Conservation”. UCANR Master Gardener Help Desk. February 17, 2015 Blog. Web. UC ANR Urban Ag Website

  • Farfan-Ramirez, Lucrecia; Bennaton, Rob; Sund, Jessica. (2014). From the Garden to the Classroom: Building Connections to the Garden for Healthy Living. A Garden-based Education for Early Childhood Children.R. Bennaton. Alameda, CA: 30.  Edited by Rob Bennaton. Not Yet Publicly Available due to Need for Pilot Testing.

  • Restorative Commons: Creating Health and Well-Being Through Urban Landscapes. The Re-Greening of Public Housing.L. Campbell and A. Wiesen. Newtown Square, PA, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station.: Pages 233-247. (2009)

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