Molly Riordan


Urban Agriculture Specialist

My work and life straddle city and country, investigating urban opportunities to demonstrate, promote, and sustain regenerative agriculture and agricultural livelihoods. As the Urban Agriculture Specialist, I work to illustrate how policymakers, city planners, and urban growers can create thriving urban agricultural communities, and invest in an equitable and sustainable food system.

Born in Buffalo, NY and currently living in Philadelphia, PA, Ithaca is my spiritual home: I earned my bachelor’s degree from Ithaca College, my Master of Regional Planning from Cornell University, and spent 2015-2017 as the SFP Urban Agriculture Specialist leading the research and writing of The Promise of Urban Agriculture. I am happy to rejoin the team in 2020 on the next phase, Realizing the Promise of Urban Agriculture, a curriculum development project.

My agricultural awakening came on a rooftop farm in Brooklyn in 2009. The lush, precious scene was a far cry from the devastated farms I saw driving through rural New York State. How, I wondered, can we harness cities’ demand to support agriculture on all scales, both urban and rural? I have pursued that line of inquiry in my schooling and my work — on farms, in food warehouses, and via policy.

My husband Geoff is personally and professionally engaged in the same questions, and we enjoy visiting our farmer friends, cooking, and debating food system issues while walking the beautiful woods a short walk from our city home.