Research + Publications

Drawing theoretical insights from social movement theory and critical geography, I explore how collaborations between diverse food system and environmental stakeholders can advance justice at multiple scales. I approach this work using action research frameworks, in which research is seen as a tool to create social change.

Rooftop and Commercial Urban Agriculture  (2015- present)

This project examines policies and funding programs supporting the establishment of  commercial urban agriculture and rooftop farms in New York City and Paris. It seeks to identify realistic policy and funding strategies that support environmental and economic equity in innovative urban agriculture projects.

Related publications:

  • Specht, K., Reynolds, K., and Sanyé-Mengual, E. (In Press.) Community and social justice aspects of rooftop agriculture. Chapter in Orsini, F., Dubbeling, M., and Gianquinto, G. (eds.) (In Press.) Handbook of Rooftop Agriculture. Springer.
  • Reynolds, K.  (2017). L’agriculture urbaine aux États-Unis, une approche sociale et écologique. Cahiers de l’Institut d’Aménagement de d’Urbanisme [Urban agriculture in the United States, a social and ecological approach. Journal of the Institute of Planning and Urban Development], 173, 185-190. Online advance publication

Beyond the Kale (2012-2016)
Recent research has examined race and class disparities in the U.S. urban agriculture movement, and strategies that community based activists are using to dismantle racial, gender, and class oppression at multiple scales. This research provides the basis for my  book  Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City (2016, University of Georgia Press). The book challenges a common presumption that urban agriculture necessarily leads to more socially just systems, and it makes the case that in order to be truly transformative, urban agriculture stakeholders –including practitioners, policy makers, and scholars – must explicitly work to dismantle the structures underlying food systems and environmental inequities. More about Beyond the Kale is posted on the project blog.

Related publications:



Five Borough Farm (2010-2012)

The Beyond the Kale research grew out of a study in which I was involved as Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sustainable Urban Food Systems at The New School. The Five Borough Farm project (phase I) examined farming and gardening throughout New York City, framing urban agriculture as a networked system composed of diverse citywide and regional stakeholders. The report, published in 2012, identified policy strategies to support urban agriculture; set forth user friendly evaluation tools to strengthen these practices citywide; and discussed race and class-based disparities between farm and garden groups. This research also provided the basis for a number of peer-reviewed publications and presentations in Montreal, Europe, and North Africa.

Related publications:

  • Cohen, N., Reynolds, K., and Sanghvi, R., 2012. Five Borough Farm: Seeding the Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City. Design Trust for Public Space: New York, NY. More information about Five Borough Farm here.
  • Cohen, N. and Reynolds, K. 2014. Urban agriculture policy making in New York’s ‘New Political Spaces’: strategizing for a participatory and representative system. Journal of Planning and Education Research.
  • Reynolds, K. 2014. Disparity despite diversity: social injustice in New York City’s urban agriculture system. Antipode. Free download here.
  • Cohen, N. and Reynolds, K. 2015. Policy, resource, and technical assistance needs for a socially just and sustainable urban agriculture system: lessons from New York City. Journal of Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems.

Urban Agriculture in the San Francisco/East Bay Area

Prior to work in New York City, I conducted research on urban agriculture and Cooperative Extension in the San Francisco Bay Area. My dissertation entitled “Urban Agriculture as Revolution” used an action research framework to assess the needs and challenges of urban and peri-urban agriculture practitioners Alameda County, CA. It also explored the potential to create an ANR/extension program for urban farmers, whether within the statewide UC Small Farm Program, where I worked for several years, or through county-based offices.

Related publications:

  • Reynolds, K. 2009. Urban agriculture in Alameda County, CA: Characteristics, challenges, and opportunities for assistance. University of California Small Farm Program Research Brief. UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Reynolds, K. 2010. Urban Agriculture as Revolution: An Action Research and Social Movement Analysis of Food Production in Alameda County, California. (Ph.D. Dissertation, UC Davis). Download here.
  • Reynolds, K. 2011. Expanding Technical Assistance for Urban Agriculture: Best Practices for Extension Services in California and Beyond. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development.

Agricultural Tourism in Northern California

While working with the UC Small Farm Program in Davis, California, I conducted research on agricultural tourism (on-farm services and enterprises) as a strategy that small-scale and family farmers use to increase revenues and remain in business. Research investigated agritourism in Sacramento and Yolo Counties in the Central Valley, and provided the basis for a number of applied research reports and farmer workshops delivered at the California Small Farm Conference, Ecological Farming Conference, and numerous regional farmer conferences in California.

Related Publications:

Women in Agriculture

My work with the UC Small Farm Program also involved documenting the work of women farmers and ranchers in California, and creating educational risk management curricula tailored to women agriculturalists. This work was published in research briefs and a multi-authored booklet on women farmers. It provided the basis for workshops at the annual California Small Farm Conference.

  • Reynolds, K. 2005. Talibah Al-Rafiq-California Cashmere Company; Rachel Whitney: Whitney Ranch Blueberries; Mary Orr: Willow Creek Ranch; Jennifer Bice: Redwood Hill Farm. Chapters in Outstanding in their Fields: California’s Women Farmers, D. Jolly, editor. University of California Small Farm  Center. UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
  • Reynolds, K. 2008. Stress management for women farmers and ranchers. University of California Small Farm Program Research Brief. UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.