Molly Phemister

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Molly Phemister
Molly Phemister

Molly Phemister is the current coordinator for the Southern Heights Food Forest. She comes to us with a background that combines education, landscape architecture, permaculture, and social activism.  An art major as an undergraduate, she went on to obtain two master’s degrees, one in special education in 1997 and one in landscape architecture from the University of Virginia School of Architecture in 2008. One morning early into her second masters program, she was volunteering as a cook with the local Food Not Bombs chapter and heard that somebody there was jackhammering out her driveway in order to expand her garden.  “My people!” she exclaimed, and followed this woman into learning about permacultur.  This influenced her 3 year degree program which she then spent finding ways to integrate productive landscapes and agricultural infrastructure into her projects, ultimately writing her thesis on the hedgerow landscape of northwestern Europe.  She joined the first community food systems course taught in UVA’s urban & environmental planning program and became a founding member of the resulting food policy council for the tri-county area.  Since graduating, work has ranged from civil engineering firms to teaching design studios in the University of Nebraska’s small but potent landscape architecture program.  She comes to this food forest with great joy and gratitude, describing this work as putting her firmly on the path to her right-livelihood, that which she was born to this earth to do.