Annie Novak is founder and director of Growing Chefs, field-to-fork food education program; the Manager of the Edible Academy (nee: Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden) at the New York Botanical Garden, and co-founder and farmer of Eagle Street Rooftop Farm in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in partnership with Goode Green and Broadway Stages. She is the author of The Rooftop Growing Guide: How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm, published by Ten Speed Press.
Annie has worked with GrowNYC and Greenmarket, Slow Food USA, and Just Food advocating and growing urban agriculture. Among other publications, Annie’s work in agriculture has been featured in New York Magazine, Edible Brooklyn and the Martha Stewart Show ; online at Grist, the Huffington Post and on the Cooking Channel; candidly interviewed on multiple blogs and locally in her own Brooklyn neighborhood paper The Greenpoint Gazette (twice), and photographed by the Selby. In 2010, Annie was voted the Cutest Organic Farmer in the country by the readers of the Huffington Post.
A passionate educator, Annie teaches locally & nationally, and has spoken at conferences around the country and internationally on the connections between people, food and ecology, and the benefits of urban agriculture. In 2012, Annie was recognized by the Audubon Society’s Women in Conservation Program for her work in New York City.
A lifelong vegetarian, Annie’s passion for agriculture began while working in Ghana with West African chocolate farmers. She has since followed food to its roots has taken her to Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin, Turkey, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Fiji, New Zealand, the Cook Islands, Alaska, Tanzania, Jamaica, Australia, through the West and Midwest; her adventures are cheerfully blogged at www.GrowingChefs.org.
Since 2005, Annie has worked with the Meerkat Media Collective to write, produce, act and film in several films and documentaries. Her work has been screened in New York City and in festivals across the country. Titles include award-winning felt animation Wee Dark Hours, My Felt Bike; award-winning documentary short Every Third Bite, and narrative feature length film A Little Death.
In her free time, Annie has run nine marathons, built and raced her bicycle, and birdwatches. A big fan of space, she has high-fived an astronaut. Her Chicago-based family includes sisters Caroline and Catherine, and mother Rita Ryan-Novak. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.