Our Farm students


Peyton Parvey

Lauren Farr

Oak Grove Heirlooms

Ver de Terre

Lauren's going to be growing heirloom lettuces that are as beautiful as art. She is also growing funky and dazzling flowers and succulents for your market bouquets. When she's not out in the fields for her second season, Lauren loves reading up about her farmer heroes and chasing around her three beautiful, energetic children. 

Peyton is excited about growing Old World tomatoes, heirloom chard, and beautiful sunflowers for her first season. She's passionate about preserving heirloom varieties to help create a better world for her daughter. When she's not farming, Peyton enjoys pretending that she's an archaeologist and digging up cool artifacts from the ground. 


mark johnson

Earth Stewards Farm

Liam Boyd

The Humble Farmer

Mark  is excited to be growing baby ginger, tomatoes, and okra in 2016 for his first growing season. When he's not farming, Mark enjoys climbing mountains, but, he reports, "in a pinch, a tree will do."

Liam is excited about growing purple Islander bell peppers, Winner kohlrabi, and Sungold tomatoes for his third season farming. When he's not managing his farm plot, he loves going to Snarky Puppy shows and crying over the first Rocky movie. 

Our Staff

Wes Riddle


Wes Riddle is Co-founder and Executive Director of Roots Memphis Farm Academy. Since 2010, Riddle has worked on sustainable policy and economic development issues in the city of Memphis, including legal work on blight litigation, and municipal policy drafting and development, outreach, and advocacy for the Complete Streets policy initiative with the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, Livable Memphis, ULI-Memphis, and Memphis Area Association of Realtors. In the past, he has worked with a community development corporation in Dallas, Texas on low-income tax credit and historic tax credit developments, including a proposal to develop a fully-sustainable city block, and with real estate development consultants and investors in Baltimore, Maryland. A native of Memphis, he has his JD from Southern Methodist University and his Master's of Science in Real Estate Development from Johns Hopkins University.



Mary Riddle, Co-founder and Program Director of Roots Memphis Farm Academy, is also co-owner and manager of Roots Memphis, the city's first and only for-profit urban farm. A Memphis native, Phillips attended a boarding school with an emphasis on farming. She then attended Warren Wilson College, in Asheville, North Carolina, a small liberal arts work college with a focus on sustainable agriculture. After returning to Memphis, Phillips was hired as the initial manager for Memphis' first non-profit urban farm, a position she held for a year before starting her own company consulting on and constructing landscaped edible gardens and raised beds for private residences and businesses. Phillips has previously taught farming in Memphis, having helped establish Green Leaf Learning Farm at KnowledgeQuest in South Memphis, where she organized a summer program and curriculum around farming and healthy food. She also managed and taught classes at The Hutchison School's on-site learning farm. In 2012, she partnered with the investor and re-developer of the Clarion Hotel for the creation of Roots Memphis, on a vacant portion of the Clarion site. Phillips then began developing a model for teaching others how to start and manager their own small farm businesses, which become Roots Memphis Farm Academy.


alex greene

Photo Credit: Daniel Frederick

Photo Credit: Daniel Frederick

Alex Greene was raised on a farm near Memphis, Nebraska, and learned horticulture from his grandmother. Though he went on to pursue his interest in music and cultural anthropology, his love of farming only grew throughout the years. After working on organic farms near San Francisco in the 1990's, he went on to study traditional healing in Central America for his doctoral research at UC Davis. Beginning in 2006, he and his wife Lori operated Downing Hollow Farm in Hardin County, TN, featuring Memphis' first CSA, and helped to found the Cooper Young Community Farmers Market. After the 2013 season, Alex and his family returned to the city life in Memphis, where he is thrilled to be farming once again, as Farm Manager for Roots Memphis. He also plays in several jazz and rock groups in own, and has taught anthropology at the University of North Alabama since 2008. 


Sarah Laves

Sarah is excited to plant her feet even deeper in the local food system, stepping up from her early beginnings as an intern, to Food Hub Manager. Sarah recently graduated from Rhodes College where she studied biology and urban studies, discovering her love of food justice, plants, podcasts, and running. Drop by the Cooper-Young Farmers' Market on Saturdays to ask her about our CSAs possibilities, her recent farming on Easter Island, and her marathon training progress.