Molly E. Hicks, PhD

Dr. Molly Hicks joined Manchester Bidwell Corporation’s Bidwell Training Center (BTC) in April 2021 to become Senior Director of Horticulture and Agriculture Technology. She oversees BTC’s adult Horticulture Technology training program and the Drew Mathieson Greenhouse, BTC’s educational social enterprise located in the Chateau neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Dr. Hicks has over twenty years of experience in education, horticulture, social work, community development, and local food system research. She has worked as a landscaper, schoolteacher, counselor for at-risk youth, community sexual health educator for Planned Parenthood, housing case manager for The Salvation Army, grower at a large wholesale perennial operation, and vocational horticulture instructor at a medium-security prison for men. She holds a master’s degree in Environmental Science, and a PhD in Environmental Studies, with a focus on seed saving, sustainable agriculture, and local food system development.

Dr. Hicks was brought to BTC to direct the horticulture program, and to transition the Drew Mathieson Greenhouse to more sustainable and relevant crop production that includes Controlled Environment Agriculture. Currently, she is working to implement a commercial, nearly ¼-acre hydroponic system. Students and staff will be able to grow produce for BTC’s Culinary Arts training program and sell to the local community as well. Once the hydroponic operation is established, she plans to develop a local food production certificate that will train Pittsburghers to work in this burgeoning sector in the region.

Dr. Hicks contributed the chapter, “Seeds and Sustainability: Why Keeping Seeds Local is an Act of Resistance and Resilience” in the book, Local Food Networks and Activism in the Heartland. She also reflected upon her time as a teacher on the inside in “Lessons from a Prison Garden: Planting Wheat and Breaking Bread with Nature and Each Other,” published in the journal, Whole Terrain.

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