Andrea joined the Farmshare team in January 2017 but her hands have been in the soil and her heart in food and agriculture for most of her life. Throughout her career, she has focused on creating community sustainability in a variety of nonprofit and government positions. Farmshare unites Andrea’s passions for ensuring that food access is a human right by implementing community-driven, collaborative problem-solving involving all levels of government and community.
She currently is an appointee to the Austin Travis County Food Policy Board and co-chairs the Healthy Food Access Working Group. She received the Betsey K. Cooke Grassroots MVP Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers and was appointed by EPA Administrator Carol Browner to the National Advisory Committee on Trade and Environment and by Governor Ann Richards to the Governor’s Commission on Women. Andrea earned a BA in Spanish Literature from Carleton College and a Master of Public Affairs from the LBJ School at the University of Texas where her professional report was titled "The Definition and Regulation of Organic Foods."
Michelle caught the farming bug in 2005 when she left a theatre career in Chicago for an internship on a farm in Southern Wisconsin. She continued her farmer training with Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training (CRAFT) and the Michael Fields Institute, while managing a CSA farm and vineyard outside of Chicago. Returning to Austin in 2009, she worked with Gabriel Valley Farms and managed the urban farms at the Monument Cafe in Georgetown,TX. Michelle loves the endless learning opportunities inherent to farming, and she loves to share her passion for sustainable growing with the community and is excited to nurture a new crop of farmers.
casey frank, Education & operations Coordinator, Education team
Born and raised in Austin, TX, Casey feels a deep sense of commitment to the community. After graduating from The University of Texas, he volunteered internationally for three years, often on farms where he was able to nurture his passion for nature and feeding his loved ones. Casey’s travel aspirations were cut short when, at 27, he received a cancer diagnosis that set him on a path of learning how to use food as medicine. This experience instilled in him a determination to work toward a future in which access to quality food is a human right, rather than a privilege. As the new Education & Operations Coordinator at Farmshare, he feels honored to help empower aspiring farmers to reshape our food system. When not working, Casey enjoys spending time in the kitchen pretending to be a reality T.V. chef with his dog Kuma.
Heather Helman, Food Access Director
Heather fell in love with sustainable agriculture and urban food systems during college, when she spent a summer working on a small organic farm out West. She then went on to farm at various rural and urban farms throughout the country for several years, including in her hometown of Buffalo, New York and in Birmingham, Alabama. She is deeply passionate about improving community food security and food sovereignty. These interests led her to work with both urban food policy as well as the facilitation and maintenance of a large network of community gardens in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, NY until she moved to Austin in Fall 2018. Heather believes that fresh, healthy food for all communities is a right, not a privilege, and this belief is her driving motivation as the Food Access Director for Farmshare Austin. She is very excited to continue growing her own garden here in Texas, where there is significantly less snow to contend with.
Maggie fernandez (she/her/ella)
operations manager, Food Access Team
Maggie grew up in Central Texas but only recently moved back to the Lone Star State. She graduated with a B.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University in 2015. After college she moved to New Mexico where she developed a passion for sustainable agriculture and began working on an organic vegetable farm. Her enthusiasm for farming led her to move to Panama as a Sustainable Agriculture Systems volunteer in the Peace Corps. Since returning home, she has decided to continue her work in sustainability and food access here at Farmshare Austin.
CLAIRE TAUB (she/her/HERS)
procurement & logistics manager, Food Access Team
Claire and her love of farming are rooted in the Vermont soil. Claire is from the small town of Bennington, VT on the Vermont/New York State border and has been farming in the area since she was 16. She attended Wesleyan University where she graduated with a B.A. in Sociology. In addition to farming, Claire has experience in the non-profit space with organizations promoting access to the outdoors in urban areas. She has helped with the funding and execution of environmental education programs for an NYC-based non-profit and supported public programs for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy. It was in these experiences that Claire became committed to fighting injustices in outdoor spaces and working towards an equitable food system. After a recent move to Austin, Claire is excited to marry her backgrounds and interests here at Farmshare Austin with the Food Access Team.
Yamayka garcia, food access coordinator, Food Access Team
Yamayka is originally from Laredo, TX, a small city located just along the U.S-Mexico Border. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2021, where she completed her B.A. in Sustainability Studies. It was through her studies that she was able to learn about the different barriers and inequities that exist within our current food system. It was this knowledge that first sparked her interest in food accessibility, regenerative farming, and food sustainability. After graduation, she wanted to focus her efforts towards improving Austin’s local food system and acquire first-hand experience with farming.
Chris reyes, food access coordinator, Food Access Team
Chris joined the Farmshare team in July of 2021 after working as a nutritionist in the Texas WIC program. He became familiar with the group after seeing them setup at the Sustainable Food Center's farmers market that he, along with other crew members, run.
Moving to Austin in 2015 to earn his B.S.A. from the University of Texas, he nurtured his passion for food access and equitable nutrition. Because food access is so important to him, Chris saw Farmshare's Fresh for Less mission meshing well with his own. His efforts are aimed at working directly with individuals in the community and building relationships across the local food system.
When he is not working, Chris enjoys exercising in his at-home gym, cooking, as well as running with his dog Aleu. He also works outside in his garden so he always enjoys learning what he can from the Education team at Farmshare.
Diana Humphreys, Office Manager
Diana recently moved to Austin, Texas with her husband and 2 young children. She is originally from Italy, and at the age of 7 she moved with her family to Massachusetts. She became involved with her family’s automotive repair business from an early age. After graduating from Lasell College with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management, she managed the family business and knows all the ins and outs of how a small business operates. She comes to us with 20 years of extensive business management and bookkeeping experience.
Daniela Silva (she/they/ella)
communications & outreach manager
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Daniela received a B.S. in Agricultural Leadership & Development with a minor in Political Science from Texas A&M University. She stayed at her alma mater to earn an M.S. in Agricultural Leadership, Development & Communications. Between degrees, her lifelong interest in the intersection between agricultural sustainability and social justice led her to the Peace Corps, where she served as an Environmental Action and Food Security volunteer. Daniela firmly believes in food sovereignty as a basic human right and aims to equip as many Austinites with the tools they need to become food sovereign.
Ali Stone, Farm Manager
Ali Stone grew up in the chilly yet bustling city of Minneapolis, MN. Fleeing the cold, she traveled throughout the states farming along the way. After volunteering on a dozen farms, found mostly through the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF) site, it was time to make a longer term commitment to farming. Falling in love with the community of San Marcos, TX, she started her official career as a vegetable farmer in Central Texas. Off the farm, she co-organizes events for the Central Texas Mycological Society (for the love of mushrooms!), is the secretary for the Central Texas Young Farmers Coalition and is working her way through a degree in Microbiology, Spanish, and Soil Science at Texas State University.
Adachi Ogbenna (she/they), Assistant Farm Manager
Hailing from the suburbs of the City of Brotherly Love, Adachi is a graduate of the Farmer Starter program herself. With a majority of her large family living in their home country Nigeria in West Africa, food insecurity is a global human rights issue that has always been near and dear to their heart. They obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Minor in Studio Arts: Photography from Trinity College (Hartford, CT). As a sociology student living in an urban food desert where residents experienced evident racial disparities, she found herself consciously reflecting on the ways in which her options and access to healthy food, along with millions of other Americans’, were inadvertently decided for her. Deeply resonating with Farmshare’s purposeful commitment to increase food access in historically disenfranchised communities and to empower aspiring growers with the skills to sustainably and organically farm, she feels she's found the farming community for her.
A natural born flower child, their floral fascination started young and certainly has blossomed into more than just a hobby over the years. Captivated by the vast world of cut and edible flowers, Adachi continues to explore its diverse intricacies and expand her knowledge through practical education experience on and off the farm.
Lia Ballentine (she/Her/Hers), Development & Communications Manager
Lia was born in the Philippines and raised in East Tennessee, where she cultivated her love of the outdoors and nurtured her interest in local farming and sustainability. While in Tennessee, she volunteered as a "virtual farmhand" for area family farms, helping them with market communications—including photography, produce guides, recipe development and CSA outreach. Lia comes to Farmshare with a deep interest in building sustainable and equitable food systems. Harnessing her professional background in corporate communications and food entrepreneurship, she is eager to help Farmshare amplify its mission and grow its community of supporters.