Andrea Abel (she/her/hers)
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 Akindiya (she/her/hers)
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 (He/HIM/HIS)
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.
Alicia Fischweicher (SHE/HER/HERS)
Food Access Director
Alicia Fischweicher is originally from the Bronx, NY and has been living in Austin since 2011. She is a Culinary Institute of America trained chef and also studied Hospitality and Tourism Management at The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Alicia has been working with food in various capacities since 2005. Her work experience includes time at Michelin-rated restaurants, health food stores, catering and culinary arts education. She believes access to healthy, affordable food is a right and can unify and help grow communities. When she’s not cooking, Alicia is playing sports, enjoying time with friends and family and trying her best to travel the world. Alicia is eager to get people cooking and to enjoy the beautiful food that grows locally.
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.
Jordan Lake (she/they/ella)
Food Access Community Engagement Manager, Food Access Team
Jordan is a community organizer originally from Massachusetts, and food/food issues have been a throughline of her life. They got a B.S. from the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at UMass Amherst and have worked in virtually every aspect of the food system. Since 2018 she's been rooted in the immigrant rights movement, examining the intersections of migration and food injustice. They've spent recent years organizing alongside migrant farmworkers to eliminate human rights abuses in the fields with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and is excited to dive into food access work alongside the Austin community.
From production to consumption, she's seen the depths of injustice in the food system and is passionate about changing the conditions of our industrialized food system from every angle. Jordan dreams about a food system where workers have dignified & safe working environments, food production has a positive environmental impact, and where every person has access to affordable, fresh, culturally appropriate food.
PILAR RENDON (she/HER/ella)
Food Access OUTREACH COORDINATOR, Food Access Team
Pilar was born and raised in Mexico City, where she studied and earned a bachelor’s degree in Human Nutrition and Food Science. When she moved to the USA in 2002, she received her MS in Clinical Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health from NYU and became a Registered Dietitian. She worked at NY Presbyterian helping patients with eating disorders and other psychiatric disorders. When she became a mom, she switched from Clinical to Community Nutrition and started learning about food deserts and edible school gardens. Upon moving to Austin, she became a Master Gardener in Williamson County and started volunteering at her kids’ school garden, convinced that kids would eat more veggies if they grew them. While working in a food start-up, she came across the concept of the Planetary Diet, learning that the decision that we make while eating not only affects our body but also our planet, and this became her passion. Pilar then started studying about Climate Change, Agriculture and its relationship with human health — and then the opportunity to join the Farmer Starter program at Farmshare Austin came. This changed the way she thought about food, health, and our future on this planet. (Thanks, Michelle!) She fell in love with Farmshare Austin after eating its Yaya carrots and is thrilled to be working as the Food Access Outreach Coordinator to help spread the word about the importance of knowing where your food is grown and to make this good food accessible to everyone!
Yamayka garcia (SHE/HER/HERS)
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.
Diana Humphreys (SHE/HER/HERS)
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.
amalia STAGGS (SHE/HER/HERS)
When a corporate career came to a much-needed close, Amalia took a suggestion to “go outside and get your hands in some dirt” and inadvertently discovered the depth and richness of the Central Texas farming and ranching community by signing up as a volunteer farmhand. Volunteer farmhand led to accelerated education opportunities (thank you Farmshare!), led to a position as Harvest and Pack Manager for a season at Middle Ground Farm near Utley, Texas, led back to her dream job as Farm Manager at Farmshare Austin. Amalia is grateful to all the farmers who have shared their experience, knowledge and friendship, and fostered an abiding devotion to regenerative land stewardship and participation in building a more just and equitable local food system.
Adachi Ogbenna (she/they/SHEY)
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.