Andrea Abel, Executive Director
Andrea joined the Farmshare team in January 2017, but her hands have been in the dirt and her heart in food and agriculture for most of her life. She earned a BA in Spanish Literature from Carleton College in Minnesota, followed by a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, where her professional report was titled "The Definition and Regulation of Organic Foods."
Throughout her career, Andrea has focused on creating community sustainability in a variety of nonprofit and government positions: ensuring access to health care, increasing food security, improving environmental and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border region, wildlife conservation, protecting farmworker health.
She received the Betsey K. Cooke Grassroots MVP Award from the National Association of Community Health Centers, served for six years on the Sustainable Food Center board of directors 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.
Farmshare unites Andrea’s passions for providing food security by identifying social determinants of health, and using community-driven, collaborative problem-solving involving all levels of government and civil society.
Michelle Akindiya, Education Director
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.
Marissa Beveridge, Education Coordinator
Marissa is local to Hawaii and met her now-husband in Austin when she moved to Texas in 2012. She has her B.A. and M.S. in Communication Sciences & Disorders, but after college found herself buying healthy food and cooking for family members with chronic issues such as diabetes, cancer, and Celiacs disease. Her newfound interest in high-quality food brought her to Farmshare, where she graduated from Farmer Starter in Fall 2019 and was hired as Assistant Farm Manager in 2020. Marissa believes farming sustainably is an art and continues to be fascinated by its intricacies and complexities. She loves all the learning opportunities intrinsic in farming and has recently started training in beekeeping. As Education Coordinator, she feels honored and excited to support the Farmer Starters as they begin their farming journey.
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.
Natalie Hayhurst, Senior Manager, Food Access Team
Natalie is a native Austinite with a passion for food and sustainability. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2018, where she was able to foster her interests through academia and a study abroad program focusing on land use issues, especially as related to farming practices. After graduation, she wanted to put her knowledge to use in a hands-on setting. When she found this position with Farmshare, it was the perfect fit, allowing her to work with locally grown produce and share access, information and passion with communities around Austin.
Maggie fernandez, 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.
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, 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.
amalia parry, assistant farm manager
Amalia has grown tomatoes and lavender on the corner of Bushwick and Metropolitan in Brooklyn, and cucumbers and mint on Beacon Hill in Seattle. Raised in Houston, she moved back to her home state and the city that is the home of her heart (Austin!) in 2010, and was immediately intimidated by growing outdoors in the Central Texas weather. After a while playing around with an indoor home jungle to appease the green itch, and plenty long enough in the professional services world to realize that her square peg was never going to fit in that round hole, she discovered the joy of being a volunteer farmhand.
A quirk of fate led her to an opening in Farmshare Austin's Spring 2021 Farmer Starter program and opened her eyes to the possibility that she may have found where she fits at last. From building high tunnels in a peach orchard in Fredericksburg, to working as a seasonal harvester for a local wholesale farm, Amalia continues to find that farming is more fun than she has ever had in her entire life. She feels blessed to continue her farming education at Farmshare Austin and grateful to get to be of service and give back to her local communities in such a fundamental way.