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, Assistant Farm Manager
Marissa is local to Hawaii and met her now-husband in Austin after 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 and Celiac disease. Her newfound interest in high-quality food brought her to Farmshare, where she graduated from our Farmer Starter Fall 2019 class and was chosen as our current Assistant Farm Manager.
Marissa's future goals involve operating a family farm with her husband and in the meantime, she's thrilled to be part of the Farmshare Austin team providing fresh, nutritious food for the greater Austin community.
Mariana bonilla, Mobile Market Coordinator
Mariana's passion for building a more ecologically sound and socially just food system landed her at Farmshare in 2018. She graduated with a B.A. from New College of Florida in 2017 after completing her senior thesis titled, "'What we are doing here is small but I think this is the future': Two Case Studies for Establishing Agricultural Intentional Communities as a New Social Movement." Her research took her to two international farms where she not only gained valuable hands-on experience but saw the deep intersection of agriculture and social justice. She has worked on several farms in the Central Texas area, and is trained in beekeeping and clinical herbalism.
Natalie Hayhurst, Senior Manager
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.
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.
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 her bachelor’s from Texas A&M University in Agricultural Leadership & Development with an emphasis in Political Science. She stayed at her alma mater to earn an M.S. in International Agricultural Development. 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 recently brought home the knowledge and experience necessary to improve food access in her new city with Farmshare Austin.
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.
Carlos Vences, program manager
Carlos grew up in Central Texas riding horses, raising chickens, and eating local produce. His appreciation for agriculture came naturally through his family background, an avid interest in rodeos, and love of local food. A graduate of Texas State University with a B.S. in Agriculture Business with an entrepreneurial spirit, Carlos owned and operated a small business for several years but decided to direct his focus on agriculture and achieve his long-time goal of turning his land into a sustainable farm. He joined the Farmshare team to learn more about organic farming practices while spreading access to healthy food across his home of Central Texas.