2015-16 Staff & Interns

Meet our 2015-2016 leadership team!

Farm Management

1603441_10152164426186913_1855979763_o (2)Stephanie Hamborsky

Director of Operations

Major: B.S. Plan II/B.S.A. Biology (Minor: Philosophy)

About me: I think critically about nearly everything, which is both a blessing and a curse. I’m extremely interested in veganic farming (organic, vegan) as a means to feed our entire planet and the innovative, sustainable methods which will make that possible. I also ponder often about drug policy reform and wealth inequality. I love being outside, and I love Texas weather!

Favorite thing about growing food: I love the challenge… While I’m constantly learning, I can’t imagine ever feeling satisfied with my knowledge. Growing food is both intuitive and wildly complex!

Why UT needs a farm: Growing food is a fundamental aspect of human survival, but unfortunately the majority of Americans don’t grow their own food and/or don’t know how to do so. Despite our vast amount of knowledge about innovative techniques, food accessibility is a tremendous problem in our society, and huge disparities exist everywhere… including Austin! I believe every human should have affordable access to nutritious food free of harmful chemicals. I believe teaching students and community members how to grow food and invest in local agriculture is of utmost importance if we want to overcome these food issues.

Spirit plant: Cherry tomatoes… abundant fruit production, and I love eating them as I harvest!

caveAudrey Nguyen

Director of Operations

Major: Philosophy and Biology

About me: I’m a highly curious individual with a thirst for knowledge and adventure. I constantly seek new experiences and perspectives. I strive to live with humility, compassion, and integrity.

Favorite thing about growing food: During a yoga class focused on redefining our individual definitions of success, my teacher passed out little slips of paper with the following quote:

“To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Planting something in the ground and fostering its growth and development increases the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, literally helping people breath easier. I think that’s pretty cool. I also really enjoy working with my hands and being surrounded by plants. It makes me feel closer to the earth.

Why UT needs a farm: Most of us consume our daily meals with little thought given to where the ingredients came from or how they ended up on our plates.  The Microfarm provides the UT community with hands-on opportunities to learn about responsibly-farmed produce, which fosters a deeper appreciation and connection with food!

Spirit plant: Orchid– They have the ability to thrive in a variety of climates and are capable of growing terrestrially, in trees, and on rocks. My middle name, Nhã Lan, translates into “royal orchid.”

Jake1Jake Greenfield

Director of Operations

Major: B.S. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, Certificate in the History and Philosophy of Science

About me: I am a Biology student with a 15-year career in hotels and restaurants. When I was in my late 20’s I was feeling increasingly helpless about environmental and social issues that surrounded the food system. I decided to return to school to work on green materials, but I was lucky enough to have a professor here that steered me back towards food issues.

Favorite thing about growing food: I think that the dynamic nature of plant growth is what really excites me about it. Being able to notice small changes in plants from one minute or day to another is really unexpected and cool.

Why UT needs a farm: At a rigorous place like UT it is very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day routine and lose sight of very basic and necessary things. Being a little closer to the food we eat can’t hurt, and for me at least, gives a little perspective.

Spirit plant: Prickly Pear Cactus, I’m a bit sharp at times but get past that and I make one hell of a salad.

Microfarm-ProfileJames Collins

Assistant Director of Operations 

Major: Government

About me: I enjoy using my knowledge and experience to lead others. I’m passionate about instilling sustainability and environmental stewardship in public policy and local communities. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading feminist poetry, listening to KUT and KUTX, eating Kerbey Lane pancakes, and hiking across the Texas Hill Country.

Favorite thing about growing food: Fresh food tastes great, no doubt about it! It’s rewarding to work with the farm (both the land and the people) and see our labor come to fruition. Plus the experience will help me write the “food production” manual for my doomsday bunker in the basement of Welch Hall.

Why UT needs a farm: In just about any part of the world outside the US, food is an essential part of culture and tradition. The UT Microfarm demonstrates that food isn’t just a commodity — it’s an integral part of our lives.

Spirit Plant: Bermuda Grass. I’m going to be everywhere, and there’s no easy way to get rid of me.


DSC_0972Alex Lord

Blog Editor and Farm Stand Operations

Major: Psychology, B.S. (Minor: Biology)

About me: I love photography, baking, boston terriers, environmentalism, yoga, good food, traveling, and live music.

Favorite thing about growing food: Nothing beats the sweet satisfaction of watching your work come to life and knowing you’ve helped the environment along the way. It’s also a blast getting away from the computer and getting your hands dirty!

Why UT needs a farm: UT is meant to educate its students inside and outside of the classroom. The microfarm is an awesome way to teach people about the importance of sustainability, the environment, health, and how to grow your own food- knowledge everyone should have!

Spirit plant: A succulent- I thrive under tough conditions and am nice to have in the house.

imageAmy Marsh

Compost Management

Major: French and International Relations

About me: I love to talk to people, I can lay in bed and read for hours, and I’m entirely obsessed with anything and everything French related.

Favorite thing about growing food: My favorite thing about growing food is that it is a grand commonality among humans: we all have to eat. It is something that brings people together in the production of food as well as the consumption.

Why UT needs a farm: It’s an awesome opportunity to meet new people and work together to better our community!

Spirit plant: I think my spirit plant would have to be a strawberry plant: I need a lot of sunshine and don’t thrive during winter!

brendon.jpegBrendon Kaufman

Farm Stand Operations

Major: French Linguistics

About Me: I’m a first year grad student that just moved down to Austin from New Jersey. I’m excited to live in such a dynamic and growing city. Besides chatting about linguistics (grammar, phonology, word origins), I currently like to play racquetball, listen to Steely Dan, and walk around Zilker Park while listening to podcasts. My first farming experience was this past summer when I WWOOFed (volunteered) on an organic vegetable farm near Bozeman, Montana. My picture is taken on top of a peak in the Bridger Mountains, a small section of the Rockies in Montana.

Favorite thing about growing food: Being on farms has increased my exposure to different foods. I can safely say that if it weren’t for farming, I would never have cooked with kale, mustard greens, or chervil. I also think chickens and ducks are hilarious.

Why UT needs a farm: I was very surprised to hear about the farm when I got down here. My limited experience at the farm stand has taught me how important the farm is for educational outreach. The more people get their hands in the dirt, the more willing they understand the importance of homegrown food.

Spirit Plant: Rhubarb, it’s mad fun to harvest!

MicroFarm picBridget Harter

Beautification Director

Major: Environmental Science

About me: I love hiking, running, and creating crafts from recycled materials. I’m passionate about conservation, environmentalism and ways to lead a sustainable lifestyle!

Favorite thing about growing food: The best part about growing food is seeing your handwork payoff in the end.

Why UT needs a farm:  It is important for UT students to learn how to live a sustainably so our limited resources can support future generations. The Microfarm provides students with valuable knowledge that can be shared with others to create sustainable communities anywhere.

Spirit Plant:  A lily. It takes time for me to open up.

karapKara Poso

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Major: Environmental Science

About me: I’m passionate about enjoying the company of good friends, my education, being active in my day to day life, getting outdoors as much as possible, traveling anywhere, eating good food, riding my bike around town, and spending time with my darling pup Peaches.

Favorite thing about growing food: I really enjoy watching the stages of progress. All of the different steps it takes to grow food are unique from one another but it can’t be done unless they come together. It’s pretty rewarding to see your work transition!

Why UT needs a farm: Communities of people have been coming together over food for a long time, it is a huge part of our culture and bonds us together. As important as food is in our society almost nobody today knows where their food comes from, or even how it looks before it gets to the market, and it’s certainly not appreciated for the work and resources that went in to growing it. Having a farm at UT puts some perspective on this importance and provides a place to learn more about food and be a part of a community. UT Microfarm is an awesome way for people to connect with each other and get in touch with their food!

Spirit plant: A Sotol, because I’ve got my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds.

FullSizeRenderKatie Aplis

Education and Outreach  Coordinator

Major: Environmental Science

About me: I love the outdoors from mountains to deserts and everything in between. Im passionate about the environment, sustainability and having a positive impact on the planet that we will pass on to the next generation. I enjoy live music, traveling and art museums. I’m also a big fan of puns and falafel.

Favorite thing about growing food: It is rewarding to see your time and effort come to life and to have transparency in what you eat.

Why UT needs a farm: The lovaculture movement is an integral part of creating a sustainable world. Its important to educate ourselves and our community about the benefits of local farming and provide a space for students to learn more!

Spirit Plant:  Wildflowers because they can grow anywhere.

jjkkMelanie Brown

Social Media and Blog Contributor  

Major: Nutrition

About me: I love yoga, running, sunshine, and being outside! food and fitness are my passion, and i love sharing them both with my friends and family.

Favorite thing about growing food: Eating it afterwards.

Why UT needs a farm: Ut needs a farm because it not only provides for us, but teaches us what knowledge, discipline, community, and lovveeee can grow!

Spirit Plant:  Sunflower.

IMG_20150921_194629Sierra Ehlers

Fertilization and Pest Control Coordinator

Major: Neuroscience

About me: I LOVE the outdoors. Many times I prefer to just sit outside and observe. Nature as a whole is an entire realm of entertainment ya know! I live by the motto “Just be Yourself”, because you can achieve no greater happiness than simply being you. I will tell anyone and everyone to listen to Enya, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin! I’m a very curious person. Oh, and I can totally live off of sushi.

Favorite thing about growing food: Well firstly, you couldn’t find anything better tasting than the food you grow yourself. Secondly, it’s allows us to take a minute, get away from the stresses of life, and ground with nature. It can be very peaceful and powerful.

Why UT needs a farm: A big factor to consider when eating is where the food even came from. Sadly, I find that many times its not what I was looking to hear. Having a farm on campus allows a supply of fresh produce to be provided. We would all know where the food came from, and the best part is the delicious taste!
Spirit plant: Daisy. These cute flowers so fragile and simple while always being so bright and happy.

IMG_0016 (1)Stuart McNulty

Fertilization and Pest Control Coordinator   

Major: Finance

About me: I’m a 21 year old, aspiring musician who somehow wound up going to college for business… it’s a long story

Favorite thing about growing food:  Being outside and getting a little dirty.

Why UT needs a farm: So we can continue to have delicious foods on campus and help foster student’s interest in sustainable lifestyles.

Spirit Plant:  Spinach