2014-15 Staff & Team Leaders

Farm Management

caveAudrey Nguyen

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.”

Development Staff

1603441_10152164426186913_1855979763_o (2)Stephanie Hamborsky

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!

Team Leaders

Compost Lead

IMG_1774Shelly Bergel

Major: Environmental Science with a geology focus, B.S.

About me: The things in life I love and value most are cats, ducks, just about all other animals, everything about nature from a single cell to the universe (or multi-verse), art, science, philosophy, and climbing things.  The things I hate most in life are concrete, dishonesty/insincerity, closed-mindedness, and lack of appreciation for all the great things that we take for granted.

Favorite thing about growing food: Well, I think I deal more with decomposition of dead organic matter than growing food, but my favorite thing about both of those is observing the cycles of nature.  Anyone who eats food without knowing where it comes from or where the waste goes is missing out on all the fun and meaning in life!  Maybe.  

Why UT needs a farm: Working on a farm brings us closer to Earth, closer to pureness and farther from materialism.  Food doesn’t magically appear in a grocery store or restaurant, and I think that it is eye-opening to watch the initial stages of the processes of food production.  Who knew that humans are actually part of Earth (literally) and not some separate superior entity that is capable of magic?

Spirit plant:: I identify with onions, but I’m not sure why.  

Pest Control Lead

NatashaNatasha Arteaga

Major: Geography, B.A. (Minor: Geology)

About me: I was born in Venezuela and I’ve called both the Lone Star state and the Sunshine state my home since I’ve been here. I love red velvet cake, hummus, kombucha, masala chai, and Kerbey Lane pancakes. Hook ’em! \m/

Favorite thing about growing food: The best part of growing food is how eye-opening it is. We don’t realize how privileged we are in being able to buy veggies and fruits at a supermarket. There’s so much work and dedication behind it, and farming encourages to be conscious and not wasteful. It’s also extremely de-stressing to pull weeds.

Why UT needs a farm: I think UT needs a farm so that its’ student can be aware of where their food comes from and how satisfying it is to be apart of the process.

Spirit plant: Celery- It’s just so crunchy.

Farm Stand/Blog Editor

DSC_0972Alex Moos

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

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

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.