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Who We Are

UGArden is supported by a wonderful group of student volunteers, UGArden Club members, interns, a farm manager, Americorps Volunteers, UGA faculty, Master Gardeners and community members. The continued success and growth of UGArden is the result of the dedication and hard work of these people. The people that make up the UGArden community give freely of their time and energy. Without them, UGArden is just a roadside field.

UGArden Spring ’20 Interns

Emma Kate Beckwith is double-majoring in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management and Women’s Studies with a minor in Horticulture. She wants to join the Peace Corps after school and become a park ranger in the future.

Lilly Mangel is completing her first semester at UGA and will be majoring in Horticulture and International Affairs. She is interested in learning about sustainable plant production and also law. She loves animals, especially cats, and enjoys spending her time outdoors hiking or camping. She is excited to kinesthetically learn how a small-scale organic farm operates.

Marley Brown is a senior Ecology student at UGA. In her free time, she enjoys taking care of her bunnies and crested gecko, playing video games, watching Netflix, and reading about small-scale farming. She’s interning at UGArden to get hands-on experience on an organic vegetable farm and learn about the day to day operations. In the future, she hopes to find innovative ways to sustainably produce healthy food for our local communities.

Macon Chapman was born and raised in Oconee County, Georgia. He is a senior majoring in landscape architecture at the College of Environmental Design. His hobbies include graphic design, hiking, and disc golf.

Hayley Hunter is from Ball Ground, Georgia. She is majoring in journalism with a minor in horticulture and a certificate in sustainability. After college, she hopes to go into environmental journalism. She loves to cook and hike and obviously, garden.

Wesley is a soft-spoken yet diligent veggie bather.

Michael Conners is a chemistry student from Arizona who likes to drink medicinal herb tea while learning about medicinal herbs. Ever since he was a kid, he’s looked for every opportunity to break off from the normal routine of life and spend some time outside. So this is him doing that. However, he’s sure he’ll learn a little something along the way and is excited to grow in his knowledge of gardening. In the future, he hopes to cultivate and study plants in a lab of his own.

UGArden Staff

JoHannah Biang (Farm Manager) has a MS in Horticulture. JoHannah plans and oversees the seasonal planting, teaches and supervises student interns, assists with class instruction, gives tours, conducts workshops in the Athens community, and too many other tasks to mention. Her positive outlook and energy keep UGArden growing. Last fall, she began work on a PhD in Crop and Soil Sciences, researching the impact of UGArden on the hundreds of students who have passed through our gates.

Noelle Fuller (Herb Program Coordinator) has a Certificate of Herbal Studies from the Botanologos School of Herbal Medicine and an M.S. in Horticulture from UGA. This summer she has started work on a PhD in Horticulture, focusing on extraction and measuring CBD and other essential oils derived from hemp. She enjoys experimenting with herbs in her kitchen, teaching, researching, foraging and posting on her instagram account @iamnoellejoy.

Lynae Bresser (Volunteer Coordinator) graduated from UGA with a degree in environmental economics and management and a minor in German. She’s a big fan of all creatures, from hanging with snakes at herpetology events to working on an organic sheep farm learning to make cheese before coming to UGArden. She’s happy to be expanding her knowledge of organic farming through her AmeriCorps position.

Sarah Rucker (Assistant Farm Manager) is a 2017 UGA graduate and has spent the past few years working on several organic farms. From urban flower farming in Portland, Oregon to designing a chef garden for a farmhouse restaurant in South Georgia, Sarah enjoys learning the diverse approaches to sustainable agriculture used across the country. She spends her free time reading, cooking, and foraging for mushrooms, flowers, and four-leaf clovers.

Victoria Luna (Student Assistant Farm Manager) is a fourth year Horticulture student, with a minor in Spanish. She loves reading, listening to podcasts, and going dancing with friends. She aspires to move to an urban area, and through innovation and team work, make it more sustainable.

Philip “Wick” Prichard (Grow it, Know it Coordinator) coordinates the Grow it Know it Program at the four middles schools in Clarke County. Wick enjoys teaching students to cook straight from the garden. He is also unabashed to sing about worms and compost.

Erica Head is majoring in human development and family sciences with a minor in human services. She just completed her freshman year at UGA. She loves cats and coffee. She is on the UGA women’s club rugby team.

Lily Dabbs is a senior Geography major with a certificate in Urban and Metropolitan Studies. She hopes to pursue work in Community Development and further education in City and Regional Planning.  Lily started at UGArden as a Farm Intern, and is currently the UGArden Compost Intern through the UGA Office of Sustainability as well as the president of UGArden Club.

Kasey Stevens is finishing up her last year at UGA studying Food Industry Marketing & Administration with a minor in Agribusiness & Management. She spent the summer working for two wineries in North Georgia. She aspires to use her creativity along with her love of sustainable agriculture to start a career in marketing for a sustainable food company.

Alexis Kotsis is a Biology and Psychology 4th year student at UGA. She is really interested in herbal medicine, especially in relation to Neuroscience. She loves gardening and spending time outside and is eager to learn the logistics of farm.

Allie Lindke is a third year PhD student studying nutrition while also finishing up her Masters in Agribusiness. She is originally from Ohio but moved to the South about two years ago to start her graduate program at UGA. Her research at UGA is focused on the development and implementation of plant-based protein entrees into the National School Lunch Program. She is excited to intern at UGArden to get some time away from the traditional classroom and more time learning outdoors!

Sandy Begani is a graduate student in the Horticulture Department. Her research at UGArden centers on evaluating various methods of drying holy basil and post harvest handling of holy basil in general. She also works full time as a greenhouse assistant manager for the Horticulture Department.

Master Volunteers

Donald Fowler (Resident Builder) is from Cordelle, GA. He is a retired contractor. Donald is our resident tiny house finisher, shelf builder and general handy-man.

Dr. Peter Hartel (Mushroom Guru) is a retired UGA soil microbiology professor who has a passion for organics, especially chickens and mushrooms. He has constructed a very efficient shiitake mushroom growing area at UGArden as a demonstration. Peter teaches classes in mushroom production (shiitake and oyster mushrooms) to students and volunteer.

Bert Richards (Compost Manager) is a Master Gardener Extension Volunteer and helps at the UGA Trial Gardens, State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and UGA Horticulture Farm. He recently completed the Master Composter course and currently oversees composting at UGArden. He retired from Georgia State University as Lecturer in Accounting in 2013.

Amanda Whitsel began volunteering at UGArden upon retirement from farming. She was drawn to the medicinal Garden because of her belief in herbal cures. Amanda loves all that she has learned since beginning volunteering, especially all the people that she has met, along the way.

Lina Aguirre

UGArden Director

David Berle, Associate Professor has been interested in organic food production since his undergraduate years in the late 70’s. He has a passion for mentoring students and exposing them to real-world experiences. He teaches classes in horticulture science, organic gardening, landscape design, and sustainable food production.

Faculty Advisory Committee

Tim Coolong
Brad Davis
Paul Guilebeau
Elizabeth Little
Jenn Jo Thompson
Shannon Wilder