Our Team

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 Staff

Ty Brooks, Farm Director (he/him) ty.brooks@uga.edu is a Double Dawg with a bachelor’s in Wildlife Biology and master’s in Agricultural and Environmental Education. He is an experienced farmer who is passionate about organic growing practices. Ty loves spending time outside with his wife Anna Belle, their 2 daughters and their chiweenie Luna.

April McCoy, Farm Manager (she/her) april.mccoy@uga.edu graduated from UGA with a degree in ecology and a minor in studio art. She is interested in making sustainable agriculture accessible to more diverse communities.

Americorps VISTA Associates

Allie Johnston, Volunteer Coordinator graduated from UGA in 2023 with a degree in Horticulture. She likes working at UGArden because she gets to be a part of something bigger than just growing food. She finds it fulfilling to know that what we grow feeds people across Athens and teaches others about the value of our practices. She also loves tractors! Allie is a huge fan of the Dawgs and enjoys drives out to the Iron Horse statue.

Madison Dickey, Educational Program Coordinator (she/her) graduated from UGA in 2023 with a degree in Finance. She loves how UGArden unites sustainable agriculture, education and service. She finds that UGArden is teaching her to run an organic farm “both in character and in practice.” When she’s not at work, Madison loves getting outside, reading books, cooking and playing cards.


Erin Ideker, Communications Intern (she/her) is a 2nd year Landscape Architecture student. She likes working at UGArden because she gets to be outside every day learning something new. She also loves seeing all the animals that live at UGArden, especially the bunnies! In her free time Erin enjoys printmaking, sketching, and crafts of any kind. She can be reached at ugarden@uga.edu for press inquiries.

Autumn Girardin, Compost Intern (she/her) is a Horticulture and Agribusiness major graduating in 2025. She wanted to work at UGArden because it helped her fall in love with organic farming, and she felt welcomed by the friendly community. Autumn is a loose-leaf tea enthusiast with over 32 varieties in her collection. She drinks a cup every single day!

Student Workers

Is Padilla, Herb Student Worker (They/them) is a freshman majoring in Economics BBA and Social Entrepreneurship for Consumer Well Being with a Certificate in Sustainability. They wanted to be involved with UGArden because they are passionate about social and environmental justice and they love UGArden’s mission to help the community through sustainability initiatives. A fun fact about Is is that té de manzanilla (a Mexican variety of chamomile) saved their life.

HORT 3920 Interns

Ashton Fordham (he/him) is a 2nd year horticulture major. He wanted to get involved at UGArden to learn more about organic food production and he knew UGArden was the best place for him to learn. A fun fact about Ashton is that has four dogs named Pika, Dixie, Smokie, and Atlas.

Learn more about HORT 3920.

Master Volunteers

Donald Fowler, Resident Builder (he/him) 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 (he/him) 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, Master Composter (he/him)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.

Rand Young, Compost Manager (he/him) retired from his career as a cartographer/geographer in 2021 and soon after began volunteering at the UGArden. He was hooked right away. “There are a hundred reasons why I keep showing up at the UGArden. These are 3 big ones: First: The staff, faculty and students who I meet and work with there. Their knowledge, energy and the camaraderie are wonderful! Second: They grow tons of organic food and they share it with people in the local community who need it. Third: I always wanted a big, productive garden. Now I get to work in one, and I get to share the experience with others who love gardening too.”

Faculty Advisory Committee

April McCoy
Ty Brooks
Andie Bisceglia
Kate Cassity-Duffey
Leonardo Lombardini

Jennifer Thompson
David Knauft
Julie Campbell
Kevin Kirsche
Shannon Brooks

Amanda Tedrow
Jennifer Cruse-Sanders
Elizabeth Little