Our Team

Alice McGary

Alice McGary is a hard worker with many diverse talents. Besides being the inspired and fearless founder/leader of Mustard Seed, she works part-time at Wheatsfield Co-op, plays the fiddle in the Porch Stompers, teaches pottery classes at the Workspace and still finds time to do things like eat, go to church, make new friends, change her socks, make donuts with Nate and draw pictures of vegetables. Alice has lived in a few different Catholic Worker houses in her lifetime and she has had a long-time passion for farming as well.

Nate Kemperman

Nate is a handsome young man who bakes at his job and then comes home and mixes up his own recipes. We are lucky to have someone who's so enthusiastic about bread on our team. He's is also a good weeder, and knowledgeable about wood, forests, and lots of other things! I couldn't find a picture of Nate on the farm, so here he is playing the bass with the Porch Stompers.

Elena Ingram

Elena studies at Iowa state majoring in horticulture with minors in African American studies and sustainability. She is currently working at the ISU horticulture research farm.

Aaron Mann

Aaron is learning all he can about farming, sustainability, and beekeeping before he heads off to college.

Suzanne Zilber

Suzanne is passionate and great at making things happen.

Adin Mann

Here is a picture of Adin by the leeks that he carefully weeded.

Maria Bergh

Maria likes making pie.

Nate Ryan

Nate Ryan likes animals, like chickens, ducks, and puppies. He also is great at solving practical problems and building useful things.


Gio is kind and sweet and a pleasure to be around. he knows a lot about grapes.

Ethan Evans

Ethan thinks 7 is auspicious. He is very good at being incredibly silly, serious, sarcastic and sincere. He cares a lot about prairie, insects, melons, and controlling canadian thistle. He lived with us the summer of 2016, and then headed back to Grinnell College.

Tristan Aschittino

Tristan has a lot to say about alternatives to Capitalism. He also is a Grinnell student who lived with us the summer of 2016.
this is the picture that tristan wanted, but i'm hoping to find a better one.

Savanna Lyons

Here is Savanna teaching a food canning, freezing, drying, fermenting workshop on the farm.
Savanna is leaving next week for her next adventure, and perhaps to write her food preservation cookbook.

Hannah Dankbar

I'm still looking for a picture of hannah.

Shari Reilly

Shari Reilly is a great member of our farm team, harvesting and delivering every week. She has a passion for justice, which she learned living the Catholic Worker life in Kansas City. She is currently living and working in campus ministy in Ames, and provides a good experience of the catholic worker community to our farm. Occasional she shows up with random nieces and nephews like the two pictured here!

Mark Groeneveld

Mark Groeneveld is great! He likes science things, star trek, and climbing in rafters. His friendliness and enthusiasm make everything fun.
Mark has moved away and is currently working in DC.

Ashley Hand

Ashley is now living near Dubuque and the rumor is that she is starting a farm homestead of her own. She enjoys playing outside, climbing trees and walls, riding her bicycle that her friends helped her put together, reading books, pretending she can play cello, knitting one scarf per year, and stir frying/crock-potting/blending food things.

Rafael Martinez

Rafael is a farm team member who worked on our farm the summer of 2010 and again while he was in grad school at ISU. Now that he lives in Des Moines, we see him less often, but we are filled with joy when we do. He plays guitar, is good at getting people to dance, and is shown at right with a chicken coop he helped build and use to train immigrant farmers starting a chicken cooperative.

Will Osterholtz

Will Osterholtz is great! He likes caring for the bees on the farm, making things from apples, and becoming educated in all things sustainable ag at Iowa State. Will has graduated, gotten his Phd and is doing a postdoc in Madison.

Usman Anwar

Usman Anwar is great! He likes making garden beds sometimes and photoshopping pictures of our cat.

Bekka Brown

Bekka is great! She is I think going to learn about communities and planning regions.


Shadowbeast kills our mice and every once in a while, a songbird. He is super cute though.

It is now 2014, and our team has changed quite a bit since it started. Here's what's going on with some of our old team-mates:

Nicholas Leete

Nicholas is originally from St. Paul, but now lives in New York City learning about building. He is interested in a lot of things, including permaculture, community gardens, dancing, tree crops and eating as many weeds and found plants as possible.

Gina Nicholas

Gina is a student in Sustainable agriculture at Iowa State, interested in various things, including chickens and carbon dioxide.

Rachel Boeke

Rachel Schmidt Boeke studied English and German and Iowa State, tries new recipes, reads, writes, crochets and rides her bicycle. Her favorite farm crops are okra, garlic and the cabbage family.

Craig Boeke

Craig Boeke is great, and now lives in Dubuque with Rachel

Karan Benton

Karan lived with us through the summer of 2012, and has now moved back to California. Aside from the farm, she's big into education and
theatre. Right now she's performing and setting up a one woman show around small Iowa libraries called "Driving the Body Back"

Kristen Loria

Kristen was an Americorps person working in the Ames school garden program, and while she was here, she also got involved with our farm. She's into cooking, farm hacking, and has now returned to her home state of New York to help Greenhorns, a new-farmer-promoting organization.

Morgan Landon

Morgan Landon was on the farm team in 2011 and 2012 as Iowa State student in communication studies, English and anthropology. In August, she moved to Minneapolis, where she is now in a Masters program at the University of Minnesota in Human Resources. Morgan enjoys dessert, making new friends, reading everything from Harry Potter to ethnographic research to psychological studies, and spending time with her rabbit, Hector. Her favorite farm crops are giant tomatoes, potatoes and garlic. Hector's favorite farm crop is kale.

Emily and Luc

Emily and Luc, pictured here, helped out at our farm through the summer of 2011. While they were here, they were interested in fermentation, growing vegetables, spirituality, and getting married. Now they are married in Washington state, and I'm not sure what they're interested in.

Steph Plant

Steph also worked with us the summer of 2010. She filled our farm with beautiful paintings, songs, and took care of vegetables too. She's now working at a school in I think Illinois.

Chris Corbin

Chris is still in Ames, but now has started a collabortive farm with his sweetie, Kim and Luke and Sally Gran. Check them out:

Ellen Walsh

Ellen Walsh is a passionate, enthusiastic and helpful star from Northeast Iowa. She's now married to Daniel Rosmann, and is living in Harlan County, Iowa on their new farm. The Rosmann's raise all sorts of organic things, like beef, popcorn, etc, and Ellen has started a small CSA out there.

Dave Miller

Dave has many important skills. He gives good canning guidance and can always be helpful in answering bird questions. He also enjoys using the tiller. He doesn't mind sleeping out in the early morning dew either. Dave has now moved out to the DC area, and i think he is studying amphibians. We miss him!

Martin Schroedter

When he's not busy staring at the sky looking for black holes, Martin shared his enthusiasm, tools, carpentry skills, and charming sincerity with us. He is now working in Arizona, with plans to bike up a mountain every day and look at the stars.


Ringo is an organic certifier, and makes sure that we're doing a pretty good job on keeping our farm good and safe for the nature. He's also a vigorous weeder and harvester, and plays music in a few different bands. That I remember, he played in the Lincoln based Triggertown, and he gave us a cd from the group that we enjoy listening to while farming. Currently, I believe he's in Michigan.

Colette Ryder-Hall

Colette Ryder-Hall is from Cape Cod Massachusetts. She has been a cook, a nanny, a barista, manager of an organic produce department, a teacher, a livestock caretaker, a cleaner and a writer. She's finished her schooling for her nursing degree, and plans to be in the Peace Corps this coming winter.

Chantal Roberts

Chantal Roberts is from the exotic locale of Ames Iowa, but enjoys spending her free time away from the hubub of the city to get her hands dirty. She enjoys biking around town, experimenting with her own urban garden, and cooking delicious things like Gado Gado and cheescake. She is passionate and a very good notetaker, and has been an intern with us through Iowa Women, Food and Agriculture Network. Last year, she moved to Worcester, Massachusetts, where she is now in a Masters program at Clark University in Environmental Science and Policy. This summer she visited Uganda to do research on agricultural development, and she looks forward to spending next year there researching agricultural technology field implementation and commercialization. Chantal enjoys cooking vegetarian food, traveling, and dancing to 80s music. Her favorite farm crops are the first harvested spinach, kale and okra.

Mary Tiedeman

Mary is a graduate student in sustainable agriculture at Iowa State University. She has had a share in our farm for a couple years, and this year is sharing a paid share which her boyfriend usually eats from while she teaches water and environmental science classes in Okoboji. She is very interested in geology, soils, and is a great cook and teacher. She was our WFAN intern two years ago.

Omar de Kok-Mercado

Omar is a student at Iowa State studying Agroecology, but he already knows a good deal about agriculture and ecology. He's built bat houses in several locations to control agricultural pests, including at our farm, and has a overflowing enthusiasm for native and edible plants. He's also interested in throat-singing, yoga, and lots of other cool things. 2011, he's working wih the ISU Student Organic Farm.

Tonya Simmons

Tonya Simmons helped with our web-savviness while she was in Ames. She and her family have moved to Des Moines.