meet our farmers


A farmer digs between crops
Abdel Mohamdian


Originally from West Sudan, Abdel has been growing at Spaces since 2018. He is an organic farmer and grows watermelon, cucumbers, okra, a variety of eggplant, hot red chili, green chili, and peppers. He is grateful that Spaces has given him the

opportunity to participate in the work he enjoys doing. As a farmer, he looks forward to more ways that he can support the community.

Bridgette Pettis

Bridgette Pettis, CEO of Project Roots Foundation has been at Spaces a little over 3 years, She grows collars,kale,Broccoli,Beets, Onions and lettuce. Project roots is a family that provides healthy real food to the community here in south Phoenix. Spaces has helped her organization grow within the community. Project Roots wants to create more awareness on the importance of the community growing their own food and the importance of local growers and farmers markets. You can find out more about Project Roots and other ways to get involved at


Carol Diemer

Carol Diemer who is 55 grows vegetables, herbs, edible flowers.She is thankful for Spaces as it helped her initiate her journey as a farmer and an advocate for the environment. Carol loves that things are being diverted from the landfill that are actually food for the soil and the microbes. She utilizes the soil in my farming and can feel and see the difference in the plants.

A great way to be involved at Spaces of Opportunity is to volunteer on second and fourth Saturdays or talk to any of the farmers and get to know them. Also, just go up to a Gardener and start talking to them. Bring the community to feel like a family. Spaces of Opportunity is offered opportunity, promotes, natural, pesticide, use, organic practices, community awareness, environmental advocacy. It also brings in so many community resources, beneficial to the land and the community and the food system which she is very happy to be part of. 


Diana Gregory

Gregory’s Farm grows over 15 vegetables and fruits on the land which include, beets, radishes, lettuce, kale, eggplant, leafy greens, cabbage, peppers, green onions, zucchini, eggplant, okra, cauliflower and various melons and squash. We follow the seasonal calendar. When asked Why Farming?  Her response was the following:The Roman philosopher Seneca was attributed with saying that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. When the opportunity to get this land presented itself, I knew that the harvest of the seeds sown would be plentiful. I am blessed to live in Arizona where the climate provides growing opportunities year-round. As a novice farmer, I was excited to join the ranks of those tilling the land. This full circle event allowed me to provide pesticide free produce from my land to seniors and veterans in the community at no charge. Her farm helps to supplement the fresh fruit and vegetables we provide for our seniors and helps close that gap created by food deserts in the county. Our produce allows us to provide fresh vegetables and fruits every day of the year for our seniors. “Food is medicine, medicine is food” so contributing to a senior’s healthy lifestyle resonates with my brand mission.” Diana hopes to continue to steward the land and increase the amount of produce grown to supplement those in need. She would also welcome the opportunity, God willing, to expand our land. She finds gardening relaxing and therapeutic. Getting her hands in the dirt can be fun, not to mention the amount of vitamin D she receives from the sun.


Elaine Atwood

AKA Steam Donkey Farms. Elaine Atwood who is 65 grows what is in season year-round. Some items such as Moringa turned into a variety of teas and powder that help support farmer’s markets and community programs to extend the season. Her favorite items to grow are perennials, such as moringa, artichoke, and lavender. For annual produce, her favorites are a variety of greens, salad accessories, and edible flowers for salad kits making life easier for customers with busy schedules. A variety of watermelon is my all-time favorite in summer. Elaine has been farming at Spaces going on four years on ¼ acre now adding another ¼ acre. She has become more proficient in urban farming rather than gardening. Spaces means family to Elaine. It has offered her the opportunity to meet and work with people from all over the world.The more you visit the bigger we grow. Letting the farmer do what they do best, filling your needs and bringing a smile to your face.


Emily Heller

Bene Viviendo Farm- Emily Heller who is 61 is the owner of Bene Viviendo Farm. She has been growing edible flowers,herbs,veggies and fruit following organic methods at Spaces since March 2022. She is grateful to have Spaces of Opportunity provide a much needed access to farmland for her to grow in a local area. She strongly believes that small-scale farmers can contribute to the local food supply and hopes to create a sustainable and successful operation where she can eventually make a living. One fun fact about Emily is that farming is her third professional career. Want to find out what the other two are? Come and volunteer with her at Spaces and ask her yourself.


Hussein Alhamka

Al-Hamka Farm & Bakery-Hussein Alhamka, owner of Al-Hamka Farms & Bakery along with his family,have been part of Spaces of Opportunity Incubator farmers since the beginning of the project. He grows almost everything. Onions, garlic, parsley, radishes, turnips, broccoli, cauliflowers, kale, dill, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, eggplants, squash, carrots, melons, and watermelons, okra, peppers, lemon, mix lettuce, spinach, oranges, and grapefruits and many more produces. He chose farming to provide healthy organic food to his family, friends and the community. He hopes to achieve more land to grow more produce. Also, he wants the customers to visit his land to harvest whatever they want or need themselves. In that matter, customers will have the idea and learn about the growing process. Additionally, customers will have the opportunity to know where the organic produce is coming from and will learn the harvesting techniques. Hussein owns a very special seed that no other farmer has which he saves every year, it’s an Armenian cucumber seed. You can find this unique cucumber at the farmers’s market onsite.

A farmer plants small sprouts between rows of mature plants
Jesus Nanjera Rueda

Jesus is  60 years old and has  been working at Spaces for about 7 years. Spaces has been a great opportunity for Jesus to play my skills. Coming from another country he never imagined that he would have the opportunity to work as a farmer, develop his own values and knowledge. He grows Vegetables that Grow Underground like, garlic, onion, carrots, beets, etc. also like to grow cilantro, parley, fava beans. Jesus grew up watching his father work in the fields and have always been passionate about everything related to it.He enjoys being a farmer, it’s like a seed of love inside your soul that gets nourished to its full potential. He hopes to achieve great things, like expanding. Improving his land, having more produce and helping people who need it, so that all people can have healthy food in their homes for their families.

Rodney and Daphine Machokoto

Machokoto Family Farm/Edenic Gardens-Rodney and Daphine Machokoto are the proud owners of the Machokoto family farm along with their three kids all under 10 years of age. They grow tomatoes, carrots, onions, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, radishes, cilantro, lettuce, spinach, peppers, etc. Essentially, almost every vegetable. The Machokoto family has been at Spaces for almost four years.Spaces has been a place to expand their  learning from other farmers and build their capacity both in terms of knowledge and resources. You can visit this beautiful family at Spaces on Sunday mornings. Feel free to give them a heads up at


Sarah Hipperson

Moirae Farm-Sarah Hipperson is 40 years old and has been with Spaces of Opportunity since fall of 2019. She grows vegetables and thi is her first year on cut flowers and edible flowers. Spaces has given her the  access to sizable land, which means the opportunity to pursue her passion. Which otherwise was very difficult for me to attain with agricultural land being very difficult to attain in an urban setting. She is always open to volunteers. Since she works her land alone. So any extra hands who are willing to get muddy, dirty and learn how easy and difficult it is to make food from the land is always a way people can get involved. Fun fact about Sarah is: born and raised in Benghazi, Libya. I moved to Dubai, UAE when I was 10. I then moved to the states in 2002. And, I am half Filipino and half British.


Stella Mcphee


The Horny Toad Farm-Stella McPhee is 48 years old along with her partner Jordanne of 40 Akres have worked on an inherited plot from their dear friend Stephanie who was one of the original growers at Spaces. Stella and Jordanne grow all kinds of fruits and vegetables such as radishes, greens, beets, carrots, cucumbers, melons, peppers, lettuce, garlic, and onions. They hope to be able to farm as long as they breathe. Stella’s vision is to buy and cultivate more land. Spaces of Opportunity has helped them connect, learn, and grow with more local farmers. It has given them the opportunity to  learn about resources in the community and discover avenues of funding and revenue. Spaces has also provided an incredible sense of security in farmland which has been nearly impossible over the last 10 years due to development. Fun fact about them is that we are both teachers and social workers as well as proud mothers. They are dedicated to passing knowledge and a passion for farming onto the next generation.The Horny Toad Farm/ 40 Akres collaboration is always looking for more volunteers to come out and learn how to grow in the desert!


Join Our Community

You’re invited to help keep this community of sustainability growing. Whether you want to volunteer your time, donate or just want to come out and support the market, everyone is welcome to join in and see the opportunities being cultivated in south Phoenix.

SPACES OF OPPORTUNITY is an initiative of Desert Botanical Garden. Any donations made to SPACES must be made through Desert Botanical Garden. You will now be taken to their website to complete this transaction. Thank you!