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Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship 2015 Students

Colbi Andry

Colbi Andry
Community Area: Pullman/Roseland

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
Agriculture has been a lifelong passion dating back to my childhood. I was raised on a 64-acre farm in rural Louisiana. I watch all my family members take pride in owning and operating their own sustainable farm, where they raise wild-caught fish and practice animal husbandry. I knew I needed to reconnect with my roots, so I applied and was happy to be accepted to the WCH Apprenticeship Program.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I want to launch an agribusiness that influences youth to consider agriculture a professional career.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am interning at the Chicago Botanic Garden with Windy City Harvest Youth Farm in the sales & distribution department, learning how to work with and influence youth as well as how to start and maintain revenue-generating activities through agricultural entrepreneurship.

Christopher Braun

Christopher Braun
Community Area: Albany Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
My interest in Windy City Harvest began with my participation in the Season Extension Class in the autumn of 2014. There's nothing better than brushing snow off a hoop house in January only to feel a blast of warmth on your face, seeing green underneath that plastic and taking in the smell of fresh compost.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I would like to help 'at risk youth' learn sustainable urban agricultural methods.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at the McCormick Place Rooftop Farm, growing for "SAVOR…Chicago," the award-winning and sustainable food and beverage service at McCormick Place. Rooftop gardening is one of the most promising ways to conserve water and reduce flooding by utilizing rainwater that first hits rooftops. Rooftop gardens slow and reduce runoff and produce healthy foods. This has been a primary gardening interest of mine for years, and I am excited to finally practice this innovative form of farming in the city!

Melanie Bromberek

Melanie Bromberek
Community Area: Logan Square

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
Because I enjoy growing food and believe in working toward a more sustainable agriculture system.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to have my own farm one day.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
Legends Farm, because I hope to learn more about production farming and the incubator program.

Kevin Campbell

Kevin Campbell
Community Area: Near Beverly

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I wanted to expand my knowledge about sustainability to assist my wife in creating a green branch for her nonprofit organization.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to someday own my own green consultancy firm and teach others a lot of the things that I have learned here.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am doing my internship at the Rodeo Farm and the Arturo Velasquez Institute, where Windy City Harvest's production headquarters are. It is in this position that I feel I get the best of both worlds. First, I get to maximize my internship at Rodeo Farm to learn more about the composting, beekeeping, and large production/ harvesting. And, second, at the Institute, I get to see things go from the beginning to the end. Starting from seed and ending with packing and processing—nothing like a full-circle internship!

Pamela Clemons

Pamela Clemons
Community Area: Bronzeville

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I had interest in Windy City Harvest because I was seeking a career change that would allow me to work in the green industry because I feel that when you have a full understanding of the nutritive value of produce, how it grows, and what it can heal, you can empower yourself and others with that knowledge.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I would like to educate others about all that I'm learning, especially underserved communities, with knowledge of how to sustain themselves through growing their own food, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and doing the work we must all do to build strong powerful communities with direction.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I have two internship sites in which to train: The Legends and McCormick place rooftop placements will provide an avenue for me to solidify skills in high farm production, while using my artistic and creative skills with floral & edible landscaping and social engagement skills with residents who seek to grow in their allotment garden.

Michael Dunbar

Michael Dunbar
Community Area: Beverly neighborhood

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
Windy City Harvest really piqued my interest because I know that using sustainable methods to grow organic food is the key to establishing a healthier population and planet. For some reason, not everyone is on board with that so I knew I had to take measures into my own hands and get my hands dirty, literally. I've always enjoyed growing plants for food and medicine but Windy City Harvest makes it so I can take it to another level and feel confident that I'm doing it the right way.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
The knowledge and experience I'm getting at Windy City Harvest will prepare me for a career in urban agriculture and give me peace of mind that I can feed my family healthy food and do it in a way that supports natural systems with a little human intervention where it counts. I'm still figuring out which direction would be best for me to go specifically, but I feel I have options and that feels pretty good. Even some of the smaller roles feel more rewarding than some larger roles in other fields. It's important to me that, at the end of the day, my contributions have not left negative impacts on anyone or any place.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I'm excited to be farming at Legends South for my summer internship. I want to work there because it is a production based site where the skills I wish to refine can be best fulfilled. I also want to take advantage of being close to the WINDY CITY HARVEST incubator plots and get a feel for that business model. I'm sure I will get a taste for what it takes to succeed as a beginner and the trials and tribulations of getting a new business off the ground by growing something in the ground.

Jacob Hostetter

Jacob Hostetter
Community Area: Rogers Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I love being outside, working with my hands, and engaging my community in fun and healthy ways. This program is a great fit. I don't regret it at all.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
Through developing horticulture and food handling skills, I hope to provide more thorough experiential educational programming for community centers in my city.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will spend my summer internship working at the PCC Wellness Community Farm and the Kenneth Street Farm. This experience will not only help me develop my urban agriculture skills, but will also expose me to different ways of engaging communities in local, organic food production.

Eric Hussey

Eric Hussey
Community Area: North Lawndale

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I live in a neighborhood that is considered a "food desert" and wanted to learn how to grow healthy organic vegetables.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I'm interested in growing healthful foods not just for myself, but would like to bring these skills and what I learn back to my community and work particularly with the elderly and children on the west side of Chicago. My focus will be on educating at health clinics, schools, and daycare centers. Additionally I would like to grow for restaurants and various food pantries in low income neighborhoods.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I'm currently working at the McCormick Place rooftop garden in order to learn urban farming under challenging conditions and in unique spaces.

Chester Jankowski Jr.

Chester Jankowski Jr.
Community Area: Western suburbs

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I was interested in Windy City Harvest because I was looking for a horticulture class to expand my knowledge of growing. I had little to no knowledge of growing food at all, and liked the sustainability Windy City Harvest teaches.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to find a full-time job at a public institution so I can educate the people about horticulture.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be working at the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I will be an assistant grower, helping with everything from compost to farmers' markets all summer long.

Lucía León

Lucía León
Community Area: North Lawndale

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I was interested in Windy City Harvest because I see food access and autonomy as justice work, and I wanted to learn the skills to be able to contribute that to my community. My mother also graduated from Windy City Harvest in 2013 so she was a big inspiration for my getting into urban agriculture.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
It's constantly changing as I learn more, but in the near future, I hope to expand my knowledge to farming in tropical climates through work trade.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I'm excited to be interning at the Arturo Velasquez Institute, where I will gain more exposure to all the different growing spaces (greenhouse, hoop house, raised beds, and aquaponics). I'm looking forward to participating in markets and generally doing work that helps to sustain a food hub!

Anginette Lopez

Anginette Lopez
Community Area: Brighton Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I found Windy City Harvest accidentally—I was at the Arturo Velasquez Institute for a completely different reason, and the hoop house caught my eye from the car. I thought, "How cool is that!" I came in and asked some questions about the greenhouse and aquaponics, and that was it!

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I have a lot of different ideas for starting my own operation someday, but in the meantime, I plan to find a job in the field to continue to build my skills and knowledge while I solidify my plans.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at the Arturo Velasquez Institute farm because I was interested in a multifaceted experience. The Institute offers a full crash course in all sides of urban agriculture, from greenhouse management to outdoor production to market management and wholesale aggregation.

Ron Lotesto

Ron Lotesto
Community Area: Garfield Ridge

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I wanted to expand my knowledge of growing a variety crops and learn more about sustainability.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to one day open my own production farm to supply local, organically grown produce.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am doing my internship at Rodeo Farm because it is the largest site at Windy City Harvest and will prepare me to run my own urban farm.

Megan Lozano

Megan Lozano
Community Area: Albany Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I have always had a passion for cooking and feeding people. It was a natural progression from kitchen to garden for me. I think it makes the most sense to grow the food where the people are, and Windy City Harvest provides the education and tools you need to help bring the food to the people.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to teach people how to grow their own food and what to do with all the lovely produce they harvest. I want to try to narrow the gap between production and utilization of vegetables and fruit.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at the Christy Webber Garden Center for my internship. I think this internship will provide me with a better understanding of what many different urban farms look like, their production, and their potential. I also hope to expand my knowledge of the plants and products available at the Garden Center.

Micheàl Newman-Brooks

Micheàl Newman-Brooks
Community Area: Englewood, Chicago

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
Many communities in Chicago lack the ability and resources to educate their residences about sustainability. I wanted to be part of a hands-on training/education program that will give me the tools to pass on to my family and fellow community members!

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I want to continue my education by completing a master's and doctoral program.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I'm working at chef Rick Bayless's garden with Bill Shores. His ability to grow rare varieties using various techniques really feeds into my quest for knowledge.

Cecilia Nieves

Cecilia Nieves
Community Area: Little Village

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I decided I did not want a normal office or indoor job. After speaking with family and friends I discovered the Windy City Harvest, where I was able to train in farming and gardening, get a certificate, and afterward get a job doing exactly what I love!

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to lead volunteer groups in farming for underprivileged areas where we can grow food for the community and educate people on where food really comes from and how easy it is to grow for your family in small spaces.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at the North Lawndale Youth Farm, where we teach our participants the wonders of gardening and giving back to the community they live in.

Andy Novak

Andy Novak
Community Area: Rogers Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I came to Windy City Harvest because there was really nothing else like this program out there. I had a passion for urban farming but was having a hard time breaking in. After two different people working in the field recommended Windy City Harvest to me, I knew I had to check it out. What I liked most was how enveloping the program seemed with classwork, hands-on field training, and networking, and that has proven to be true throughout the program.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to use my Windy City Harvest education to help empower people and communities. The power and independence I have felt through learning to grow my own food has been incredible, and I feel that independence gained through urban agriculture can be a strong tool for social change.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
For my internship, I will be working for both Chicago FarmWorks and Big Delicious Planet catering company. I am excited for these opportunities because at Big Delicious Planet, I will learn the restaurant production side of urban farming and learn how to collaborate with chefs on harvest day. At Chicago FarmWorks, I will be able to put my passion for social justice to use by working with their transitional jobs program and harvesting for the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Rolando Perez

Rolando Perez
Community Area: Archer Heights

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I am interested in learning how to grow and harvest my own food so I can have sustainable organic urban farm.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to educate my community and develop workshops on urban agriculture for the production of healthy organic food.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
For my internship, I will be learning and working with Windy City Harvest Youth Farm at Washington Park. I want to learn how to work with youth and develop workshops that engage them in urban agriculture and to assist them in their own personal development.

Jeanine Toombs
Community Area: South Shore

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
Their focus is on organic food production.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to take what I have learned and teach others to empower through food sovereignty.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
Washington Park Youth Farm

Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco

Nadia Sol Ireri Unzueta Carrasco
Community Area: Little Village

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I became interested in the Windy City Harvest program because I work with youth in a school garden, and I found myself looking for a space to develop skills in the field of urban agriculture to be able to pass those on to my students. The program offered a combination of skills, knowledge, and practice that I wanted to have and share in order to participate in developing local food systems based in spaces of community building and learning around biodiversity, ecology, and our role as humans sharing this world with other living beings.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
This program taught me some practical skills that I use in my job and has shown me so many different and creative ways that urban agriculture is developing in Chicago and in different part of the world. I am very exited to be a part of these generations who are learning, growing, and aiming for a more sustainable way of life within our societies.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be working at Rodeo Farm this summer to develop my skills in production-based urban agriculture, an aspect of this field I did not think I would go into but that I am considering more as I see other people who are doing it and making a living off it. Working in the program has given me so many different perspectives, leads, resources, and opportunities, and has brought me into networks of amazing people whom I hope to continue sharing work and knowledge with for many decades to come.