Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship 2014 Students

Marquell

Marquell Boyd
Community Area: Oak Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I was interested in the program for two different reasons. First, I was in the Cook County Green Corps in 2010 and did not complete the program due to my incarceration, so that made me want to finish. Also, I love vegetables and love helping people learn more about them.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to find a job with a great organization and help people learn about organic gardening.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
McCormick Place rooftop. I’ve worked at a majority of the sites at Windy City Harvest; I am excited about the different scenery.

Mecca

Mecca Brooks
Community Area: Bronzeville

As an arts practitioner, Mecca works in urban agriculture at the intersections of social impact, sustainability, and community with an emphasis on public space, emerging artists, urban gardens, and youth development. The core of her practice is centered in collaboration, social navigation, and awakened doing. A certification in sustainable urban agriculture will increase the level of engagement she is able to extend towards this ever-evolving landscape.

Mecca currently resides in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. She plans to use her WCH education to not only continue working in her community but also to incorporate vertical and edible landscapes into her arts practice. She will be interning with Bronzeville Community Garden, Sacred Keeper’s Lab, and Legends Incubator Farm. As an advocate for a local economy and decreasing carbon footprints, these internships are in her neighborhood. She also has strong relationships within each of these sites and is excited about bringing her expanded knowledge base to local community gardens. She welcomes the opportunity to learn more about growing from a production aspect.

Cynthia Busby
Community Area: Auburn Gresham

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I am interested in learning how to grow food in an urban setting.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to share the knowledge with my community.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
Windy City Harvest Youth Farm at Washington Park. I want to learn how to work with youth and engage them in this industry and to assist them in their own personal development.

Justin

Justin Farr
Community Area: Bucktown

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I have always been interested in the potential of urban agriculture and in growing healthy food within the city. I was looking for a program that would prepare me to start an urban farm in Chicago.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I plan on starting a for-profit urban farm in Chicago. I believe strongly in the urban agricultural movement and its potential. I plan on using my WCH education to dive right in and create a financially sustainable organic urban farm.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be working at City Farm this summer. I’m excited to be interning at City Farm for a few reasons: (1) Their farm is financially sustainable, and their business model seems to be working in the city; (2) City Farm is a part of a larger organization, The Resource Center, which supports recycling and reusing resources in the city; and (3) I will be able to get some great experience in production farming!

Lesley Grill
Community Area: Edgewater

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I found my way to Windy City Harvest through a winding path of city garden plots, farm work/share programs and a desire to grow delicious food in a sustainable way. WCH seemed like a terrific opportunity to learn to grow in an approachable classroom setting while getting hands-on experience in urban agriculture.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
There seem to be so many possibilities regarding the future of agriculture in Chicago and how I see myself getting involved. Every growing experience, farmer, and educator we’ve met along this path has inspired new ideas. Entrepreneurship is calling my name…I just need to bring my vision into focus and create something dynamic and true.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
My summer will be spent in the brambles, with the bees, trimming the espalier apple trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Fruit & Vegetable Garden. I intend to learn as much as I can from all those gardeners and horticulturists who will be my guides. I’m looking forward to digging in and getting my hands dirty!

Yvonney

Yvonney Hernandez
Community Area: Back of the Yards

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I am interested in learning how to grow and harvest my own produce to help my small business grow by providing fresh local vegetables for the vegan and vegetarian tamales we offer as part of Yvolina's Tamales since it has become such a popular demand from our customers. As a student of Windy City Harvest, I knew I would learn and gain all the experience necessary and the proper skills needed to grow.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
My goal is to find an opportunity for employment in sustainable agriculture and use the practices that I have studied in Windy City Harvest. I also want to be able to start my own urban farm and keep providing locally grown produce to Yvolina's Tamales in the future.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
Windy City Harvest at Arturo Velasquez Institute, in production. I am looking forward to start working in the hoophouse, greenhouse, and on the raised beds. I love that I will be able to keep learning from my instructors and having the resources available nearby to get a better understanding of production by putting my education into practice. 

Victoria

Victoria James
Community Area: Woodlawn

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I am interested in WCH because of the resurgence for a more sustainable environment and I wanted to learn about organic growing practices in an urban setting. This will give me the opportunity to obtain comprehensive knowledge in farming and healthy produce production.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
Personally, I see endless opportunities in Urban Agriculture! In my future, I envision being involved in managing and/or designing gardens for individuals and rooftop owners. Additionally, I would like to continue to empower others by promoting healthy eating practices.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
For my internship, I will be working at WCH Arturo Velasquez Institute (AVI) as an assistant market coordinator. Through this experience, I will be exposed not only to produce marketing practices, but to a full array of organic sustainable vegetable growing practices. I will gain working knowledge of greenhouse/hoophouse production, hydroponics/aquaponics growing systems, and the ability to work with very knowledgeable and passionate individuals.

Stacey

Stacey Kimmons
Community Area: Auburn Gresham

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I was interested in Windy City Harvest because of the positivity that came from eating and growing organic produce.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
In the future, I’m really hoping to have my own incubator and grow produce and sell it within the community. I want to use my WCH education to show communities that there is a better way to eat healthy and live healthy.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I’m working at McCormick Place for my internship, and I like it here because I enjoy rooftop gardening. It’s my first time ever doing rooftop gardening and I’ve grown to learn and know very much about it.

Carolina

Carolina Macias
Community Area: La Villita

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I needed to expand my knowledge of growing food, so I decided to apply to Windy City Harvest. I’m so glad I did because the program has given me so many tools and techniques to practice in the field.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to interweave the skills and concepts learned into the public health and urban planning field.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I’m working at North Lawndale Youth Farm and I’m super excited! I will be working with and learning from young people who have much more farming experience than I do. Intergenerational learning at its best!

Dana McMullin
Community Area: Jefferson Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I became interested in the Windy City Harvest program for many reasons. I am concerned with food culture in America. I am passionate about local, organic food production. I felt that WCH was an excellent program to develop the knowledge and skill set needed to enable urban agriculture to have a viable future. I also love having my hands in the dirt, the happy satisfaction in growing vegetables, early mornings, and all other aspects of urban agriculture.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to apply my WCH education to enable Chicago residents to access local, organic food. I would like to focus this goal in areas known as “food deserts” and those areas prone to economic blight. I hope to accomplish this goal through an incubator farm.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at Legends for my internship. I am excited to be spending my time there because it is in its pilot year. I chose Legends because my long-term goal is to have my own incubator site. I know I will gain hands-on experience and on-site knowledge to apply toward this goal.

Deny Reynolds
Community Area: Lincoln Square

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
After a bout with cancer several years ago, I found working with plants very healing. My background is in ornamental plants, so I was interested in the Windy City Harvest program to learn the fundamentals of urban agriculture for the production of healthy food. Producing food locally provides an alternative to the “Monsanto-ization” of our food supply.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
After a bout with cancer several years ago, I found working with plants very healing. My background is in ornamental plants, so I was interested in the Windy City Harvest program to learn the fundamentals of urban agriculture for the production of healthy food. Producing food locally provides an alternative to the “Monsanto-ization” of our food supply.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am working at AVI. This is a terrific opportunity for me to work with great teachers and learn the nuts and bolts of food production, including planting and harvesting, integrated pest management, aquaponics, and preparing produce for market. I like to work hard and I’m looking forward to learning a great deal.

Rachel

Rachel Schipull
Community Area: Edgewater

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
After working in higher education for a few years, I was ready for something about which I was more passionate. I've always had an interest in plants and food, so urban agriculture was particularly appealing. I wanted to find a program that would give me the skills and experience to be able to find work immediately without bogging me down financially or causing me to take too much time out of my life. Windy City Harvest has been the perfect fit!

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
This is constantly evolving, but my goal at the moment is to use my new-found knowledge to help people grow more of the food they eat in their own backyards (or deck spaces or community gardens, etc.). This could look like a partnership with existing organizations or my own business where I do edible landscaping consultations and give growing advice. I think for the short term, I am looking forward to building my growing portfolio and really getting some solid growing experience in at farms in the city.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I am thrilled to be working at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Fruit & Vegetable Garden for my internship this summer. The Fruit & Vegetable Garden is the only garden there that grows organically and it showcases the vast variety of edible plants that can be grown in this region. I think this experience will not only enhance my skills as a farmer, as they work on a tight production schedule, but will expose me to many delicious plants my future clients may be interested in growing as well.

Deja

Deja Stout
Community Area: Ukrainian Village

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I wanted to learn as much as possible about urban farming. After doing research about what is available in the city, Windy City Harvest seemed like the most encompassing program for what I wanted to learn and my end goals.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
My goal is to transition into the urban agriculture field as a career, focusing on production for restaurants. Eventually, I hope to combine my degree in social work and urban farming to work in the Chicago school system to educate youth about sustainable agriculture in a city environment.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
My internship will be at the Bayless Garden and Big Delicious Planet. I feel this internship was the best fit and will prepare me for what Iʼd like to eventually accomplish. Because I will be working at three different sites, I will have an opportunity to learn as much as possible in diverse settings. In addition, there are bees and chickens at the Bayless garden that I am very excited to work with!

Sam

Sam Veraga
Community Area: Little Village/Pilsen

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I wanted to learn more about urban agriculture and how to start my own farm or create a community farm.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I hope to either start a business or start a famers' market in Little Village, and to start growing my own produce to be self-sustaining.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be working at the Rodeo Farm. It’s the largest farm in the neighborhood and it will allow me to engage neighborhood youth and make them aware of urban agriculture and opportunities in urban agriculture.

Jessica

Jessica Zaniolo
Community Area: Hazel Crest

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I was brought up in a household where it was important to know where our food came from and what methods were used to produce it. It didn't occur to me to get involved beyond using my buying power as a consumer until I was about to finish my associate's degree in English. I was already becoming disenchanted with my plans to pursue a career in copyediting and, in my last semester, I took an environmental science class. I learned about rooftop farms which, naturally, led to further knowledge of urban agriculture and planted the seed in my mind that I may have the option to get involved in something bigger than myself that I care about and enjoy, AND making a career out of it. After a halfhearted attempt at finding work/internships in my field, I did some research and stumbled upon WCH, which I jumped on immediately.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
I think it's really important to cut out the middlemen and bring agriculture back to where the consumers and small businesses are—in other words, the city. I'd like to be involved with something along the lines of a farm-to-table restaurant where there is a direct line from the harvest to the business using it.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be interning at Legends Farm where I'll be learning valuable skills for starting a new site. I look forward to finishing the hoophouse and getting the place going.

Jessica

Jessica Zeiger
Community Area: East Garfield Park

Why were you interested in Windy City Harvest?
I wanted to learn the best practices for growing food in the city and Windy City Harvest seemed like the best way to do that. Between the classroom learning, hands-on experience, internship, and exposure to the Chicago farming and gardening community, we are getting a well-rounded education and acquiring the necessary skills for employment.

What do you hope to do with your WCH education in the future?
My educational background ranges from public health and food security to permaculture, so I’d like to find a way to combine those interests with the production and design skills I’m learning with Windy City Harvest and my internship. My goal is to create productive, beautiful, and multi-functional urban gardens that best utilize space and materials.

Where are you working for your internship and why?
I will be interning at Christy Webber Landscapes and Farm and Garden center. I will be working with their newly launched edible landscaping division and helping to design and maintain their project at Millennium Park and Homestead Restaurant's rooftop garden. I also look forward to learning about the retail and educational side of the Farm and Garden center and working with all the amazing products and plants they carry. I am so excited to apply what I've learned from permaculture and Windy City Harvest to my internship and to learn as much as possible from this experience.